Poison Princess (The Arcana Chronicles #1) by Kresley Cole
Evangeline “Evie” Greene, 16, leads a charmed life until her horrifying hallucinations predict a disaster that decimates her Louisiana hometown. She joins classmate Jack – with his mile-long rap sheet, wicked grin, bad attitude – and 22 other teens, as an ancient prophesy re-enacts the ultimate battle between good and evil. But who is on which side?
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Not since Shatter Me by Tahereh Mafi have I had such a huge love-hate relationship with a book. I mean, seriously. At times I was steaming mad or annoyed, but I kept reading because OHMAHGOD SO GOOD. I swear this review sits at three stars just because that’s my middle of the road rating and I don’t know what else to do because I cannot tell if I love or hate this book. Let’s try to figure this out together, shall we?
The book did NOT start out on a good foot to begin with. It’s got this prologue narrated by someone who isn’t our main character, who is this psycopathic killer intent on chaining our real main character up in his basement. Later on, we’ll discover that his experiments have almost nothing to do with the actual story. He lures Evie into his house with the promise of food and drink–something extremely scarce since the Flash, a solar phenomenon that flash-evaporated all the water on Earth and killed most of the people–as long as she tells him her story of how she survived. So the entire book is really just Evie talking about what’s already happened until the end. I HATE that convention with a burning passion, because it makes me feel like obvious none of the story she’s about to tell is important except for setting the stage. Except that the ENTIRE book is her story, so she was basically just setting the scene for like 300 pages.
Evie as a main character actually isn’t so bad. Her flaws are annoying at times, but she does have flaws. No, I do not count the fact that she can control plants or see images of Tarot cards duking it out as flaws. She’s kinda whiny and has very few post-apocolypictally handy skills, but she’s also fierce and loyal and most of the time I felt bad for her. Until the end, and then I was like WHOA EVIE HELLO.
But let me back up. The book starts out before the Flash, when everything was as normal as a contemporary romance. Evie is a cheerleader at a preppy school, dating the quarterback. In comes Jackson, a Cajun hick from the wrong side of town, who makes her think naughty things. Jackson made me want to scream, and not just because he was a rude and bratty little dude. Now, I can’t say I’ve ever been to Louisiana, but the way his “Cajun” character was written made my stomach squirm. He spoke in a dialect, was so stereotypically “wrong side of the tracks,” and didn’t even know what texting was? Nonono. He redeemed himself as a character a little bit after the Flash, but he still kept acting like an a-hole a lot of the time, to the point where I really hoped Evie would ditch him. And the stereotyping just kept coming, and the fact that he was so much poorer than Evie kept coming up again and again.
But then you’ve got the setting. If more dystopian novels were like this, I’d be ALL OVER THEM. Can you imagine, living a normal life when suddenly something like the Flash happens? It’s crazy. That right there is a novel in itself, but Cole is like NO WAIT THERE’S MORE!
That MORE is the Tarot card angle, the reason Evie can control plants, among other things. The Flash was only the beginning, it seems, because now there are a bunch of kids running around as the embodiment of Tarot cards, fighting against Death–you know, the embodiment of the card. Evie is ridiculously in the dark for most of the book, which means that we are too, but the idea was so poignant that I kept reading because I’VE NEVER READ A THING LIKE IT. But then the book ends right when Evie finds out THE MOST IMPORTANT THING about what being a Tarot card embodiment means. So that.
So at the end of the day, I don’t know where I stand. I take huge issue with the fact that the entire book was basically a set up for the next one, a book where we will finally know what the heck is going on. I take huge issue with most of the characters. I am head over heels for the concept. I am head over heels for the setting. This book makes me feel like I’m being ripped in half by horses, one half being I LOVE IT and one half being I DON’T LIKE IT.
This was not a helpful review in the slightest. I apologize. Hopefully you’ve also had one of those books where your feels have been left in a puddle of goo on the floor.
5 thoughts on “Review: “Poison Princess” by Kresley Cole”
I’ve actually read part of this one too, but I really loved Jackson and Evie! The beginning was cool except for the weird flash stuff and her weird dreams. It made me feel uneasy. I dunno. I loved her deep dark secret and her attraction to Jackson. Once it got to the flash and Jackson showed up again, I stopped. I just wasn’t into it anymore at that point. I think I’m tired of Paranormal books.
I agree, the “paranormal” sector is totally saturated. But that actually made me love this book all the more, because this Major Arcana angle is so unique! It’s certainly not something I’ve ever come across before. I’ve got a major book crush on Jackson, though, so that helped to see me through to the end (: