Saturday, July 31, 2010

Enchanting Review: The Poison Diaries

YA Fantasy
Balzer + Bray
ISBN# 0061802360
288 pages
Hardcover – Available Now

Rating: 4 Enchantments

Weed is an orphan taken to live with the Luxton family. He has a particular talent for herbal remedies and has a wealth of knowledge about plants and their uses. He forms a particular connection to Jessamine with whom he forms a friendship and eventual romance with.

Jessamine spends her days in an isolated cottage tending her garden. She has learned from her father about the power of plants and how to cure illnesses with them.

Jessamine Luxton lives with her father in an isolated cottage and spends her time learning about plants and tending her garden. Her father, a respected apothecary taught her about plants and the powers that they possess. She has always wanted to explore the locked garden of dangerous plants that her father would never let her enter. One day, an orphan is dropped off at her cottage to live with the Luxtons. Weed possesses a great amount of knowledge about plants and how they can be used to cure illnesses. He forms a quick friendship with Jessamine and eventually fall in love. The lure of the poison garden remains strong and threatens to tear down their newly formed relationship.

THE POISON DIARIES was a beautiful combination of fantasy and romance. It reminded me of a darker The Secret Garden with a touch of romance. I loved the darkness of this book. Some readers may not appreciate the darkness of this book because it is a great departure from Woods’ other books which were more lighthearted. I thought that the detail and care taken with each and every description was just amazing. The description of the poison plants was just plain old creepy. I also loved that each plant had it’s own voice and personality that reflected the characteristics of the plant. I really loved the last two parts of the book because there was a darkness in those chapters that really encapsulated the feeling of the rest of the book.

I thought Weed and Jessamine were wonderful characters. They were both so sympathetic and vibrant. Jessamine was such an amazing character. She had this innate curiosity about her that I really identify with. Weed was a mystery throughout the whole book. I loved his dependence on Jessamine. They really had a very sweet relationship that started with a dependence, turned into friendship and then eventually became love. People will compare them to Edward and Bella from Twilight but to me, they reminded me more of Mary Lennox and Dickon from The Secret Garden. Their relationship was very sweet and although they were very tentative with each other, they had great chemistry.

I was, however, quite disappointed with the ending. I wanted there to be a more firm conclusion but, I guess, in YA you never really get that until the end of the series. I can’t wait until the next book.

Maryrose Wood began writing fiction after a life in the theater. She has written several teen novels and her most recent series for young readers is The Incorrigible Children of Ashton Place. She currently lives in New York City.

Grace Loiacono
July 2010

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