I have to admit, I didn’t read the first book, THE POISON DIAREIS, but now I have to. I need to see how Jessamine and Weed fell in love, and understand more of her relationship with her father. But, I do think you can dive into the second book without having read the first. It’s easy to see where the story started and get to know the characters. I can envision Jessamine being very timid and accommodating, maybe almost weak, in the first book. I’m glad she wasn’t like that in this one. She was dark and disturbed. She was taunted and pulled along by a dark force, Prince Oleander.
This is the kind of story that I get lost in. I loved the poetry of the writing, and the haunting feel, the wickedness and the history. Jessamine is in a very dark place, being seduced and lured in by Oleander, and she’s full of guilt. She chases the guilt away by deadening her senses and finding oblivion in Absinthe. And as the prince continues to feed her lies and mold her into an assassin, Weed searches for her. He’s not giving up on her. I would have liked them to find each other a little sooner in the book, but I loved how this story ended. **Spoiler* Except for Jessamine giving herself to the king. I know it was necessary, but I would have liked her to stay true to Weed. I’m a hopeless romantic.*
This story was imaginative and gripping and never let me go. It only makes me wonder what will happen next and how the author will conclude the series. I’m hoping for a resolution for Jessamine and Weed, a way for them to purge themselves of all the evil they’ve committed and find a way to be together . . . but, I also wouldn’t be disappointed with a darker twist ending. I just can’t wait to find out what happens next.
I can only say, if you’re looking for a story full of dark passion and lyrical writing, this is an amazing series. Recommended for older readers of YA: Sex, murder, and drug use.