Wednesday, June 13, 2012

Gather Round the Poison Tree

Expected Publication: July 10th, 2012
Poison Tree
By: Amelia Atwater-Rhodes
Random House Children's Books
ISBN-13: 9780385737548

The rich stew of the author's creations—SingleEarth, vampires, shapeshifters, Tristes, the Bruja Guilds—are at full boil here in the story of two 20-ish young women trying to out run their very different pasts, and figure out where they fit in and who they might become. Each has landed in a more "normal" place, and each wonders if, like a tattoo that can't be covered up, they can ever really fit into "normal."


   The book starts off with a prologue that introduces our main characters all at once - then they are separated for half the book until reuniting and not always recognizing one another.  Sarik is a shapeshifting Tiger, who escaped her brutal clan after the murder of her human sister by their Father.  Christian and Alysia are a part of a Bruja Guild - assassins with a strange, complex code of honor.  Jason is a vampire once ensalved to his maker.  Just a few years later Sarik and Jason are part of SingleEarth, a humanitarian organization for supernatural creatures, Alysia is a mediator for SingleEarth on the run from a bounty by Bruja and all of them collide.  Then someone attempst to harm Alysia and she is forced back into the harsh world of the Bruja.  In trying to save two children of her kind, Sarik may have to face the one person she would do anything to forget - her Father.  And what will Christian do know that he is a Triste witch in training, after Alysia reveals her true reasons for leaving Bruja?  Can all of them survive the political and personal intrigues long enough to make it out alive?  I have read EVERY SINGLE BOOK that Amelia Atwater-Rhodes has ever written.  ALL OF THEM.  I loved each of them equally madly, up until the publication of All Just Glass, a sequel to Shattered Mirror written almost a decade after the first book.  It was truly subpar, not at ALL in keeping with the feel of the original book.  Then come an ARC for this book, which I decided to try because it's in her universe that I already know.  This book is NOT teen oriented like the summary would have you believe, despite being published by Random House's Children's Division.  It was all about adults and their complicated, messy, political intrigues.  Half the time I had no clue what the heck was even going on because of how convoluted the plot became.  In trying to tell overly complicated stories for four separate characters, Atwater-Rhodes succeeded in making them all two-dimensional and superficial.  I felt like I never truly got to know any of them, not even Sarik or Alysia who have most of the novel focus.  I felt like SingleEarth was debased by being used as a plot device instead of a living, breathing setting with it's own stories.  It just served to move the story elsewhere with it's presence.  I am truly disappointed by the fact that the author seems to have decided to "spice up" her writing when it was perfect the way it used to be.  In my honest opinion it's not an improvement.

VERDICT:  2/5  Stars

*I received an Advanced Reading E-book Copy from the publisher, via NetGalley. No money or favors were exchanged for this review. This book's expected publication date is July 10, 2012.*

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