Early Book Review: Poison by Bridget Zinn

Poison by Bridget Zinn is a young adult novel with publication scheduled for March 12 2013. Kyra is sixteen years year old in a world of kings and queens, where witches are born, potion makers are valued, and all trades have a guild to belong to. Kyra has become a potions master with a specialty in assassination, and knows that the entire kingdom is going to be destroyed on the day the princess gets married. In an attempt to save the kingdom Krya attempts to kill the princess, but something happens that has never occurred before, she misses. To make things more complicated, the princess is Kyra's best friend, and Kyra is now a wanted criminal and still searching for a way to complete her task. Can Kyra complete her task with just her wits, a potions bag, a fellow traveler that just wont seem to leave her alone, his dog, and an enchanted pig?

I enjoyed reading Poison. The character building was very well done. I loved Kyra; with her cynical outlook, practical actions, and desire to do the right thing regardless of the consequences or danger to herself. She is isolated, even when surrounded by people, trying to protect herself and others rather than enjoying life. Fred, her fellow traveler, is equal parts charming rouge and bumbling fool, who made me laugh and infuriated Kyra on several occasions. Rosie, the adorable enchanted pig is both sweet and somehow hard core. The world building was less detailed than the characters, and on several occasions left me wondering if there was a previous book or more information somewhere that I missed. When I reached the end, and saw the finely woven web of details in the plot line, I saw why most of that was the case, but still would have liked more about the world Poison takes place in.

Poison had a very well done mystery that fulled the action through out the story. The mystery of why and how the princess was going to destroy the world tied everything together wonderfully. While there were certain things I anticipated, I was completely surprised by other moments. The relationships, and how they change, between Kyra and those she trusted prior to her assassination attempt might be in the background to the story, and set up room for future books, but they have definite impact on Kyra's choices and interactions with others.

I love a story with well built characters, and Poison fits that bill. Kyra and her companions came alive, with viable personalities. I recommend the book to those that like fantasy, particularly those that move forward based more on characters and mystery rather than the world the story takes place in. If you enjoy young adult fantasy, and reading about a character learning to let others in, despite the knowledge that it might backfire, then you will love this book.
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