Review: Poison by Bridget Zinn

Poison Poison
by Bridget Zinn

ISBN-13: 9-781423-139935
Publication: March 2013 from Disney Hyperion
Source: Kobo
Rating: 4.5 ♥ / 5 ♥ – I really liked it!
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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?

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Every now and again I get the craving for a fun adventure through a fantasy world and Poison by Bridget Zinn filled that craving very nicely. Running with Kyra as she evades capture for trying to kill the her best friend – and Princess – Ariana, had me entertained and intrigued throughout the entire course of the novel.

Despite not having the most elaborate world-building or rules to the potions and magic, Poison still manages to deliver a strong and engaging fantastical mystery with some side romance, great characters and the cutest pig (yes, pig) that I think has existed since Wilbur. The reader enters the story after Kyra’s attempt at assassination had already happened – we don’t know why, or even really who Kyra is except for a 16-year-old Potions Master. As the journey unfolds, so too does the back story. Each detail adds together to eventually tie up the story while setting the stage for the spot-on twists and reveals that appear. I was honestly surprised at some of the bigger plot reveals, and loved the ending. The romance was also slow and sweet, which I am a huge fan of.

I quite enjoyed the main characters of Kyra, Ariana and Fred – the traveler that Kyra comes across while on the run and can’t seem to shake. Kyra is extremely talented, capable, determined and strong, but also vulnerable and lonesome and a little bit worried, though she tries to hide it. I mean, who wouldn’t be nervous after attempting to kill their best friend and future ruler? Fred is just delightful. Funny, sweet, confident and full of surprises, while Ariana is boisterous, head-strong, kind and a little bit sneaky. The three of them play off each other very well and despite the seriousness of what Kyra has done, they find time to joke around and enjoy being in each others company. Even the secondary characters are fleshed out and memorable, creating a wonderful cast to populate Bridget Zinn’s debut fantasy novel.

4.5 heart

Poison by Bridget Zinn is one of those fantasy novels to pick up when you want something fun, twisty, magical and engrossing. I’d frequently lose track of time while reading, trying to solve the mystery of why the Princess is a danger to the kingdom, why Fred keeps showing up wherever Kyra is, how Kyra knows what she does and eventually trying to sort out who the main villain really is. It’s a perfect case of, “just one more chapter, I need to know what happens!” And I dare anyone who reads this book to not want more of Rosie the pig. A character in her own right, I never thought I’d think a fictional pig is adorable, but I do. Fantasy fans? Definitely pick this one up. It’s well worth the read!

Poison was provided to me (book of my choice) by Kobo, Inc.. Thank you!

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Hex Hall by Rachel Hawkins

Hex Hall
by Rachel Hawkins
ISBN-13: 9-781423-121305
Rating: 4.5 ♥ / 5 ♥

Three years ago, Sophie Mercer discovered that she was a witch. It’s gotten her into a few scrapes. Her non-gifted mother has been as supportive as possible, consulting Sophie’s estranged father – an elusive European warlock – only when necessary. But when Sophie attracts too much human attention for a prom-night spell gone horribly wrong, it’s her dad who decides her punishment: exile to Hex Hall, an isolated reform school for wayward Prodigium, a.k.a witches, faeries, and shapeshifters.

By the end of her first day among fellow freak-teens, Sophie has quite a scorecard: three powerful enemies who look like supermodels, a futile crush on a gorgeous warlock, a creepy tagalong ghost, and a new roommate who happens to be the mose hated person and only vampire on campus. Worse, Sophie soon learns that a mysterious predator has been attacking students, and her only friend is the number-one suspect.

As a series of blood-curdling mysteries starts to converge, Sophie prepares for the biggest threat of all: an ancient secret society determined to destroy all Prodigium, especially her.

 

I was so impressed with Hex Hall! It’s a funny, suspenseful, magic-filled story with great characters and world building.

Sophie has revealed her witchy powers to humans one too many times and is sent to Hex Hall as punishment – a reform school for Prodigium. While there, she discovers more about herself, and her family, than she ever knew before or could have guessed at, gets a crush on the hottest guy at school, makes some enemies, befriends the lone vampire student at the academy and stumbles across a mystery that involves blood, death and some wicked magic.

Sophie is such a realistic character. Her reactions to the situations she finds herself in are believable, and she has a wicked sense of sarcasm and humour. I really liked that I was able to connect with the secondary characters in the book, Jenna, Elodie and Archer. They were as developed as they could be with us only seeing them through Sophie’s eyes. I would have liked to see more Archer, but I have a feeling he’ll show up in the sequel(s).

I was impressed with Rachel Hawkins’ worldbuilding. She took well-known creatures/myths/etc. and made them her own. We get to learn a bit about the background of how the Prodigium came to be, and how they interact with society. We don’t get too much information about Sophie’s immediate family (read: absent father), but I loved the background information about her grandmother and great-grandmother and I really did not see the twist at the end coming. It came at me out of left field and it was awesome.

The major cliffhanger at the end left me crying for more, and there were a few scenes I would have liked to see elaborated or drawn out a bit more, but Hex Hall is a wonderful debut novel and definitely worth the read if you like magic and the supernatural. With a good mix of humour, action and romance it will definitely appeal to a wide audience of ages.

 

 

Hex Hall is part of the 2010 Debut Author Challenge