Sunday, April 21, 2013

Falling Into Fantasy

I don't consider myself a terribly impulsive person. I'm actually the kind of worrywart who has to reflect on it for a minute, and take the specific initiative to act impulsively when the opportunity arises for some spontaneous action. Even then, it takes a good couple seconds of "pro-con"-ing to err on the side of being impulsive.

So when I feel the impulsive urge to buy a new-release high fantasy YA novel but a few days after its publication, you can bet its a big deal.

Granted, I bought it for my Kindle. And its not like I had anything better to do. (Sorry, neglected ENG 302 homework, but you definitely don't fit the description of "better".) Still, the importance of this event must be impressed upon you readers!

Actually, better yet: can we just dispense with the origin story, and jump right into how great this book was, and how worthy it was of said impulsive buy?

Here transcribed is exactly what was written down in the notes of my book journal:

Likes: Everything! Dislikes: Nothing! 

Okay, maybe it warrants a little more in-depth discussion than that. I wouldn't necessarily bring it up in English class, but this book was really good! 

The suspense was there, the plot development was super solid. There were plenty of twists and turns, and it was a fast-paced plot. There were actually a couple of really perfectly performed reveals that had me scraping my jaw off of the floor and laughing in enjoyment, actually thinking to myself, "No way!" or "This just got even better." The movement of the story line was wonderfully done and expertly composed, with just the right pacing. 

The fact that it was a high fantasy was really what allowed the story to shine: usually, the high fantasies I've experienced have relied on some kind of staid self-composure, some direct form of adherence to only the most serious of tones and descriptions in an effort to command respect for the attempted realism. However, Poison excelled in the complete opposite: with a wink and a nod at the fact that the world they occupied wasn't remotely real, the characters were supremely adorable, and each one had some element of cutesy ideality in their comportment. I mean, the main character travels with a pig, for goodness' sake (which you can see cheekily poking its head out of the bushes at the lower left half of the cover). 

But don't think that it was all a marshmallow- and gumdrop-filled trip for our intrepid heroine: the characters may be sweet, but the slick pace of suspense gave just the right amount of edge to our almost-too-perfect cast, and made it just unpredictable enough for the appropriateness and attention span of the intended audience. 

Overall, the projection of such a strong heroine reminded me of someone out of a Tamora Pierce novel, but the new mystical creatures, incredibly unique focus of skill sets - I mean, who else writes about powerful potioners? - and constant game-changing revelations that popped up throughout the novel, marked Poison as a truly engaging and excellent YA fantasy. 

(And I'm diving back into the genre again soon, by reading Throne of Glass, by Sarah J. Maas, so keep watching for more fantastical worlds, powerful magic, and heroes and villians galore!) 

Post script 
At the end of the novel, I was left wishing that there were more such wonderful high fantasies present in YA. Unfortunately, after additional research into the life of the author, Bridget Zinn, I found out from her website that she -a librarian and writer - had died in May 2011, at the age of 33, due to colon cancer. Her novel is being published posthumously. What a legacy to leave behind! I haven't heard anyone say a bad word about this book, and I hope that Zinn and her family can hear those kind thoughts! Much appreciation to Bridget, her husband and family, and her literary family as well, for making sure that such a great story was told. :) 

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