Review of The Poison Throne by Celine Kiernan

The Poison Throne

The Poison Throne

I wanted to read good fantasy. Real good fantasy. It’s been a while since I touched one and it was time for a break from the usual YA, historical fiction, paranormal stuff. Don’t get me wrong I still love them but I think I’ve been reading those genres too much and I might get tired of them and avoid those. Not a good thing when I’m an eclectic book reviewer! However I’d have to say, the best thing about reviewing different genres is I can always go back to it and they’ll be there waiting. With open arms. Yeah. Ok. I’m talking too much. The Poison Throne called out to me. First the cover. It’s lovely. Second I read the back of the book and thought I should give it a try. It looked like something I would read. Third, what I didn’t know was I was going to read one of the surprise hits of the year so far.

When young Wynter Moorehawke returns to court with her dying father, but she finds her old home shadowed with fear. The king has become a violent despot, terrorizing those he once loved. His son and heir Alberon has fled into exile and now there are whispers everywhere of rebellion. Meanwhile, Alberon’s half-brother Razi has been elevated to his throne. He struggles to meet his King’s demands while remaining loyal to his beloved brother and to his friend-Wynter. Now, she must choose- her father or her dreams, her friend or her king, her duty… or her love. (From Amazon.ca)

Wow. Just wow. I was sucked in from the first few chapters. First I loved the setting. It’s an interesting blend of fantasy, some paranormal characteristics, and some “real life” qualities. What I mean by that is you have talking cats, ghosts, yet the setting is set someplace in Europe (not really specified). It’s hard to explain, but once you read into the book you get the idea. I thought this was interesting and different.

The book may be slow to some. Yet I was so interested in the political intrigue, that the pace was good for me. You won’t find much action or adventure. Instead, there’s lots of politics and a lot of relationship development and character building. Which is fine for me, it’s certainly a different approach towards fantasy (where you would expect a lot of action and fighting).  It was at a perfect pace and I could read this without feeling confused, and I got the characters all straightened out and was able to understand what was happening as there’s several different plots branching out. Considering this if the first book in a trilogy, you won’t get many questions answered. That may be frustrating and it may seem as if you really didn’t get much out of the book at all, however I feel that this book was a good starter for a trilogy. It created your questions, made an interesting world for you to get used to, and gave you a set list of characters so you know who is who without getting confused. Besides, what would be the point of a trilogy if all questions were answered in the first book?

I absolutely loved the characters in this book. I enjoyed Wynter and her relationship with her father , but her friendships with both Razi and Christopher are also interesting and differ from each other. I found no fault with any of them and liked all of the characters. I even liked King Jonathan  despite his issues with Alberon and his mistreatment of Razi. They all had their distinct personalities and qualities and were perfectly “fleshed out” so you don’t have any two dimensional, wooden characters. I can’t say I have a favorite as they’re all well done.

Although none of my questions have been answered for this novel (well, the majority of them) I am going to continue reading this trilogy. I absolutely loved this book. This one proved to be one of the best reads I have come across so far for this year. It’s a perfect “first novel in a trilogy” because it establishes everything for the reader so we’re set for the next two books. This book is definitely worth the read.

I give it a 9 out of 10.
On the Side (possible spoiler): I noticed there were some hints dropped that Razi and/or Christopher could have been gay. Not that I mind, I actually thought they were at first. I wondered what was the author trying to do there? was she going to make one or both gay but decided to change her mind at the last minute? or she never meant to have a gay character at all? just thought that was interesting…. (those that have read the book, what do you think?)

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