Jessie Marie's Reviews > Nightshade

Nightshade by Maryrose Wood
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's review
Nov 30, 2011

it was amazing
bookshelves: n-books
Read from January 10 to 21, 2012

***WARNING: THE POISON DIARIES (BOOK 1) SPOILERS MAY BE PRESENT IN THIS REVIEW*** My apologies but it's somewhat unavoidable if one wants to understand the context of this sequel.

Beyond a week after finishing this one and I still think about it often. It was so poignant, dark and lovely that I keep mulling it over in my mind, savoring the flavor, like a good red wine vintage. It was shocking and bewitching and just utterly amazing.

Jana over at That Artsy Reader Girl had it right; this is a wonderful book underneath a not so wonderful cover. It's true, I'm not impressed with the cover. If I hadn't read the first (though I read the first because I won the second... weird psychology), I don't think I would have picked this up because the cover is so very confusing. In fact, I took off the dust jacket and the hardback itself is very pretty. Dark heather grey with pink writing and the classic Poison Diaries insignia. But my criticism stops there.

Plotline / Story
The book focuses around Jessamine, a troubled girl who wakes from a poison-induced illness to find her beloved is gone. She discovers the truth of her illness, her past and the reason Weed is gone and plots to kill her father for his crimes. Enter our creepy villain, Oleander, Prince of Poisons. Oleander takes hold of Jessamine's mind and convinces her that if they are to work together, Oleander will reunite her with Weed. Over the course of the book, Jessamine changes into something unrecognizable. She becomes an assassin for hire and loses all of her innocence. Even her mindset darkens.

In the meantime, Weed is also searching for Jessamine. He ends up in Italy at the very garden Thomas Luxton wished to attend, learning more about the plants from the ever knowledgeable Signora Baglioni. He realizes that Jessamine is captive to Oleander and plans to kill him, in whatever fashion he might manage.

Without delving much further in the final details, the end of this book is truly shocking. Leaving one clutching at their heart and closing their open-hanging jaw. I have a love-hate relationship with the ending because I need resolution but that is still to be found in the future.

Unbelievably well developed. Sequels have a battle with further developing characters because the first sets the stage. How much further can you take these characters? What more do we need to learn? Maryrose Wood answered that with the amazing people she's created.

Apparently I was in too light of a mood when I reviewed The Poison Diaries because I did not do the evil that is Thomas Luxton justice. I compared him to a tough-loving military father. Nope. Not the case. Either I was too blind to see him for what he was in the first, or Nightshade unleashed him. Either way, this guy is twisted. I'd say that I get the Dr. Jekyll/Mr. Hyde sense from him, but with a strong lean toward Hyde. Truly terrifying.

Jessamine was perfect. Her change from innocent Jessamine to dark Belladona was intriguing and gradual enough that you could believe it. A person doesn't go from happy, sweet and naive to vicious murderer with an axe to grind and a drug addiction overnight. I liked her physical transformation as well. To me, she was homely and unimpressive, not worth remembering and a face in the crowd. All of the sudden, she was fierce, a force to be reckoned with and gorgeous. And her thought process transformation was most gratifying. The fact that Oleander and the laudanum transformed her mind wholly and completely was amazing to see.

For me, Weed was less impressive. His actions were rather predictable and the purpose behind them was understandable but not very dynamic. I was also less excited about the fact that he needed Signora Baglioni's help to work with plants, despite his ability to communicate with them. How is it that he might not know something when he can talk to them? I do, however, appreciate his unwavering love for Jessamine. No matter what, he loved her hard and fierce and was unequivocally going to fight for her.

Oleander. There is not much more that I can say about him that I haven't already in my review for the Poison Diaries. He's super dark, super twisted. I don't know what he is, whether an actual being or a manifestation of Jessamine's mind or the lingering effects of the poisoning, but I think that adds to his villainous nature. The unknown is the scariest thing of all. And his hold on Jessamine is unmatched.

Voice and Prose
Not unlike The Poison Diaries, Nightshade was written with such dark poetry that it's almost read lyrically. The descriptions are fantastic. Everything was described in detail but not so much that it sounded like word vomit or too much effort. Hopefully I won't be ostracized for saying this, but I don't like poetry, I love writing like this.

I love that the plants had more of a voice in this one. They practically screamed they were so loud. Oleander, especially, with his deceitful whisperings and the scared plants that surrounded Weed as he traveled.

Finally, I greatly appreciated the fact that we had point of view from both Jessamine and Weed. I never got confused when it switched from one to the next. After I finished a chapter on Jessamine, I'd want more but then got caught up in Weed's story. A vicious cycle that kept the pages turning. This book is short but with so much happening, it could have been easy to trip and fall through the changes. Not here.

Mythology Reference
I mentioned in my Tweet Review that it's a pseudo-retelling of the Rape of Persephone. Perhaps I'm over thinking it but I can't help but compare the two. Oleander takes Jessamine (Hades takes Persephone), Weed (Demeter) searches for her. There is a return of Jessamine to Weed (Persephone returns from the underworld to her mother) before she decides which road she'll take (Persephone to be the queen of the underworld or not?). Then there's the addition of the changing seasons reference but that's at the end and I won't ruin it for you.

Overall, this was a wonderful read. I am so glad I had the opportunity to read it.

❤ ❤ ❤ ❤ ❤

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Reading Progress

01/20/2012 page 181

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