Title: The Poison Throne
Author: Celine Kiernan
Genre: Historical Fantasy
Notes: A touch of religion based within, but shockingly no preaching or churches mentioned at all.
Rated: 5/5 stars!
Book Publisher: Hatchette Book Group/Orbit Books
Book Provider: Local Secondhand Bookstore
This book swept me away almost instantly. It was a perfect read for Halloween as well, with talking cats and ghosts throughout! It’s historical fantasy, and a bit more historical than fantasy, but it’s characters were so realistic I felt as though I was standing there and watching it all happen before my eyes, what they were all going through.
This book is not for the faint of heart, if you’re easily depressed, don’t like to read graphic depictions of torture, and ghosts who are violent and dangerous as well as friendly and helpful.
The Poison Throne is book one of three, which I got all three books at the bookstore a steal of $15 dollars, when on Amazon they’d have been around $25 I think. I could be wrong, but I know I got them for cheap, and getting an entire new (to me) trilogy in excellent condition is rare, so I treated myself because who can resist talking cats and ghosts as part of the plot?
The main character, Wynter Moorehawke, is trying to get her father to be better, even as his ailing takes place during a great time of strife as they return home from a long journey to find all the cats murdered, the ghosts being ignored, and the people afraid of their King. King Jonathan is someone who is all fearing, and powerful. His son, Razi, is her brother though not by blood. He has a new friend called Christopher, and at first the two outright hate one another.
The plot sweeps through relentlessly, fast and hurried-desperation against all odds, and horrible things happening in almost every chapter. There are assassination attempts-on both the King and Razi. There are love interests, though those are sidelined for more important things. Wynter is also the first female apprentice carpenter and has to deal with those issues as well. She wears mens pants, she’s excellent at hunting, and she can build things as well as her father.
But all that doesn’t matter, because the King is determined to see Razi on the throne, even as he’s making sure that Razi’s brother-who is apparently the true heir-is all but forgotten.
The plot thickens, there’s some startling revelations midway through the book, and the climax builds to an all time high. All too soon I reached the point of the book where I knew there wasn’t going to be enough chapters left to deal with the outcome and resolution, and am thankful that I got the remaining two books in the series, because while it leaves on a peaceful (kind of) ending, it also leaves it wide open for the second book, with the characters seperated and Wynter desperate and aching to return home even though danger lingers there at every corner.
If you’re looking for a spooky halloween read, this is kind of weak for that, despite the epic ghost scene towards the end of the book. But if you like ghosts and talking cats for your halloween selection, then I recommend that you get this one. It’s well worth reading either way.
Five stars for a job well done, and I am off to add the next two to my future reading pile of books!
(Review also on Goodreads)