Thursday, October 21, 2010

[Review] The Poison Diaries by Maryrose Wood

Title: The Poison Diaries
Author: Maryrose Wood
Publication: 27 May 2010
Publisher: HarperCollins Children's Books
Review Copy: PB, won (Thanks, Alessandra!)
Pages: 237
My Rating:

Blurb from Goodreads:  
Jessamine Luxson lives with her father, Thomas, an apothecary, in an isolated cottage near Alnwick Castle. Thomas’s pride and obsession is his locked garden full of dangerous plants, which Jessamine is forbidden to enter.

When a traveler brings an orphan to their cottage, he claims the boy has special gifts that Thomas might value. Jessamine is drawn to the strange but intriguing boy, called Weed. Soon their friendship deepens into love. Finally, Weed shares his secret: He can communicate with plants. For him they have distinct personalities—and some are even murderous. From the locked garden the poisonous plants call to Weed, luring him with promises of deadly power.

When Jessamine falls inexplicably ill, only Weed’s relationship with the Poisons can save her. But Thomas is determined to exploit Weed’s abilities, even if it risks Jessamine’s life—or drives Weed to the brink of madness.…

My thoughts: 

First off, I think I like the UK cover (pictured) than the US cover. The UK cover portrays the idea of poison more coherently, and definitely emanates a darker idea of the novel. Plus, the colours are really cool. The blue/green, and then there is the gold...the contrast is nice. It is one of my favourite UK covers I have on my bookshelf right now.

The story that Maryrose Wood introduced me, was one with wonder and was of a complete different place and era entirely. The beginning is pretty slow, like, the first few chapters felt like a fricken' memoir to me! However, when Weed, with whom Jessamine becomes attached to, comes along; that's when the story becomes interesting and actually dared me to continue reading on.

There are few main characters, which is good for this kind of novel, given its short length. It allowed for focus on each character, and also explored each character's personality and mannerisms thoroughly. I liked the relationship between Jessamine and Weed. It was slow-moving, like a real relationship should be, which added more realism to their devotion to one another in the second half of the novel. Also, upon reading the novel, the family secrets uncovered are just DELICIOUS, HEARTBREAKING, SHOCKING . . ., and ultimately, left me upon reflection on my own family.

However, I was unable to LOVE any one character. I was, in honesty, detached. This may be told in first person, but since it is written in a form of "diary" narrative, I still felt like I was on the outside. Which is fine...but I just didn't have a side to root for when the time called for it. It left me pondering: when one has an aim, can the means by which that aim is sought over really justify all that has been done? It was thought-provoking, which I believe is a good thing. :)

I like the plant allusions throughout the novel. It was fresh and different. I had never read any flower or plant novel before, so this was a nice change from my normal reads. Also, that each plant held a different personality gave the novel a richer taste as a whole.

Lastly, the ending was a bit abrupt, and left me with lingering emotions. Gosh, it's really really good! In that, it makes me want to read the sequel, I hunger for the sequel! I wish it were out now, but dreams are often left unfulfilled when in the bout of a selfish person, so I shall wait it out.


Live in Australia?
Fishpond | Readings | Dymocks | Angus & Robertson | Borders | The Nile

Live elsewhere?
Amazon | The Book Depository

I am in no way affiliated with the above sites, nor with Wood or publisher. I do not receive any money for reviewing or linking.

Learn more about The Poison Diaries and read more reviews at Goodreads!

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