A lot or a little?
The parents' guide to what's in this book.
What parents need to know
Parents need to know that the scary world in Poison -- roughly equivalent to the Middle Ages -- is inhabited by witches, goblins, and many other fantastical creatures. Some scariness is akin to that in fairy tales, as when a witch threatens to eat Kyra and Fred. Other times it's psychological, as when Kyra's asked to assist with prisoner interrogation. Hand-to-hand combat is described in detail, as are serious injuries. The heroine chooses to operate outside the law in order to save the kingdom, but her choice isn't glorified. Blossoming romance is flirtatious, and physical responses are mentioned but not described in detail; there are two full kisses on the lips. A note on the back flap informs readers that, sadly, first-time author Bridget Zinn died before the book's publication.
What's the story?
Kyra has a vision of the kingdom in ruins, and the only way to save it is by killing the princess, her best friend. To save the day, Kyra will need to go into hiding and enlist the help of a criminal overlord, an adorable pink pig, and a handsome young man. In hiding and on the run, she uses her wits, her considerable skills in potion making, and her deadly aim with poison darts to save the day.
Is it any good?
POISON is an entertaining fantasy that has all the earmarks of another big franchise. Unfortunately, the untimely death of first-time author Bridget Zinn may cut that short. Although not as witty or poetic as the best fantasy novels, Poison offers a richly, if familiarly, imagined world. And while the basis for the quest is fairly flimsy and not well reasoned ahead of time, the characters are well fleshed out, and the pace doesn't slacken from start to finish.
Kyra would be a top-notch female role model ... if only she didn't mind her hair texture or chest size and if she had thought the decision to kill her best friend through more carefully before undertaking the task. But precisely for these reasons, the target audience will no doubt find her easy to relate to, and she's admirable for her resourcefulness and skills in traditionally male-dominated areas.
Talk to your kids about ...
Families can talk about the trend in fairy tale-type stories. Why do you think they're so popular in young adult novels, movies, and TV shows?
Is Kyra's difficult (and deadly) decision justified to save the kingdom? Is there anything else she could have done before making this extreme decision?
What would it be like to have the power to make a truth-telling potion like Kyra has? Who would you give it to?
- Author: Bridget Zinn
- Genre: Fantasy
- Topics: Magic and fantasy, Adventures, Friendship, Misfits and underdogs, Monsters, ghosts, and vampires
- Book type: Fiction
- Publisher: Disney-Hyperion
- Publication date: March 12, 2013
- Publisher's recommended age(s): 12 - 17
- Number of pages: 288
- Available on: Nook, Hardback, iBooks, Kindle
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Common Sense Media's unbiased ratings are created by expert reviewers and aren't influenced by the product's creators or by any of our funders, affiliates, or partners.