Mistress Potioneer: A Quirky *Original* Heroine

*Disclaimer: This post does include a synopsis of the book, but no major information is given away. And, of course, you should take my opinions with a grain of salt. I don’t pretend to be the end all, be all for YA books. This is just what I thought of the book.

Is there anything worse than finishing a novel, realizing that you may have just found an amazingly talented author – maybe even one of your new favorite authors, and then realizing that they’ve passed away?

Yes, maybe the fact that my first thought when I found that out was, You mean I’ll never be able to read the sequel?, instead of, Wow, that’s awful. I’m so sorry for her family’s loss.

And yet, the only way that Bridget Zinn’s countless fans can really do to support her memory is to appreciate her work. She had a book in her when she was diagnosed with cancer. She got the book out, but she never saw it published. To me, that’s amazing and heart wrenching. And so I want to throw my thoughts and prayers in with the rest of her fans today.


Now on to business…

The score I have to give this book has nothing to do with the author and everything to do with the book……9! My B&N pile finally produced a 9! Zinn’s world is awesome! I would sign the contract to write the screenplay for this book in a heartbeat if I could, or pull my savings with other fans in order to get any surviving notes for a sequel.

I don’t even know where to begin with Poison.

Maybe with the reason why I didn’t give it a perfect 10. There was one scene that just put a wrench in the adrenaline coursing through the tale. Kyra came face to face with the person she was pursuing, someone she believed to be highly dangerous, and then, without her even trying to reach for her weapons, she just accepts that her target isn’t a threat anymore. I just couldn’t believe that the one moment I had been looking forward to from the first chapter was just so rushed and non-actiony.

Zinn quickly recovered, however, and her heroine was soon rushed back into the thick of danger with her new ally. Two chapters later, I’d forgotten all about that wrench.

That’s why I can stand here now and champion Kyra as a different heroine, a quirky heroine. Zinn’s book reminds me of one of my cherished childhood books: Once Upon a Marigold by Jean Farris. Sadly, I haven’t been able to procure a copy of Farris’ book, but Zinn’s book is already up on my shelf.

Young Kyra, the mistress potioneer, is faced with an impossible task. She has to save the kingdom by tracking down and killing her best friend, the princess, before she destroys the kingdom. The problem is that no one believes her after her first failed assassination attempt. Now all she has left is her bag full of potions, her determination…and her magical pet pig.

Zinn’s website claims that she wanted to see a YA book that was filled with happiness and laughter, and that’s exactly what Potions is all about. In a shelf full of dystopian novels, Poison shines like a beam of sunshine.

A truly original beam of sunshine I might add. I would really like to see master potioneers grow in today’s pop culture. Who would have ever thought that all a girl needed to survive was a bag full of potions? Kyra’s allies are as multi-layered, and origional, as she is and they each come with their own secrets, but none are formidible as this one teenage girl. It’s been so long since I’ve seen a book that I thought really added to the pool of author’s tricks rather than stole from it. This is one of those books ❤ .

Also, Zinn’s storytelling style is something to be admired. She starts her story in medias res–in the middle of Kyra’s story–and then slowly works in her backstory in brief flashes of memory as the would-be assassin moves forward. No memory or detail, no matter how silly, feels out of place when all is said and done. After the final surprises and memories are doled out, the story arc has come full circle. It’s truly masterful.

This book will literally keep you on the edge of your seat, but it will give you laughter instead of nightmares.

So there’s nothing left but to commend this book to y’all one more time and do my SHELF SHELF SHELF Happy dance…only slightly tainted due to the fact that I will never see a sequel.

P.S. I’m working on a trilogy right now that I recently heard called the “new Harry Potter.” I wish people would stop saying that. Let Harry Potter be Harry Potter and just start looking for the new bestselling YA book. I would normally just nod my head and walk on, but I remember this book being so popular at my library that even though I had access to all the books behind the desk, I was never able to get my hands on the first book in the series long enough to check it out. I’m not going to tell you what it is until I finish all three books…and I’ve hit snag in the road since the second book is already checked out. Of course I have something sitting by my bedside table for those moments I just need to read, but I’m going to save my next review for this new series. Here’s hoping it’s worth the wait! 😉 (If someone can guess what it is, I’ll cave quite easily.)

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