Monday, 24 May 2010

Review: The Poison Diaries by Maryrose Wood


Publisher: HarperCollins
Format: Paperback
Released: May 27th, 2010
Grade rating: B+


Amazon summary:

Jessamine has spent her whole life in a cottage close to her father's apothecary garden, surrounded by medicinal plants and herbs that could kill her -- although her father has never allowed her into the most dangerous part of the grounds... the poison garden. And so she's never had reason to be afraid -- until now. Because now a newcomer has come to live with the family, a quiet but strangely attractive orphan boy named Weed. Though Weed doesn't say much in words, he has an instant talent for the apothecary's trade, seeming to possess a close bond with the plants of the garden. Soon, he and Jessamine also share a close bond. But little does Jessamine know that passion can be just as poisonous as the deadliest plants in the garden...

Review:

After hearing excellent things about Wood's other YA series, I had high expectations for The Poison Diaries. I wasn't in the least bit disappointed, and I really hope it's the first book in a series. Wood's writing was fantastic, and the imagery she created within her words was just beautiful. Her description of the monastery cottage and its surrounding gardens was also a pleasure to read, and she really brought the setting to life.

The story itself was somewhat unusual, with plants, poison and a carefully guarded apothecary at the forefront of the plot. I loved how everything unfolded into a tale of love and sacrifice, and I was surprised by the actions forced in the last chapter. The Poison Diaries starts off at a steady pace and, at first, it isn't clear where it will end up. All that changes when a new character is introduced, and from then on the book spirals into a web of secrecy and deceit.

Weed was an excellent character, and I would like to see more of him, as well as more of his background and history. I didn't feel like I knew him as well as I could have done, but maybe Wood is saving him for a future instalment in the series? (Fingers crossed). Jessamine was easy to get along with, and I particularly enjoyed her personal thoughts and the extracts from her poison diary. Weed and Oleander, the Prince of Poisons, were the best characters to appear on the pages, and they easily stole the show.

The Poison Diaries was inspired by the current Duchess of Northumberland's public English gardens, of which I now want to visit. I'm sure they're fascinating! Maryrose Wood definitely delivered with this book, and I think I need to dig out my copies of her other series. She certainly has a way with words, not to mention a great knowledge of plants and their poisons.

19 comments:

asamum said...

This one sounds really interesting. I love herbalism, will be putting it on the never ending wishlist :0)

Lori said...

Great review! I will have to ass this one to my wishlist.

Lori said...

LOL That was supposed to be add!!! Oops!

So Many Books, So Little Time said...

This sounds SO good! Plants and posions isn't a common theme in YA so I'm going to have to give it a go!

Sasha said...

I have this and the cover is SOOO gorgeous! Can't wait to read it :) Fab review x

Andrea said...

Well, now I'm interested in this book. It sounds great!

I Want To Read That said...

Sounds good and I love the cover:)

Michelle said...

Hmmm....this sounds really interesting. Another one for the list. ;)

Becky said...

This sounds great Jenny. I'm interested to know what year/ period the book is set in? It doesn't sound like the story of story that is set in contemporary society.

thebookfairyhaven said...

What a fantastic review. I'm dying to get my hands on this book and after your review, even more so now. Great cover too.

prophecygirl said...

Becky - I'm not actually 100% sure what year it was set in, but it's definitely not contemporary.

Carla said...

This does sound quite fantastic really doesn't it, and that cover, my oh my!!!!! I can picture fainting couches and boys who court and not date, or myabe I have this exceptionally wrong. Either way, rock on my friend, fandabydozy review as always

Splendibird said...

This sounds amazing! I'd not heard of it before and your review is excellent. Shall definitely invest!

Lauren said...

This sounds really unusual. Great review - the story doesn't sound like something I'd usually pick up, but I love how you've described the writing.

Anonymous said...

will there be a 2nd book? i've read the 1st but there's no word abt a 2nd one

Anonymous said...

I have also read the book. I fell in love within the first half, but found myself hating the book more and more as it progressed. The writer did an incredible job with her descriptions, but I hope that there will be a second book to cover for the ending of the first.

Anonymous said...

really? i thought the ending was the best part. when i finished the book, i had to sit down and reflect on it, i found that my mind was gasping in a way, just...shocked and intrigued by the lay out of the book and actions done by the characters at the end, and yearning for the next installment.

Anonymous said...

I read this book. I just finished it and I was really disapointed with the ending. If there's a sequal it might be able to make up for it because the beginning of the book was great!

Anonymous said...

i also read the book and thought it was amazing especially the imagery...i was shocked at the end in a way too because i didnt expect the ending to be like that at all but over all it was incredible and i hope there will be a secong one!!!