By Kresley Cole
Poison Princess is the first novel in the Aracana Chronicles, a young adult dystopia fiction by the author of the Immortals After Dark series. The book is dark, violent and sometimes horrific yet the characters of Evie Greene and Jack Deveaux and their relationship really draws the reader into the story. Although seeming to appeal to younger readers, the subject matter seems a bit mature unless for much older teens. This may not be the book for you if bad language, gory descriptions and the use of tarot cards turn you off.
Evie is a popular cheerleader from Louisiana with a secret: she has been hospitalized over the summer and is now under medication for hearing voices and having visions. She tries to get back into the social scene, flirting with her boyfriend and gossiping with her best friend, but those voices and visions keep coming back. In addition, the school now has five Cajuns enrolled this year including one whose attentions to Evie are not outwardly welcomed yet she finds herself attracted to him. Not only that, Evie can speak fluent Cajun French and understands the insults and opinions of these new students.
Drama happens as only high schoolers can have. The visions and voices increase. Then, the world completely changes with The Flash. Now, Evie is forced to rely on Jack, to really listen to the voices in her head and to accept that she is something different. As they travel across the south, their relationship intensifies even while Evie begins to really use her powers. Will Jack still be interested after Evie fully blooms into the Poison Princess?
I loved the build up of the relationship between Evie and Jack. Cole creates sparks between them whether in the high school cafeteria or running from the post-apocalypse militia. I really enjoy a romance that increases in realistic increments from Jack beginning to not just look out for Evie but carrying her backpack for her to that ride on a found motorcycle (that scene will get anyone’s engines running yet isn’t spicy).
What did this book have to do with my faith? How would most Christians act if something like the Flash — which killed millions almost immediately then left the land destitute — happened? Would it be everyone for themselves? Would Christians hole up, expecting Christ any moment? Or would they do their best to create community, reaching out to help others even with the danger of being killed in the name of Jesus? Evie is always trying to make contact with others yet Jack, who seems to be more connected to his own faith, tells her to stop being so naive while propelling her faster through the dregs of civilization. Would most Christians be an Evie or a Jack? What do you think you would do in a similar situation?
I recommend Poison Princess.