Title: Poison Princess (The Arcana Chronicles #1)
Author: Kresley Cole
Publisher: Simon & Schuster
Publication Date: October 2, 2012
Summary: 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.
I don’t know what I thought this book was about, I read the summary and heard lots about it from this girl on YouTube that I really like, but for some reason I was not expecting anything even close to what this book was. I mean, this book was weird and unpredictable in a really great sort of way.
The book starts off months A.F. which we find out means “After Flash” and this creepy guys is luring our protagonist into his house, drugging her, and having her tell him her story. Evie explains how she was sent to a mental institution because of her nightmares and crazy hallucinations about the end of the world, which ultimately happens. But Evie has strange powers that she doesn’t understand and she needs to find her grandmother who can help her. But that means traveling across the now barren country, littered with cannibals, Bagmen (like zombie vampires), slavers, rapists, and who knows what else. It also means trusting Jackson, a Cajun bad boy she knew before the Flash that she didn’t quite get along with.
I really didn’t expect a lot of things in this book. One of the major things was all of the Tarot card stuff. Evie is apparently The Empress and there are a whole bunch of other teenagers still alive that represent one of the major Tarot cards. And there is a huge battle to come between good and evil where supposedly only one will survive. I actually really liked the Tarot mythology mixed into this, it was super interesting and not something I’d ever really read about. I thought it was kind of a strange blend with the post-apocalyptic world, but it really kind of worked, much to my surprise. We do get to encounter a few of the other tarot kids in this book, and I really liked seeing how they represented their card, and one of the things I’m looking forward to most in the next book is seeing a lot more of that.
As for the post-apocalyptic world, that actually really worked for me too. Even as I’m thinking about this book, the mix of things was really strange but somehow the author made it work really well. I loved the darker tones the author brought out in this world, with all of the cannibals and slavers, and the army sweeping across the land, taking supplies and women. Seeing Evie and Jackson having to scavenge for food and gas, all while avoiding certain death around every corner, it was so intense and gritty. It really had this kill or be killed vibe to it and I loved it. That just might be my inner Walking Dead fan-girl taking over though.
As for Evie though, I really kind of had a problem. I absolutely hated her at the beginning. When we see her life before the Flash, she is popular and rich and shallow and kind of a bratty snob. Then the apocalypse happens and she is all soft and whiny and completely unreasonable all the time and just annoyed me so much. She relied on Jackson to do everything, whined and cried when he treated her like a baby (even though she was acting like one) and really couldn’t do anything. At one point, she is mad that Jackson leaves her behind to go steal some supplies and possibly end up fighting his way out, despite the fact that she can’t fight, would totally get in the way and probably just distract him the whole time. Yet earlier in the book, he tries to get her to shoot his crossbow and she straight up refuses. Gah, she drove me so crazy. I did like the changes she was going through by the end of the book though, I have really high hopes for her in the next one.
As far as Jackson goes, I also hated him at first. Damn, I really hated this boy. He was rough and rude and not in a sexy, bad boy sort of way. But by the end of the book, he was really starting to grow on me. He still got super mad about stuff and was a possessive jerk sometimes, but it almost made him more realistic to me because he wasn’t some pretty boy spouting romantic poetry and constantly sweeping Evie off of her feet. He got mad and emotional and was stupid and mean sometimes and deserved to get kicked a lot. But when you starting getting bits and pieces of his life before and how he had to live, I couldn’t help but soften a little. Here’s the problem though. His goddamn Cajun accent. Now the talking in French, that I could totally handle no problem. And I love listening to someone talk with a Cajun accent just as much as the next girl. But reading around that awful accent, trying to figure out what the hell he was trying to say, it became a new form of torture for me. And I don’t hear Cajun accents often so reading his sentences didn’t quite have any sort of flow, so half of the time, me trying to decipher what he was saying made him sound like an uneducated idiot, which was not attractive. Yes, I was getting used to it be the end of the book, and yes, I know it’s shallow of me, but I almost couldn’t stand it. Plus I hated every single time he referred to himself as “ole’ Jack”. I mean, come on.
The romance was okay. The main problem I had was that they were both absolutely idiotic and ridiculous about the whole situation and it ended up being pretty predictable and cliche. We have Evie whining over Jackson being mean to her all the time, getting mad every time something bad almost happens, then crying because he must hate her. But we all know he is like that because he likes her and wants to protect her. Then we have Jackson who thinks Evie would never like someone like him because he was poor before the Flash. But we all know she couldn’t care less because money doesn’t exactly matter in the apocalypse. Then they kiss and misunderstandings happen, fighting and crying, enter a new hot girl that’s all over Jackson, jealousy, blah, blah blah… We all know how that goes and we all know how it’s going to end.
All I can say is that this book completely surprised me, went off in a direction I wasn’t expecting, and I really loved that. The world was dark and gritty, and I loved the more mature things mixed into this book, like the unexpectedly violent and graphic parts, I was surprised by that but it really added to the whole vibe of this book. I found that even though this mix of Tarot mythology and post-apocalyptic was a weird mix at first, the author really made it work. Even though I had a few problems with the characters, I found them really growing on me by the end of the book. I can’t wait to learn more about the other kids and what their powers are and how the fit into the upcoming battle. Not to mention I already have a thing for Death. Oh yeah, I’m sensing that behind that dark armor there in a misunderstood bad ass just waiting for a girl to come along and sooth his tortured soul. If Death has a soul. I guess we will find out.