Simon & Schuster / October 2, 2012 / $18.99 print, $9.99 digital
She could save the world—or destroy it.
Sixteen year old Evangeline “Evie” Greene leads a charmed life, until she begins experiencing horrifying hallucinations. When an apocalyptic event decimates her Louisiana hometown, Evie realizes her hallucinations were actually visions of the future—and they’re still happening. Fighting for her life and desperate for answers, she must turn to her wrong-side-of-the-bayou classmate: Jack Deveaux.
But she can’t do either alone.
With his mile-long rap sheet, wicked grin, and bad attitude, Jack is like no boy Evie has ever known. Even though he once scorned her and everything she represented, he agrees to protect Evie on her quest. She knows she can’t totally depend on Jack. If he ever cast that wicked grin her way, could she possibly resist him?
Who can Evie trust?
As Jack and Evie race to find the source of her visions, they meet others who have gotten the same call. An ancient prophesy is being played out, and Evie is not the only one with special powers. A group of twenty-two teens has been chosen to reenact the ultimate battle between good and evil. But it’s not always clear who is on which side….
In a Kresley Cole post I wrote earlier for H&H, I said that while I was not a YA reader, I would still follow Cole wherever she led—including reading the YA adventures of her IAD world. The first of those adventures, Poison Princess, lives up to my expectations.
Kresley Cole’s strengths are displayed very well here, albeit differently from the adult romances she usually writes—her ear for dialogue and using just enough dialect to add flavor to the book without crossing the annoying line are just two examples. In this book, perhaps even more than in her adult fiction, her world-building skills are shown to their full advantage.
After several books in the Immortals After Dark series, it's easy to forget how huge and complex the world she's created really is.
Poison Princess brings back in sharp, bold strokes how much imagination and sheer guts KC has in that area. She takes what is becoming commonplace and puts a big twist on it.
Poison Princess is set in a by-now-standard post-apocalyptic scenario, but within that she’s created some very interesting new takes on the world, including turning the vampire on its head and giving us the most “normal” reason for their existence.
On top of this she layers one of the most fascinating concepts I’ve come across in awhile. Poison Princess's the main character Evie is the living, breathing embodiment of the Empress card in the Tarot deck. In her journey, she comes across others—the Fool, the Magician, even Death himself—and she must alternately ally and battle these fellow living Arcana (with some rather nifty supernatural powers). For what ultimate purpose? Now that’s the question.
While not yet ubiquitous, this is not the first time the tarot have been used in a series (Alayna Williams's Delphic Oracle series springs quickly to mind) But this concept, with people embodying the cards and their meanings, is a fresh one. Add that to a future wasteland and a survival of the fittest test, while tossing in your YA romance angst? Wow.
Oh, and Jackson’s Cajun accent? I understand why Evie is getting all hot and bothered over the boy she knows she really shouldn’t like.
While I’m still not sure if I will yet turn into a YA reader in general, Kresley Cole has once again proven that where she leads, I will follow.
Danielle Monsch is a Romantic Geek Girl Writing in a Fantasy World. Besides torturing her poor, poor editor about her latest story, Dani likes to read manga and watch anime, debate the merits of DC vs. Marvel, and geek out over the latest and greatest romance novel offerings. Catch up with Danielle at @Danielle_Monsch on Twitter