Thesis Thursdays is a weekly(ish) feature where I rant, love and talk about young adult books I’m reading because I’m conning my college into thinking this is all for academia! Find out more here!
Published March 12, 2013, by Disney-Hyperion
Sixteen-year-old Kyra, a highly-skilled potions master, is the only one who knows her kingdom is on the verge of destruction—which means she’s the only one who can save it. Faced with no other choice, Kyra decides to do what she does best: poison the kingdom’s future ruler, who also happens to be her former best friend.
But, for the first time ever, her poisoned dart . . . misses.
Now a fugitive instead of a hero, Kyra is caught in a game of hide-and-seek with the king’s army and her potioner ex-boyfriend, Hal. At least she’s not alone. She’s armed with her vital potions, a too-cute pig, and Fred, the charming adventurer she can’t stop thinking about. Kyra is determined to get herself a second chance (at murder), but will she be able to find and defeat the princess before Hal and the army find her?
Kyra is not your typical murderer, and she’s certainly no damsel-in-distress—she’s the lovable and quick-witted hero of this romantic novel that has all the right ingredients to make teen girls swoon.
When I realized that I was doing female assassins for my thesis, I bought this one basically without thinking about it. I’d wanted it for a while, and it seemed PERFECT. This synopsis looked A+ on par, everything I wanted, going to be the best thing ever. While I don’t regret buying the paperback … I was wrong.
In concept, this book was everything I could have wanted. There was an engaging plot line, strong female friendships, hilarious anti-trope situations and action. It had all the right parts, and Zinn’s storytelling ability is the most hilarious fun I’ve had in a while. The sass is beautiful and I was honestly laughing out loud as the book progressed. When the book started out, I never expected in a million years to have a final rating of two stars.
But then the romance happens and the book forgets that it has any of those other parts that made it so amazing.
Kyra is a really amazing character. Let me make that clear. She knows what she wants, is passionate and good at her job, but also isn’t afraid to make the hard choices for what she thinks is the greater good. This girl tries to kill her best friend. KILL HER. She’s fearless to the point of pigheadedness (pun intended) and determined to save the day at whatever cost.
So why is so much of this book lost to romance?
It’s not even really good romance, I’m going to be honest. It’s one of those cliche, “guy shows up and he’s kind of funny and she likes him but she tries to get rid of him but he keeps showing back up” and yadda yadda yadda. From there the cliches–which it seemed at first this book was actively fighting against–just kept piling up. I don’t want to spoil anything, but let me tell you … by the time the ending rolled around, I wanted to hit myself in the head with the book over and over.
I still can’t even comprehend how such a short book technically had all the components it promised and still had this much romance. It boggles my mind. The story line about her ex-boyfriend? Priceless. Her strong friendship with her best friend who she’s trying to kill? Amazing. The inner turmoil you find that she’s facing? Well done. But, because of the romance, these plot points got shrunk so much that it feels as though they’re barely there.
I wanted to like this book, I really did. In terms of my thesis, this book will actually work out really well for me but as a reader … I am sad. It was a amusing ride and a well written one, but all the promise that it showed stalled and floundered. Hence, two stars.