Monday, 26 November 2012

Review: Poison Princess (The Arcana Chronicles, #1) by Kresley Cole

Poison Princess (The Arcana Chronicles, #1) by Kresley Cole

Author: Kresley Cole
Publication Date: October 2, 2012
Publisher: Simon and Schuster Books for Young Readers
Pages: 369
Genre: YA, Post-Apocalypse, Romance, Fantasy
Source: Bought it

Summary from Goodreads: 
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….


     I've never read a book by Cole before and after reading her first foray into the YA realm, I'm going to have to go back for all those awesome adult sexy times in her Immortals After Dark series. 
     Cole capture's the reader's attention the first few pages in when we're introduced to the very shady character of Arthur as we read from his perspective on ensnaring the innocent and trusting Evie into his sadistic nest. I was genuinely afraid for Evie, but then it turns out Arthur likes a good story and so Evie takes us back to the beginning...

    Poison Princess is very much a compare and contrast book. Cole really uses this to drive home the point that Evie is completely out of her element. There was Evie's rich, comfortable life before "The Flash" that killed everything, and there was the desperate starving life after. The safe boring relationship she had before, and the all consuming hot blooded male that is Jack after. I loved these important milestones that Cole sets, they leave a scorching impression in your mind as you read and it gives a well rounded out perspective of each character. 

    Evie Greene is the apple of her successful mother's eye, and her life is going splendidly as the most popular girl at school with the rich hot boyfriend and devoted best friend. But then the visions started - horrifying depictions of burning, death and creatures that couldn't possibly be real - until her visions come true. When I first met Evie in the first few pages, I had pegged her as naive and darn near useless. This was pretty much confirmed by the time I got into the thick of it, so don't go in expecting a super strong kick-ass heroine. 
But surprisingly I didn't find her annoying. She acknowledges her weaknesses, and I have to give her credit for determination and always trying to do the right thing. She's always on this verge of becoming someone new, while fighting her old self. She hasn't quite grasped that it's a changed world, but she's learning and I loved watching how each trial leaves a mark on Evie's unblemished skin. 

     Jack Deveaux, the tough Cajun from the wrong side of the bayou is your classic bad boy that you love, hate and just want to see naked already. A lot of authors use accents in creating a character, usually just by stating it and using some phonetic words to get that accent going in your head. Cole takes it one step further and fully immerses the reader in Cajun French that just oozes old world charm and had me fanning myself every time Jack opened his mouth. Jack is constantly conflicted, which makes him hot and cold towards Evie depending on the situation. It's what drives the bad boy mentality in books, there's moments where I was cheering him on and he's logical, and then moments where he pulls some attitude out of left field and you just want to smack him. But you can always count on 'ole Jack. 

     Cole perfectly balances steamy romance, snippets of humour and visceral action with a unique lore revolving around Tarot cards. Admittedly, I didn't know much about Tarot cards or the symbolism of each card but by the end of this book I really wanted to learn more. Cole also paints a dismal wasteland world full of pillaging militia, hungry cannibals and a unique twist to zombies as Evie and Cole try to make their way to Evie's grandmother to figure out what's going on. Guided by visions and voices, Evie and Jack soon start accruing a little band of misfits. But it's not as simple as that when the pieces start clicking into place and the horrifying truth is revealed that this has all happened's all happening again...and it's going to be down to the last one standing...

Overall: 4/5 Hot Cups of Tea!
I thoroughly enjoyed the Tarot card lore, the hot bad boy Jack and the magical elements that Cole manages to weave in. Cole does an excellent job with the tension building in the romance between Jack and Evie - but it got a little bit irksome when the same preconceptions kept driving a wedge between them. When we come full circle at the end, and I look at the beginning I have to do a slow clap here for Cole. It was an incredible ending that left me clamoring for the next installment! This book is like post apocalypse Survivor, X-Men style with a bit of The Hunger Games thrown in.

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