As the story moves from present to past and back, it reveals that the failed assassination attempt earned Kyra the infamous, albeit inaccurate, title of "Princess Killer." Although a fugitive, Kyra does not come across as evil despite her quest, using her potions as her weapons, especially her sleeping potion, her main form of defense. Time is running out, and in order to find the princess, Kyra in desperation asks the despised criminal Arlo, a man who hates her, for help. As a result, in an unexpected twist of fate, Kyra ends up with an unusual and helpful sidekick: Rosie, an adorable small, pink pig. Rosie is a person-sniffing pig, who can hopefully help her find and kill the princess, before it is too late, and evil takes over the kingdom--a task that Kyra believes is up to her alone to achieve.
Before long Kyra and Rosie come across a good-looking boy, Fred, and his dog, Langley. Yes, Fred is the romantic interest and Kyra’s source of agony and self-doubt. Zinn saves Kyra from overt social ineptness, meshing Kyra's strong, independent driven side with the awkwardness and insecurities of a teenager, creating realistic layers to Kyra’s personality. But, not all is teen angst. Humor plays a big part in keeping the story light and charming, when for example Kyra finds herself in ridiculous situations, like crossing a river in lacy underwear with a pig on her head! And Kyra and Fred's interactions are dynamic, witty, fun-filled and often zany, with repeated puns like mentions of ladies' underthings growing from bushes. Twists and discoveries pop up, and revelations come forward and explain the events leading up to the start of the story.
The story eventually reveals that Kyra is a witch who is trying to deny her power, and has visions of a scarlet river of blood, involving the princess that she is trying to kill, her former friend. The witty dialog and great mix of literary and familiar fantasy elements of kingdoms-in-peril, princesses, goblins, invisibility spells, potions, gypsies, witches and magic, as well as the confusion of young romance, shape Poison into a richly woven story of adventure, without making it excessively dark.
In Poison, Zinn created a fascinating world. The addition of the Master Trio of Potioners and their value to the kingdom, the contrast between the good and bad witches, the gypsies and even Rosie, the pet who wasn’t, create multiple layers of reality. It all adds up to an exciting read which reads and feels like a fairy tale.
This is a stand-alone novel.
The author Bridget Zinn was a writer, librarian, and teen literature enthusiast. Bridget Zinn passed away shortly after finishing Poison.