Poison by Bridget Zinn is a charming, witty adventure that draws on all the best of fairy tales, in a sweet and engaging debut novel that would fit in right alongside classics like William Goldman’s The Princess Bride and Neil Gaiman’s Stardust.
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.
I often have a hard time reading high fantasy because the books become over-burdened with world building and detailed minutiae. But that’s simply not the case here. Zinn has crafted a fantasy world that is unique, but easy to slip into. She draws on all the very best elements of your favorite fairy tales, yet has written a story that’s unique and refreshing.
Kyra is a charming heroine — extraordinarily talented, but the type of talent that is part innate talent and part hard work and practice. And for all her strengths, Kyra is realistically flawed, making her the type of character readers like and root for, while being believable and relate-able. Her fiery attitude is balanced nicely with the charm and easy-going appeal of Fred — who will easily enchant readers just as much as he does Kyra.
Perhaps the only real disappointment with Poison is that it has to end, and that Zinn is no longer around to craft further adventures for us to read. But that’s no reason to stay away.
Poison is a delight to read; an enchanting treat from start to finish. It is in stores tomorrow.