Sunday, September 22, 2013

Poison by Bridget Zinn

Kyra use to be a member of the Master Trio of Potioners, along with Ned and Hal. They are the best poisonous weapons users in the kingdom but of the three, she was the best. Unfortunately for Kyra, she made a couple of mistakes. First, she fell in love with the well groomed and arrogant Hal but she ended up breaking his heart. Second, she betrayed every one she knew when she tried to murder the kingdom's princess and failed. Now she is on the run and being hunted by Ned and Hal.

At the age of twelve, Kyra was brought in by the Queen to be part of Princess Ariana's education. Born sickly, Ariana led a sheltered life. Kyra's job was to instruct the princess in the art of makeup since Krya excelled at cosmetic potions and charms. Neither girl wanted anything to do with the other. Since she was a first year apprentice, Kyra set out to complete a potion for homework. Ariana took an immediate interest in Kyra's work. She asked Kyra if there was a potion to get them out of the confines of the castle. Kyra set out to make one and Ariana was ecstatic that it worked. After one afternoon of fun, the girls' lessons quickly turned into secret adventures outside the castle. Soon, Ariana and Kyra turned into the best of friends and the adventures continued for five years. This is why everyone in the kingdom was shocked to learn that Kyra had tried to kill Princess Ariana and failed.

Desperate and in hiding in the three months since her failed assassination attempt on Princess Ariana's sixteenth birthday, Kyra cannot locate Ariana. She travels outside the town of Tippolow to find the King of Criminals, Arlo Abbaduto. Having turned down Arlo on two occasions for work, Krya is at his mercy. She offers to pay him with Potioners' coins and change their imprint to him. Potioners' coins always find their way back to their owner. In exchange, Arlo will give her a small Katzenheim pig, the best hunter he has, guaranteed to find the person she is looking for. Kyra isn't given a chance to protest and Arlo even provides her with an object belonging to the princess. He laughs as she leaves his hideout.

The next morning, the piglet leads Krya to a river. Not wanting to waste time looking for a bridge to cross, she decides to strip down to her undergarments, hold the piglet and her belongings above her head and cross. She is able to see the bottom. Just past half way, she hears a whistle and looks up to see a handsome boy a couple of years older than her. Asking him to leave, he says that he will stay in case she needs rescuing. Kyra then sees a wolf come out of the woods behind the boy. Soon the piglet notices it too and pokes Kyra in the eye with a hoof and she is caught in a swift river current. The handsome boy is able to rescue her after all. Back on shore, he introduces himself as Fred and the wolf is actually his dog, Langley. After getting her clothes back on and Fred naming her pig Rosie, Krya turns down the offer of a hot meal and departs.

Walking along, Kyra hears footsteps. She grabs Rosie and dives for cover with the aid of a cloaking potion. Turns out Dartagn, one of the king's elite soldiers who had trained Krya is right on top of her. She throws a rock and he turns his attention in the opposite direction and leaves. Kyra leaves once Dartagn is out of the area. She later hears footstep again and is almost discovered by Fred and Langley. They leave but soon she hears a scream. Running, Kyra comes across Fred being attacked by six goblins. He is knocked out and Kyra is able to knock several out and cha the rest away. She drags Fred to safety. When he wakes up, Fred repays her by cooking dinner and offering her a camp spot for the night. Tired of being alone and hungry, Kyra accepts against her better judgment.

The next morning, Krya leaves payment for Fred and sneaks off while he is still sleeping. She hasn't traveled far when Fred catches up to her. He is hurt and angry at Krya leaving. Realizing she actually cares what he thinks of her against her better judgment. She asks if they can continue to travel together knowing that eventually she will have to abandon him once more.

Why was Krya trying to kill her best friend, Princess Ariana? Why does she think her death would be the best thing for the kingdom? Can Rosie the pig really track the princess? Will Kyra attempt to assassinate the Ariana again? Is Kyra captured? Does Fred find out her true identity and what will he do with that knowledge? And will Krya be able to find a happily ever after?

Bridget Zinn was a writer and librarian who unfortunately died two years before the publication of her only book, Poison.

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