Poison Princess is a highly creative book with an intriguing premise.
This book has so much going for it. An innovative plot, fast-paced action (never a lull) and interesting characters! I especially enjoyed the way the two main stories met between Arthur's house and the over-arcing main storyline of Evie's journey.
Evie and Jackson are compelling leads who like to keep their cards close to their chest. I can roll with that...for a little while. They are quirky, butt heads, have healthy urges, worry about school, do normal, stupid teenage things. Evie worries about her popularity. Jackson worries about his mother.
Normal things. Until, Bam, Apocalypse.
Yes! This is going places, I can tell! Evie can grow claws that can cut through metal...Awesome! Matt can accurately see the future--Sweet! Serena is Artemis reincarnated--bad ass! Finn can manipulate anyone with an illusion--neato, gang! Jackson can face down the barrel of a rifle without flinching as someone's about to pull the trigger--where did my panties go! Evie can...not complain about how bad things are...wait, what? That's a strength of hers? ...and moving on!
So they embark on a quest: Find Grandma, Save the World. That's a none-too-shabby goal. Do go on.
Then there's car crashes, men hunting for women, a misunderstanding--gasp!--Jackson saving Evie, Evie holding back answers, pilfering supplies, awesome bikes, sexy make outs, more men hunting for women, Jackson saving Evie again, Evie gets kidnapped! No!! Jackson rescues her--hurray! Another misunderstanding. Well, thank goodness they were honest with each other, that'll solve ever--wait, you're both not talking, and won't communicate? Hmm.
What really took away from my enjoyment: the frickin' MC, Evie. She's stubborn, sheltered, unwilling to adapt, hypocritical, jealous, insecure, high-handed, petty and more. Hello, wonderful flaws! These are all things I can accept in a main character, but she has to eventually evolve.
You must earn my Adoration, Evie. Think of my Adoration like you do your V-Card. I just don't hand it out.
Gah, Evangeline irritated me at times (lots and lots of times). 16-17 or not, she was always making poor decisions, and after enjoyably reading some smart, together heroines the past few months, Evie's constant vacillating
on every important issue quickly grows to be a tired act. The girl desperately needs something resembling a back bone for the important things, not the petty things.
The first example in the chronicle's of my annoyance was Evie's desperation to hang on to her boyfriend. This, I can understand. The girls fresh out of a Shrink House, an understandably bad three months, and like any sane person, she craves what she used to have, she wants support, she wants to be normal and she wants Brandon to make her feel that way again. What I don't understand is the urge to cling to this boyfriend like a lifeline and then in the next five (drunken) minutes she wants to go stick her tongue down someone else's throat. Does NOT Equate.
What irked me far more than this momentary almost
indiscretion is her complete lack of survival skills. When a Militia is getting ready to ride over your home/safe haven/pillow fort specifically looking for women to rape/torture/mutilate, you do your damndest to NOT GET CAUGHT. That means you leave the crops, and you don't force your new bodyguard/savior to dig a grave. Your mother (RIP Mother Karen) will forgive you for the non-burial issue if it means you are alive! It's kind of a mom thing.
Or maybe it's just a realistic expectations thing. So then Jackson reasonably points out that if the Militia finds the crops they might come after Evie... Wait, wait, wait. Here's what the Militia will come upon.
A dead body and crops.
These people are not Sherlock Holmes incarnate. Real people don't connect random points of information such as: "There are crops growing in a secret hidden place in the barn. As such, it follows that a young, teenage girl must be growing them! We should logically follow her!" No. What you have is a dead body, and if the two main characters are smart, a dead end. You just walk away.
You don't bury the body. You hide the place settings for last night's grand farewell dinner on Mom's best China. You don't give two shits about a house and how those monsters use it (You'll be alive, hurray!). YOU DO NOT BURN THE HOUSE DOWN LIKE A HOMING BEACON ACTIVELY TAGGED TO YOUR ASS. At any cost, YOU DON'T LET CRAZY, TORTURING MILITIA KNOW THERE ARE OTHER PEOPLE WHO ARE ALIVE IN THE IMMEDIATE VICINITY.
Now, I don't advocate for violence in real life, but in Post-Apocolyptic-Save-your-ass-no-matter-the-consequences novels (Curse you for your books and the practicality that lie therein, [a:Karen Marie Moning|48206|Karen Marie Moning|http://d.gr-assets.com/authors/1350594088p2/48206.jpg]), Jackson should have logically hauled Evie's ass out of there, her reaction be damned (again, she'll be alive to be mad about it!).
I finally had to create a a new tag which doesn't happen all too often because I'm usually content and settled with how many I already have. But here it is: NO Communication--shocking!
The lack of people willing to share secrets that might help them avoid future trouble in novels just about obliterates any enjoyment I get out of something so well-written. Evie's constant inner debate: I want to tell Jack, but I can't. Jack should know this, but I won't share it. I just want someone to understand me, but I can't give him the chance to turn me down. Evie's a coward through and through.
My last gripe is more with the maturity in this book. I nurture a healthy liking for books that don't go soft on you, that treat you to the nitty gritty, that drag you through the dirt with them. And, at points, this book had that. Crazy Militia collecting women: check. Torture-fetish twins: check. Cannibals: check. Zombies/Bagmen: check. Evie's loss of those close to her: heartwrenching check. Jackson's unforgiving, and no hesitation violence: check. What I don't get is how you have these more mature, sometimes disturbing concepts, but the word 'fuck' is prohibited. (Evie supplies 'Fitshaced' and 'Futhermucker.' Sigh.) At the end, Evie tears a human being into two pieces. She enjoys the slaughter, revels in the feeling of control of her powers, but just days before can't pull an arrow out of a zombie's eye...?
Or Finn, who is lewd, crude and calls Evie 'Sugartits' (hilarious, btw), but instead of owning to the word rape, he says that come sunset, Evie will be 'married' to the hundreds of men of the camp. I don't understand where the crass boy would develop such a handicap in language. I found it so out of place, but perhaps I have his character all wrong and Finn was either being irreverent which would be unsurprising. Or he was trying to soften it for Evie. I haven't pegged why that moment stood out so much for me yet.
It made me feel, at times, that this book was adult in concept, but then handled clumsily with kiddy gloves. Like: "An edit here, nice! Oh, wait, this is a Young Adult novel, tone down the language, but ramp up the sex. Add in a virgin crisis, make the MC fall madly in love with the dashing hero, but don't let her communicate her fears of sex and pregnancy until AFTER he severely misinterprets her. Good, perfect!"
And last, but not least, Evie...wants to be Jackson's....ugh, girlfriend. The World is Ending. Children have to slaughter each other. You're on the road and on occasion starving. You're being hunted by creepy voices in your head, but you're worrying about a silly title?
Girl, priorities! Get some.