Series: The Arcana Chronicles #1
Publisher: Simon and Schuster
Date Published: October 2nd 2012
Genres: Action & Adventure, Legends, Myths, Fables, Love & Romance, Paranormal, Young Adult
Description: #1 New York Times bestselling author Kresley Cole introduces The Arcana Chronicles, post-apocalyptic tales filled with riveting action, the dark mysticism of Tarot cards, and breathtaking romance. She could save the world—or destroy it. Sixteen year old Evangeline “Evie” Greene leads a charmed life, until she begins experiencing horrifying hallucinations. When an apocalyptic event decimates her Louisiana hometown, Evie realizes her hallucinations were actually visions of the future—and they’re still happening. Fighting for her life and desperate for answers, she must turn to her wrong-side-of-the-bayou classmate: Jack Deveaux. But she can’t do either alone. With his mile-long rap sheet, wicked grin, and bad attitude, Jack is like no boy Evie has ever known. Even though he once scorned her and everything she represented, he agrees to protect Evie on her quest. She knows she can’t totally depend on Jack. If he ever cast that wicked grin her way, could she possibly resist him?Who can Evie trust? As Jack and Evie race to find the source of her visions, they meet others who have gotten the same call. An ancient prophesy is being played out, and Evie is not the only one with special powers. A group of twenty-two teens has been chosen to reenact the ultimate battle between good and evil. But it’s not always clear who is on which side….
The is the second book I’ve read recently with tarot cards as major plot line. (Read my review of Book of Speculation here.) The two books are completely different, however. Starting with the fact that I actually enjoyed Poison Princess. Instead of reading the cards and family curses, the characters in Poison Princess are the major Arcana, or cards, in the tarot deck. (The Arcana Chronicles is the name of the series.) And yes, I have learned a bit more about the tarot deck. And I should probably research the rest of the major arcana at some point. Especially before I read the next books in this series.
Fair warning time, this review contains spoilers. Though, somewhat obvious ones, if you ask me.
Evie Greene is the main character in Poison Princess. She’s a somewhat typical teenage girl. Cheerleader, friends with everyone, boyfriend pressuring her to have sex. Delusions and voices in her head. Ok, maybe that last one isn’t so typical. And it also lands her in a school for disturbed children over the summer. She’s told all of her friends that she’s at debutante school, instead of admitting that she’s literally locked up. Now back home, and back at school, she is still having delusions, but is trying to fit in. And the school has some new students, Cajun ones. Including Jackson Deveaux. Jackson is the bad-boy foil to Evie’s jock boyfriend Brandon. But a week after school starts, and on Evie’s 16th birthday, there is a Flash that destroys everything on earth. People, especially of the female persuasion. Plants. Water. Turns out, Evie’s not having delusions, but actual visions of the post-Flash world. Evie and Jackson have survived, and start on a trek to Evie’s grandmother in South Carolina.
Here’s the spoiler-y part: Evie’s visions are of the Red Princess, who it turns out is Evie, the Poison Princess, the Empress in the major arcana.
I KNOW. Shocker. I’m not really sure why it took 2/3 of the book for Evie to come to this realization that she is the Empress. She figures out that she can regrow plants with her own blood pretty early on. And that her nails turn into thorns. And that she can control plants. All of this seems pretty obvious to me, the reader. And may have been one of the few things I didn’t like about the book. Evie is completely naive to everything going on around her, but does finally get there in the end.
And spoiler #2: Evie realizes that she needs to embrace her powers, and fight against the evil arcana. And
Yes, that was really my excuse to put in a Highlander gif. I have no shame. When an author uses a line like “there can be only one”, I can’t help but use a picture from Highlander.
I did like how Ms. Cole plotted the story. Evie is telling a story to another person, in chronological order. With the dates listed as B.F. (Before Flash) and A.F. (After Flash). Evie and Jack are outrunning the army, cannibals, slavers, and Bagman (water-zombies). With no resources, they are struggling to survive. And Jack is trying to toughen Evie up, to get her to realize the world is no longer sunshine and rainbows. All while the two are clearly falling for each other. And running into other major arcana characters.
Overall, I’d recommend Poison Princess to fans of YA Urban Fantasy. The plot is a bit obvious. But the book is well-written. Getting to the conclusion, the actual adventure, is what’s more interesting here. I’m excited to read the next books in the series. And maybe some of Ms. Cole’s other books as well.