Poison is a young-adult fantasy written by Chris Wooding. It is one of my all-time favourite YA books. The story manages to be fast-paced yet emotionally packed at the same time. Chris Wooding manages to provide consistent onsets of plot twists leading the reader into new territory.
Initially, you feel like you are reading a fantasy story, but Chris Wooding soon reveals this is a book about books. The settings and style can be likened to a classic, Brother’s Grimm fairy tale, making use of mystical creatures whilst creating new ones. There are some truly frightening scenes that made my spine tingle most notably the spider woman Asinastra.
The story follows the adventures of a 16-year-old girl named Poison who has a rebellious nature. It begins in Poison’s hometown of Gull when her baby sister is kidnapped by the ‘Phaerie folk’. Poison ventures out to find her sister again and ends up on a set of wild adventures in the process. These vary from liberating Peppercone from the terrifying bone witch and trying to retrieve a dagger from the horrific spider woman Asinastra. However, she soon comes to realize everybody’s destiny lies in the hands of the Heirophant.
What truly resonated with me was how Poison refused to adhere to the rules and fought to control her own fate. In doing so she came to learn the importance of telling her own story. Poison does not get the cliche happy ending, but you take away a sense of triumph for the character. It was refreshing to read a YA story that focused on a different narrative showing the readers how the importance of storytelling can save the day.
Poison’s symbolism and analogies made me re-read the book after completion. I would recommend the book to anyone unfamiliar with it.