Series: Kingdom on Fire #2
Published by Random House Books for Young Readers on September 19, 2017
Genres: Fantasy, Historical, Young Adult
Sexual Content: Kissing
Reviewed by: Kate
The magicians want her to lead. The sorcerers want her to lie. The demons want her blood. Henrietta wants to save the one she loves. But will his dark magic be her undoing?
Henrietta doesn’t need a prophecy to know that she’s in danger. She came to London to be named the chosen one, the first female sorcerer in centuries, the one who would defeat the bloodthirsty Ancients. Instead, she discovered a city ruled by secrets. And the biggest secret of all: Henrietta is not the chosen one.
Still, she must play the role in order to keep herself and Rook, her best friend and childhood love, safe. But can she truly save him? The poison in Rook’s system is transforming him into something monstrous as he begins to master dark powers of his own.
So when Henrietta finds a clue to the Ancients’ past that could turn the tide of the war, she persuades Blackwood, the mysterious Earl of Sorrow-Fell, to travel up the coast to seek out strange new weapons. And Magnus, the brave, reckless flirt who wants to win back her favor, is assigned to their mission. Together, they will face monsters, meet powerful new allies, and uncover the most devastating weapon of all: the truth.
The description for A POISON DARK AND DROWNING covers what happens in maybe the first quarter of the book - and it's better that you don't know what happens later. Like the first installment in the Kingdom on Fire series, this book is full of emotional ups and downs that left me reeling (in a good way) and desperate for more.
One of my favorite things about this series is that Cluess has written such multi-dimensional characters to inhabit her world. Nearly every character we spend any significant time with has multiple sides to them and takes actions that aren't always expected. There isn't a clear delineation of who is "bad" and who is "good" (other than the monsters, I suppose), instead, we get varying degrees of "on Henrietta's side." Henrietta continues to be a strong heroine, who may make some rash or ill-thought out decisions, but the motivations behind her decision making is clear and makes sense with her personality.
My one complaint is a few piddly plot holes that left me curious after the fact. In the moment however, everything came together beautifully. A POISON DARK AND DROWNING is one of those books that, once you really start to get into the meaty part of the book, it is extremely hard to put down. A compelling read, all around.
One thing that some readers might be annoyed with is the development of a love triangle around Henrietta. Though it didn't bother me, because of Henrietta's feelings, I know multiple love interests can detract from the enjoyment of a book for some readers, so I thought it fair to include it in my review.
With the monsters continuing to be as terrifying as ever, a fascinating world that expands in this book, and nuanced characters, A POISON DARK AND DROWNING is an excellent follow-up to A SHADOW BRIGHT AND BURNING. I cannot wait to see what happens next to Henrietta.Series Titles:
- A Shadow Bright and Burning - 5/5
- A Poison Dark and Drowning
- For another historical fiction featuring a strong female lead, try BLOOD ROSE REBELLION by Rosalyn Eves.