Kyra is a potion master, but she is on the run since she tried to kill her best friend the princess, but her usual deadly dart missed. Kyra knows that if Princess Arianna becomes queen, she will destroy the kingdom, and she can't let that happen, so she goes to Arlo, a criminal mastermind, for help tracking down the princess so she can finish the job. He gives her a tracking pig, much to Kyra's dismay, but it seems like the pig knows what it's doing so she follows her all the way to a handsome stranger named Fred. Kyra gives Fred the slip several times, but that boy is useful, and attractive and suddenly Kyra had more on her mind than just saving the kingdom. With a quick moving plot, plenty of twists, and an adorable pig, Poison is a light-hearted adventure for fans of Grave Mercy.
I found out about Poison from Laini Taylor's blog. The author, Bridget Zinn, died of cancer in 2011, but she had been working on this book during her entire treatment and it's finally been published. It's a great story about an author working very hard on her work, despite the fact that she was never able to see if come to fruition.
Also, this book is good. It's not just some vanity press book that the family threw together in her memory, which makes it all the more sad, that such a talented author died young.
I personally loved Kyra. Which got me to thinking, there are a lot of heroines out there with K-names. Katniss (The Hunger Games), Karou (Daughter of Smoke and Bone), Katsa (Graceling), and now Kyra. I think that she could hold her own with the other girls. She's tough and talented, but can be light hearted and funny at times too. I also loved Rosie, the Katenzheim Pig. I guess I was taken by her because she seemed so cuddly and loving, and she softened Kyra.
Speaking of Rosie, let's talk about what makes this book lighthearted instead of heavy. At first glance you would think this would be a dark book-a potion master out to kill her best friend- but in reality, the dialogue between Kyra and Fred is flirty, Arianna is anything but a stuffy princess, and the action is often pretty tame. At times, I felt like the book became too comical for the main plot. Sometimes the dialogue seemed too modern to me, making references to teddy bears and using the words "jerk" and "mom" just felt wrong. On one hand, I liked the absurdity of the text, but on the other hand, I wished it would have been more intense throughout.
Another counterintuitive sticking point is that this could easily be a trilogy, and while I'm glad it's not, there were times in the book that you thought there was more plot left than book. Personally, I'm sick of trilogies and series, but I would like to read more about Kyra, Arianna, Fred, and even Rosie. So while I'm extremely happy that this was a stand alone book, I could have read more.
Overall, I do think that this type of tough girl, with a touch of whimsy, book has a wide audience. After reading dystopias, or dark period dramas, it is nice to read about a potions master and her wiley pig.