Book review & spotlight: Poison Princess and Arcana Rising by Kresley Cole

In today’s post, I’m featuring both a review and spotlight post. As part of the Arcana Rising celebration, I’ve recently been giving the opportunity to review Poison Princess, the first book in a Arcana chronicles by Kresley Cole.

I’m sure most of you have heard or read the books, but just in case you haven’t, Poison Princess is about a girl who has debilitating visions of an apocalyptic future and explores what happens when those visions come true.

Today, Arcana Rising, the fourth book in the series is out in the wild. I don’t want to give too much information about the book as I’ve just finished the first one, but have included a brief synopsis for you below (following my review of Poison Princess).

Source: Review copy from the publishers. You can purchase a copy of the book from 

Summary: Goodreads
Publication date: August 19th 2014
Publishers: Simon & Schuster

#1 New York Times bestselling author Kresley Cole introduces The Arcana Chronicles, post-apocalyptic tales filled with riveting action, the dark mysticism of Tarot cards, and breathtaking romance.

She could save the world-or destroy it.

Sixteen year old Evangeline "Evie" Greene leads a charmed life, until she begins experiencing horrifying hallucinations. When an apocalyptic event decimates her Louisiana hometown, Evie realizes her hallucinations were actually visions of the future-and they're still happening.

Fighting for her life and desperate for answers, she must turn to her wrong-side-of-the-bayou classmate: Jack Derveaux. But she can't do either alone.

With his mile-long rap sheet, wicked grin, and bad attitude, Jack is like no boy Evie has ever known. Even though he once scorned her and everything she represented, he agrees to protect Evie on her quest.

She knows she can't totally depend on Jack. If he ever cast that wicked grin her way, could she possibly resist him?

Who can Evie trust?

As Jack and Evie race to find the source of her visions, they meet others who have gotten the same call. An ancient prophesy is being played out, and Evie is not the only one with special powers.

A group of twenty-two teens has been chosen to re-enact the ultimate battle between good and evil. But it's not always clear who is on which side...


Okay, so I'm going to start off by stating that I very nearly gave up on this book.

I'm glad I didn't though because despite the fact that I found characters problematic and thought that some of the storytelling was a bit too slow for my liking, the execution of the story's concept was one that was incredibly well done.

While the book does fall prey to the Special Snowflake/Chosen One syndrome trope, Poison Princess proved to specifically be interesting because of its unique concept.

Think characters representing and embodying the different types of tarot cards - all who are gearing up for a major battle following a huge apocalyptic event - and you'll have an inkling of just what you can expect in this book.

Instead of another run of the mill work of dystopian fiction, what we get is a cleverly plotted story that builds up slowly towards an interesting twist at the end. 

I have to add that ever since I've read books like The Poison Diaries and The Poison Diaries: Nightshade, I've become a little obsessed with botany used as a device in fiction, and the way it's used in this book, is definitely one of the biggest reasons I was so pulled in by this novel.

Evie, is by all accounts a rich, spoiled and weak-willed brat who constantly rejects the idea of having supernatural abilities (this self-denial trope in YA really needs to stop ya'll. It gets a little tired if you spend most of the novel trying to hide your "true self"), while Jack is an absolute jerk, whom I in all honesty, can't say I like very much.

Caveman mentality complex is not an attractive quality. I'm not impressed with the thought-line that one has to have that kind of mentality to be considered a bad boy (because it is possible to be one and still be respectful), but I do hope to see some better characterisation in the rest of the books.

Having said that, I don't think the characters are completely irredeemable and contrary to what I said, I do like the fact that they're not perfect and that they have a lot to learn about each other on their quest to find answers.

Ultimately, Poison Princess kept me glued to its pages and I'm definitely going to be checking out the next book in the series. 

About Arcana Rising:
Losses mount and deadly new threats converge in this next action-packed tale of the Arcana Chronicles by #1 New York Times bestselling author Kresley Cole.

When the battle is done . . . 

The Emperor unleashes hell and annihilates an army, jeopardizing the future of mankind--but Circe strikes back.

The epic clash between them devastates the Arcana world and nearly kills Evie, separating her from her allies.

And all hope is lost . . . 

With Aric missing and no sign that Jack and Selena escaped Richter's reach, Evie turns more and more to the darkness lurking inside her.

Two Arcana emerge as game changers: one who could be her salvation, the other her worst nightmare.

Vengeance becomes everything.

To take on Richter, Evie must reunite with Death and mend their broken bond. But as she learns more about her role in the future--and her chilling past--will she become a monster like the Emperor? Or can Evie and her allies rise up from Richter's ashes, stronger than ever before?

Purchase a copy of the book by clicking on the image below.


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