Author: Lan Chan
Genre: Science Fiction, Dystopian, Young Adult, Fantasy
Rating: 5 Stars
Since the night her mother was murdered, sixteen-year-old Rory Gray has known one truth: There are no good Seeders.
In post-apocalyptic Australia, the scientists known as Seeders have built a Citadel surrounded by food-producing regions and populated with refugees from the wars and famine. To maintain their control, the Seeders poisoned the land and outlawed the saving of seeds.
It’s been six years since Rory graced the Seeders’ circus stage as the Wind Dancer and still the scars on her body haven’t healed. Even worse are the scars on her heart, left by a Seeder boy who promised to protect her.
Now the Seeders are withholding supplies from Rory’s region for perceived disobedience. Utilising the Wanderer knowledge she received from her mother, Rory must journey to the Citadel through uninhabitable terrain to plead for mercy.
However, the Citadel isn’t as Rory remembered. The chief plant geneticist is dying and rumours fly that the store of viable seed is dwindling. The Seeders are desperate to find a seed bank they believe Rory can locate, and they will stop at nothing to get it.
To defy the Seeders means death. But Rory has been close to death before–this time she’s learned the value of poison.
WARNING – SPOILERS MAYE ENSUE BEYOND THIS POINT – REVIEW BELOW
I thoroughly enjoyed Poison by Lan Chan. The first book in the series, and my first foray into Lan Chan’s writing, I wasn’t sure what I was getting into when I picked up this book, but I soon discovered the amazing action-packed adventure of Aurora Gray.
As far as the technical side of the narrative is concerned, the book was extremely well written. I ran into no more than two or three errors in the entire book (which is pretty damn good considering this was an ARC from NetGalley). The sentences were well structured and easy to follow, the narrative kept a steady, fast pace, and I didn’t stumble over awkward phrases, tense, or POV problems. Setting wise, Poison forayed into a unique dystopian world, set in a far future Australia. The world building was easy to pick up and detailed in a way that seemed expansive without bogging me down with too much terminology or explanations. I was engaged with the story from the very beginning and had trouble putting it down. It was that good.
The characters were both complicated and unique, and though some of them weren’t particularly nice, I can’t pick out any that bothered me or irritated me in any way. I liked even the characters who avidly worked to thwart Aurora in her quest to reach and then survive the Citadel. I think out of all the characters, though, Aiden and Aurora were definitely my favorite. There was a chemistry between them both as rivals, friends, potential lovers, and enemies that I ate up with a spoon. Even when they were bickering I loved the dynamics of their relationship—and honestly, I’m still not sure which side Aiden stands on… Aurora’s, or the Seeders.
Overall, I really enjoyed the book and I’m extremely glad that I picked it up on a whim. It was everything I love about YA Dystopians without any overly whiny characters. If you’re looking for an action-packed YA Dystopian that’s heavily situated in fantasy and world building (and NOT zombies for once), I’d highly recommend that you give this book a try. It isn’t heavy in romance, so if you’re looking for a book with more story and less teenage angst, this may be the book for you. I know I’ll definitely be heading on into the rest of the series. This one is going on my keeper shelf.