This was a surprisingly good book. I have never read a book by Chris Wooding before, and although I had to slog through the first chapter, the book really picked up pace from that point on.
Poison lives in a swamp with her step-mother, father and baby sister. Poison is an outcast, she can never understand why the people of the swamp village put up with living the way they do, she can’t understand why someone doesn’t change things. When Poison’s sister is stolen by the Phaeries it is the last straw. Poison leaves the village with the local wraith-catcher determined to get her sister back.
This book starts out as a wonderfully Gothic and classic Brothers Grimm-like story. These is not your Disney fairy tale but the dark and scary fairy tale that stays true to a Grimm fairy tale. Initially you think this book is just a very well written story about a girl on a quest to save her sister. As the story progresses it ends up being about so much more. There is much more at stake than Poison’s sister. Poison quickly finds out that reality is not what it seems; and deeper questions come up as to who weaves the stories that are a person’s life.
This was a delightful book. The details are magnificent and the story is very creative. The plot weaves irony in and out of the story and you will say “huh, wow that was clever.” Poison is a strong character and the side characters are also intriguing. Wooding has developed an interesting world where humans are on the bottom of the food chain, except in one aspect.
This is not a book for the faint at heart. Although it is appropriate for preteens and young adults; it is a creepy and scary book. I would put the creepiness right up there with Joseph Delauney’s Spook’s Apprentice series. This is a wonderful young adult horror though.
I also have the book The Storm Thief by Wooding and I am very much looking forward to reading that book. I am definitely going to look into acquiring more of Wooding’s books. He is a great storyteller. I don’t think I have gotten such delight out of a fairy tale since I read Ironside by Holly Black. Although this tale is set in a different world; the characters are just as engrossing.