Book One of the Arcana Chronicles
By Kresley Cole
Available now from Simon & Schuster
I love Kresley Cole's Immortals After Dark paranormal romance series. I think I've reviewed every single one. Thus I was super excited to find out that Cole was going to write a young adult series. The Arcana Chronicles combines urban fantasy and post-apocalyptic fiction in a compelling, menacing blend.
The book begins when Evie Greene meets Arthur, a man with bad intentions, nearly a year after the Flash. He pretends to be kind, asking for her story of survival. Thus POISON PRINCESS flashes back, and Evie tells what happened to her from the last week before the Flash to when she showed up on Arthur's doorstep.
Evie always knew that the Flash was going to happen, but she didn't know that she knew. She returned to school after spending the summer in a mental institution due to her apocalyptic hallucinations. She pretended to be her normal rich girl self despite her attraction to one of the new Cajun students. Then the Flash happened, slowly forcing Evie to understand her powers.
Now, Evie is hard to like at the beginning of POISON PRINCESS. Her actions are understandable, but she's a mean girl. But as she puts the pieces of her life together, she becomes more likeable. She also joins up with Jack Deveaux, the aforementioned Cajun and a fellow survivor. Together they travel toward Evie's grandmother, who should have some answers about what happened. The only way Evie can get Jack to escort her is by promising to tell him her secrets. But her secrets put Jack in grave danger.
There's a lot of set-up in POISON PRINCESS. There are action and romance scenes to keep things moving, but the vast majority of the book is a way to explain what the Arcana are and what rules they have to follow. It's important exposition, but I'll be happy when Evie and her cohorts can really let loose in the second book. (At least, I hope they let loose in the second book.)
Cole doesn't underestimate teen readers. This isn't her adult work sanitized for a younger audience. POISON PRINCESS is plenty gory and sexy. (Okay, it doesn't have the steamy and frequent sex scenes of her romance novels, but it does have sexual tension.) But the genre blending she uses in the Arcana Chronicles works very well in the young adult format. POISON PRINCESS is a book that will appeal to teens as well as her existing adult fanbase.
So saddle up for a road trip through a devastated United States populated by bloodsucking fiends and people willing to do anything to survive. It's gonna be a magical, violent ride.