Anna's Reviews > Poison

Poison by Chris Wooding
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's review
Dec 05, 2012

it was amazing
bookshelves: fae, favorites, kick-ass-heroine, cover-love, went-on-an-adventure, protagonist-love, laughed-out-loud, creepy-strange-and-oddly-addictive, love-the-entire-cast, wtf-ending, reviewed
Recommended for: Anyone interested in a dark adventurous fairytale
Read from April 04 to 11, 2012

4.5 stars.
I really didn't know what I was expecting when I decided to read this but my expectations weren't very high. I certainly didn't think it was such a creative and adventurous fairytale.

Life in the Black Marshes is predictable and dangerous. It promises only a dim future fraught with disease, venomous critters, and phearies who steal children from their cribs. Most people simply accept this as their existence but Poison cannot. She has a reputation for being difficult, strange, and antisocial, and it doesn't help that her only friend is an old man with a mouth full of tales. Poison would have very possibly left the Marshes and never returned but this trip is quickened when her infant sister is abducted. Poison leaves her swamp village and travels across the Realms in a seemingly impossible quest to bring her back.

It took me awhile to get into this book; I found myself constantly picking it up only to put it back down. Not because it didn't interest me but rather because it didn't interest me enough. Maybe it was the setting. The world-building was actually fairly well done but I had trouble adjusting to wherever the heck I was at first. Maybe it was the writing? It wasn't awful but it was different from what I've become accustomed to. Just one example would be the unusual way Woodling has of separating some of the characters' speeches.

For instance:
"Most people talk like this."

Troll talks like this
- ghost thing talks like this -
Fae lady talks like this

Why did he do this? I don't know. These were all people of different species so he must have wanted to get imaginative with their voices. I'm not entirely apposed to it - the approach is quite new - but it threw me off. It's just strange to not use quotations when a character is speaking out loud. I had a massive brain fart

Something else that caused brain flatulence was "phaerie." The first several times I saw that spelling, my mind just couldn't accept it. It looked so much like a typo even when I knew it wasn't. I did eventually get over this. Then I found out the "phearies" can lie, which peeved me a bit because I'm so used to reading stories where they're simply incapable. Still, Woodling did an overall stellar job with the race and their vivid Realm so I was able to ignore this.

Perhaps my trouble was Poison. Oh, she's a tricky one! The type you really can't decide if you love or hate. I had this problem in the beginning but several dozen pages in I found myself loving her, and by the end of her tale I was in love with her.

Poison is a very realistic character. These days YA novels are stuffed with dazzlingly beautiful and flawless heroines who are loved by all and can do no wrong. This is not the case with Poison; in fact you're told straight that Poison is "odd looking" and not very popular. In truth she just loves to push buttons and is a little vindictive. I mean, she named herself Poison just to spite her stepmother! Which I actually thought that was kind of funny but you get my point. The characters who eventually become her friends had a rocky start but time and bonding gave noticeable change. Poison genuinely cares about the people who've been able to break her shell and vice versa. This is evident enough in the fact she goes on a suicidal journey in order to save her sister.

One thing about Poison is her tendency to be arrogant and make impulsive and incredibly selfish decisions. These decisions, however, are not without their consequences and people don't take them lightly. Poison has had her hardships and has been chewed out by even her friends when necessary - a refreshing twist from the consoling most heroines get from their BFFs. The best part of it is that Poison actually grows from her experiences. That's right, throughout the novel there's proof of her learning from her mistakes and feeling shame for her past behaviors. She doesn't turn into little miss sunshine but she does steadily become more humbled and more grateful of her life and the people around her.

There were many readers who were annoyed by the meta plot but I actually really enjoyed it. I've always been particularly fascinated by the specific concept explored in the novel and I'll admit it's something I've often pondered in my day dreams. I actually thought it was interesting and was glad to find a book that had it.

This might be YA and it might be a paranormal but it's not a romance novel! That's one of the things about this book that stuck out so much with me. I need to stop reading mainstream YA books because now I automatically associate the genre with romance every time there's a female protagonist... Actually, trash that. I've come to associate YA and Romance as the same damn thing no matter the sex of the narration. Apparently I'm not the only one who feels this way either.

This story isn't romance but it's a real adventure. I felt as if I was actually being taken on this strange journey with Poison. I felt I was actually right with her as she broke into witches houses, toyed with giant spiders, and pissed off phearies. My dear companion caused a lot of trouble and she never stopped to admire the man candy, something I couldn't have been more grateful for. There's nothing but the typical challenges faced by many obstacles that one generally meets when constantly sneaking into other realms and meeting a variety of inhuman opponents. Woodling provided some very creative places and characters. The atmosphere was very much like that of a fairytale and that made it more meta but I actually liked it...

There were some who say the ending was a bit flat and I can't say I entirely disagree. It felt a little rushed to me. It was also pretty bittersweet and that usually has me feeling empty inside because I just don't know how to react. It didn't ruin the story for me but it's not what I would have chosen.

In conclusion: I liked this book. I really did, and I really do. For the atmosphere, the characters, and the overall story telling. I really liked it.

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Quotes Anna Liked

Chris Wooding
“The books were legends and tales, stories from all over the Realm. These she had devoured voraciously – so voraciously, in fact, that she started to become fatigued by them. It was possible to have too much of a good thing, she reflected.
“They’re all the same,” she complained to Fleet one night. “The soldier rescues the maiden and they fall in love. The fool outwits the wicked king. There are always three brothers or sisters, and it’s always the youngest who succeeds after the first two fail. Always be kind to beggars, for they always have a secret; never trust a unicorn. If you answer somebody’s riddle they always either kill themselves or have to do what you say. They’re all the same, and they’re all ridiculous! That isn’t what life is like!”
Fleet had nodded sagely and puffed on his hookah. “Well, of course that’s not what life is like. Except the bit about unicorns – they’ll eat your guts as soon as look at you. those things in there” – he tapped the book she was carrying – “they’re simple stories. Real life is a story, too, only much more complicated. It’s still got a beginning, a middle, and an end. Everyone follows the same rules, you know. . . It’s just that there are more of them. Everyone has chapters and cliffhangers. Everyone has their journey to make. Some go far and wide and come back empty-handed; some don’t go anywhere and their journey makes them richest of all. Some tales have a moral and some don’t make any sense. Some will make you laugh, others make you cry. The world is a library, young Poison, and you’ll never get to read the same book twice.”
Chris Wooding, Poison

Chris Wooding
“Cynicism was a one-way path, and once taken the way back was lost forever.”
Chris Wooding, Poison

Chris Wooding
“Then a person has only one tale?”

No, some have two or three separate ones or more,” Fleet said. “Some people have many tales. Sometimes they are linked into one big tale, sometimes they are utterly distinct. Most people do not have one at all.”
Chris Wooding, Poison

Chris Wooding
“We may seem the weakest and most insignificant of all the Realms, but our strength comes in other ways. We have what no other race has: imagination. Any one of us, even the lowliest, can create worlds within ourselves; we can people them with the most extraordinary creatures, the most amazing inventions, the most incredible things. We can live in those worlds ourselves, if we choose; and in our own worlds, we can be as we want to be. Imagination is as close as we will ever be to godhead, Poison, for in imagination, we can create wonders.”
Chris Wooding, Poison

Chris Wooding
“I just wanted them to die," said Poison. "They didn't have to make such a drama about it.”
Chris Wooding, Poison

Chris Wooding
“Some of us are born in the right place, and some of us have to go look for it.”
Chris Wooding, Poison

Reading Progress

04/04/2012 page 5
2.0% "I... I don't know how I feel about this so far. I like that the protagonist is described as "odd-looking" instead of "beautiful" or "perfect". That's new."
04/05/2012 page 14
5.0% "I like Fleet :)"
04/05/2012 page 19
7.0% "I'm hoping this book is cursed because otherwise I don't see the point of this..."
04/05/2012 page 25
9.0% "I get a massive brain fart every time I see the word "phaeries". It's like P.C Cast's "Vampyres" all over again."
04/06/2012 page 25
9.0% "Huh, guess something was up with that book."
04/06/2012 page 25
9.0% "I'm gonna go ahead and let that lieing thing slide since the author is obviously trying to put his own spin on faeries phaeries."
04/06/2012 page 30
10.0% "Aaaannnnd I've officially decided that I like you, Poison. Don't ruin it... just stay all tough, determined, and cynical and we can get through the rest of the novel peacefully."
04/08/2012 page 39
14.0% "Not many girls would travel alone with a libel older man but I guess you gotta do what you gotta do."
04/08/2012 page 41
14.0% "Ah, so you are aware."
04/09/2012 page 54
19.0% "I've been having a feeling of deja vu almost the moment Poison hired Bram. I didn't realize until now that it was True Grit deja vu. Not to say Bram is the BAMF that Rooster is or even that the relationship is identical but I'm just having a random moment of deja vu... "
04/09/2012 page 60
21.0% "Either Poison just did something very smart or very stupid. Whichever it is, she has a vajaja the size of Jupiter and I have to tip my fedora to her."
04/09/2012 page 67
23.0% "Fae and their riddles. If I ever faced one I would die on the spot. I suck at riddles."
04/09/2012 page 73
25.0% "That's sweet... I like Bram. Don't die..."
04/09/2012 page 80
28.0% "Oh geez. Well I guess you can't have a generic witch without a generic witch voice."
04/09/2012 page 84
29.0% "Annnnd you can't have a generic witch without a generic witch voice and generic witch appearance. After reading the entire physical description I am now imagining an uglier this: Still, I wouldn't be entirely truthful in saying I'm not into it. I'm loving the dark fairy-tale atmosphere."
04/09/2012 page 85
30.0% "Never felt so proud to be a cat person!"
04/09/2012 page 90
31.0% "Perhaps it would have been helpful to ask about those "hidey-holes" but it's too early in the book for you to die so I'll assume you know what you're doing."
04/09/2012 page 98
34.0% "DAMNIT BRAM! WHY U NO STAY OUT OF TROUBLE!? Ah who am I kidding? Glad to see him but if he dies I'll... I'll be in an unpleasent mood."
04/09/2012 page 103
36.0% "HA! Poison made poison. I'm finding I like this girl a hell of a lot more than I thought I would."
04/09/2012 page 103
36.0% "“I just wanted them to die," said Poison. "They didn't have to make such a drama about it.” Oh yes. Defiantly liking more than expected."
04/09/2012 page 113
39.0% "Awwwe. Phaerie kitty is precious. (Weird spelling no longer bothers me)"
04/09/2012 page 115
40.0% "So far the new guy is quite adorable and I can't help but like. Meanwhile, this story is getting more meta by the chapter."
04/10/2012 page 130
45.0% "That a girl, Poison!"
04/10/2012 page 139
48.0% "I love this place already."
04/10/2012 page 155
54.0% "Okay so this far in I think it's officially safe to say there's no romance in this novel. "
04/10/2012 page 155
54.0% "Ugh, it's like the girl from The Ring but pregnant… It's so weird yet I feel like giving and applause due to the sheer level of weirdness."
04/10/2012 page 156
54.0% "Wha... how... I don't... WHAT!? "
04/10/2012 page 158
55.0% "Oh honey... that was stupid of you."
04/10/2012 page 170
59.0% "What a douche."
04/10/2012 page 186
65.0% "As interesting as that all is - and it is interesting - I think I'll go ahead and put this on hold."
04/11/2012 page 197
68.0% "metametametametametameta - some hate it, I'm kind of liking it."
04/11/2012 page 204
71.0% "I've had similar contemplations during my ADHD induced day dreams. She's living it though. How terrible."
04/11/2012 page 207
72.0% "YOU TELL HER BRAM!. You beautiful son of a bitch, Poison needed that."
04/11/2012 page 208
72.0% "That's our Poison! So glad you have you back, my vindictive darling."
04/11/2012 page 213
74.0% "Oh Bram. It's a sad day in any Realm when you're oblivious to things even Peppercorn has figured out."
04/11/2012 page 221
77.0% ""Revenge had never felt so good." "
04/11/2012 page 224
78.0% "I'm not sure what the point of describing this Realm was but I enjoyed it. Oh and more of the weird speaking font? Really???"
04/11/2012 page 230
80.0% ""
04/11/2012 page 243
84.0% "Still such a douche... And yet I'm still thrown off by a fae being able to lie. Phaerie or no phaerie"
04/11/2012 page 247
86.0% "Creepy cobweb lady still reminds me of The Ring child and all the Japanese horror movie girls like her."
04/11/2012 page 253
88.0% "Well I'll be damned. That mistake I thought was so stupid actually turned out to be usefull."
04/11/2012 page 258
90.0% "Knew that girl was suspicious..."
04/11/2012 page 263
91.0% "That was some chapter... How is it possible to be so predictible yet so suprising all at the same time!?"
04/11/2012 page 267
93.0% "That... everything that's been written on this page and the last... sucks."
04/11/2012 page 270
94.0% "Bram... "
04/11/2012 page 288
100.0% "Well I', done... oh man. I don't know what to do with the feelings I'm feeling."

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