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Poison Hardcover – September 1, 2005

4.7 out of 5 stars 27 customer reviews

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Editorial Reviews

From School Library Journal

Grade 7-10–Pale and thin, with long black hair and violet eyes, the sullen, moody girl named Poison is an appropriate heroine for this over-the-top gothic horror fantasy. The 16-year-old has never been out of the Black Marshes, one of the remote backwaters settled by humans in a Realm ruled by phaeries and inhabited by a cast of foul creatures that includes trolls, daemons, and a particularly nasty Spider Woman. When her baby sister is kidnapped and a changeling is left in her crib, Poison sets off for the Realm of Phaerie to rescue her. Her old friend and confidant, the elderly Fleet, who is acquainted with the world outside the Marshes, equips her with directions and money. But her greatest asset is her knowledge of old stories from the books in his library, for her quest leads her into adventures that seem to repeat familiar fairy tales. By the time she confronts Alethar, Lord of Phaerie, Poison has picked up an appealing cast of sidekicks who lighten the relentlessly horrific situations. As thunder and lightning crash, and rain pours down, the plot twists and turns toward an ending that may not surprise careful readers. Suffice to say that Poison is definitely the hero of her own story. Her destiny serves as a fitting metaphor for the self-absorbed alienation that accompanies adolescence. Poison's story should please crowds of horror fans who like their books fast-paced, darkly atmospheric, and melodramatic.–Margaret A. Chang, Massachusetts College of Liberal Arts, North Adams
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved.

From Booklist

Gr. 6-9. Although Wooding's second stand-alone youth fantasy has its share of violent deaths and other terrifying episodes, the title refers not to a deadly toxin but to its eponymous violet-eyed heroine. Quick-witted, fierce, and fed up with living in a community where residents view misfortune as inevitable, Poison fights back when her baby sister is spirited away by "phaeries." She faces obstacles both physical and mental. In one pivotal scene, she meets her own creator, an all-powerful storyteller whose revelations prompt ruminations about self-determination and the nature of reality. Some readers won't appreciate the shift from familiar quest-story action to quiet, more metaphysical upheavals, and Poison doesn't emerge triumphant in the way that many will expect. Still, Wooding's serpentine plotting and lush, imaginative writing have something to offer to both the more mature audience of The Haunting of Alaizabel Cray (2004) as well as slightly younger genre fans. Try this on readers who enjoyed Angie Sage's Magyk (2005). Jennifer Mattson
Copyright © American Library Association. All rights reserved
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Product Details

  • Age Range: 12 and up
  • Grade Level: 7 and up
  • Lexile Measure: 870L (What's this?)
  • Hardcover: 288 pages
  • Publisher: Orchard Books; 1st edition (September 1, 2005)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 0439755700
  • ISBN-13: 978-0439755702
  • Product Dimensions: 8.3 x 5.8 x 1 inches
  • Shipping Weight: 1 pounds
  • Average Customer Review: 4.7 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (27 customer reviews)
  • Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #1,361,922 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

Customer Reviews

Top Customer Reviews

Format: Paperback
I loved this book, it's a fairy tale, more-or-less, which I have a fondness for from the start, but it's also one of the fairy tales you feel is actually parodying them. Poison lives in a little village in the swamps, with her father and stepmother (who is not so much wicked, they just don't get along too well) when her little sister is kidnapped by the Phaeries. So, Poison sets out to rescue her, venturing into worlds the likes of which she's never imagined and facing intrigue and prejudice and witches that like to eat bones and then has her whole world turned upside down when a startling revelation is pushed upon her.

I found myself laughing with glee as several points to the plot materialised. Just brilliant and deserves better recognition then it appears to be getting. Read it in one sitting, more or less.
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Format: Paperback
Chris Wooding's ability to build suspense and keep the plot twists coming make "Poison" an engaging read and Wooding a memorable author. Wooding doesn't take himself too seriously and pokes fun at fairy tales while crafting an entertaining one himself.

Poison is an easy character for young adult readers to identify with because she feels out of place in her village and does not get along with her step-mother. Although she possesses some cliches (such as her violet eyes and refuge found in books), she's a proactive character with convincing motivations and relies on her wit to solve problems.

I gave this book four out of five stars because at times the writing seemed poorly polished and it made it a little more challenging for me to get into the novel. There was a point of view shift in an early chapter I found jarring, and at times I felt things were explained (such as over-described speaker attributes) that had already were clear through dialogue and action.
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By Rene' on February 9, 2016
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
This is one of my favorite books. I got it from the library and liked it so much I decided to buy myself one. BIG twist at the end I was not expecting! After reading Poison I read some other books by Chris Wooding (The Haunting of Alaizabel Cray, Storm Thief and Silver) and I liked them too but not as much as Poison.
Great book!
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
Poison has always been one of my favorite books. This story is about a girl named Poison living in a swamp village with her father, sister, and step-mother. Then one day her sister gets kidnapped by some evil beings from another realm. Poison then goes out to save her sister even though she has never left her home in the swamp before. She basically goes on this long, crazy, dangerous adventure just to find her baby sister and rescue her from some bad guys. And along the way she made a couple good, life-long friends.
Also i'd like to point out that this book isn't really for little kids unless they're strong minded. I'd say 13 and up is good. I first read it when i was 11.
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Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I read this book once in high school and really enjoyed it. 10 years later, I found it on Amazon and decided to give it another read. Still holds up well, the author's writing is simple and clear, paints a vivid picture of what's going on. The characters are fun and unique, I like their interactions with eachother. The last quarter of the book drags a little and the twist is pretty obvious, but overall I just like the world the author has created and I can definitely see myself reading this again in the future. This book is perfect for teens and young adults who love fantasy.
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Format: Paperback
I love books by Chris Wooding. Something about them is always a little off, a little dark, a little different. And Poison is no different.

I've seen this book described as "Gothic fantasy horror" and that evokes the right feeling. Poison's world is a dark and treacherous one, and her story of leaving her childhood home and venturing out into the big, bad world is a shade darker, and more imaginative, than most coming-of-age fantasy/fairy tales.

If you like things a little darker and a little different, this book's for you.
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Format: Paperback
The fantasy genre owes Chris Wooding a huge favour. In a genre awash with sad Tolkien knock-offs filled with magic swords, plucky heroes, wise wizards, princesses-in-distress and other tired clichés, Wooding continues to churn out exciting and intriguing stories that contain a rare force of imagination. Even though "Poison" is not quite as successful as some of his earlier efforts (especially "The Haunting of Alaizabel Cray") it certainly deserves credit for its skill, style, fast-pace and clever ideas.

Which is ironic considering I was rather concerned on reading the first chapter. A young girl named Poison lives in the gloomy swamplands of the Black Marshes, together with a woebegone father and a nasty stepmother. An outcast in her own village (she chose her own name, which should give you some idea of her attitude) she dreams of adventures outside her dismal existence. Despite Wooding's snappy prose and deft hand at forming such a grim atmosphere, I couldn't believe the predictability of the opening. Yet perhaps the typical fairytale beginning has a purpose...

It so happens that Poison's baby sister Azalea is kidnapped by the Phaeries, and Poison commits herself to the quest of tracking her down again, seeking out the Phaerie Lord himself to demand her sister be returned to her. Collecting a motley crew along the way, Poison finds her way into the Realm of Phaerie - there are some snags along the way of course, predominantly the horrifying Bone Witch, whose home serves as the gateway between the human and Phaerie worlds. But things get even stranger when she reaches the Realm of Phaerie, filled with rules and quirks (and breathtaking beauty) that baffles even the headstrong Poison.
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