Kresley Cole’s Immortals After Dark series is one of my favourite series with almost every one of its books sitting on my favourites shelf. So I naturally assumed that The Poison Princess would be equally as adored. Right?
Not so much.
Let’s get what I didn’t like about this story out of the way first and that can be summed up as; Jackson Deveaux. What an arrogant, condescending asshole with not a single redeeming feature about him. A supposed bad Cajun boy from the wrong side of the levee he actually just turned out to be an alcoholic eighteen year old whose only future involved a lengthy jail term had the world not come to an end in a ‘flash’.
Now Kresley Cole can write bad boys. Almost everyone of her males in her Immortals After Dark series is one to a greater or lesser extent but without fail they all have a quality that makes me like them despite not actually wanting to. Whilst Jackson might be a good kisser, that’s not enough for me.
Okay, so that’s the negativity out of the way. I liked Evangaline ‘Evie’ Greene. I enjoyed the chapters devoted to her life at school before the apocalypse and especially liked her best friend, Mel, who reminded a lot of Regin, one of the Valkyrie from the IAD series. She was immensely likeable and had a great attitude. I really, really hope that we get to see her but it’s unlikely.
I also found the premise of the story fascinating. I will admit that I know nothing about Tarot but even I have heard of the death card and so to have these cards as real flesh and blood people replete with the powers of their cards is interesting. However, before the end of the world Evie thought she was going made experiencing visions and hearing voices and her grandmother was encouraging her before she was arrested for abducting young Evie. Imagine Evie’s shock then when she finds out that she is The Empress from the Tarot deck and her grandmother was right all along! Cue Evie’s flight across the post-apocalyptic southern US to find her grandmother and to learn more about herself and her powers.
Along the way, she meets up with other ‘cards’; Selena ‘The Moon’, Matthew ‘The Fool’ and Finn ‘The Magician’ each of whom already seems to learned what that are capable of. But not all of the cards are friendly. Evie’s foes include Death, the Alchemist and the Red Witch who seems to be worryingly familiar.
Cole’s painting of the world after the Flash, as its end is known, really is a bleak place. If the environment doesn’t kill you with its lack of water and food, the survivors who range from militia to cannibals to humans who have become zombies or ‘bagmen’ will certainly try to. Whilst other reviews have commented on why Evie’s life prior to the Flash is shown, I think it serves a purpose in highlighting what she’s lost and given that Evie is not yet eighteen, she copes remarkably well in spite of being lumbered with an ass named Jackson.
So there is a lot to like about the start of The Arcana Series and would have had a higher rating that merely ‘liked it’ had it not been for the male lead. Endless Knight, the next book is due in a mere six months at time of writing. I look forward to it.