by Wooding, Chris

When her sister is snatched by Phaeries, hard-minded and strong-willed Poison puts her fears aside and, along with her devoted friends, sets out to confront the Phaerie Lord in order to get her back-facing great dangers and strange encounters all along the way.

Chris Wooding began writing at the age of 16, and his first novel Crashing was published when he was 19. Since that time, he's written dozens of novels in several genres, notably the award-winning The Haunting of Alaizabel Cray; Poison; Storm Thief; the Malice series; and the graphic novel, Pandemonium.

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). ((Reviewed August 2005)) Copyright 2005 Booklist Reviews.

In this exciting fantasy by the author of The Haunting of Alaizabel Cray (2004), the kidnapping of her sister propels a teenaged girl out of her rural village determined to bring the baby back. On the day she selected an adult name, teenaged Foxglove chose Poison to spite her stepmother-an indication of the cranky, impatient and often rude hero she is. Given the dangers she faces on her quest, her stubborn grit turns from the drawback it was at home into an asset. As she journeys, Poison attracts helpers: a middle-aged carter, a dithery housemaid and an intelligent cat. This fantasy, set in various realms-human (lowest in the pecking order), phaerie and arachnid-utilizes many fantasy and folkloric tropes in original and often amusing ways. The story moves forward at a quick pace; characterization and world-building add to the strength of the gripping plot, while an ambivalent but satisfying resolution tops off a compelling read. Sure to appeal to fans of Holly Black and Charles de Lint, as well as other writers of dark fantasy. (Fiction. 13+) Copyright Kirkus 2005 Kirkus/BPI Communications. All rights reserved.

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