Monday, 30 May 2016

Review: A Fierce and Subtle Poison by Samantha Mabry

A Fierce and Subtle Poison
By Samantha Mabry
Publisher: Algonquin Young Readers
Format: Hardcover
Pages: 288
Release Date: April 12th, 2016
Purchase: [Chapters/Indigo] [Amazon]
Everyone knows the legends about the cursed girl--Isabel, the one the señoras whisper about. They say she has green skin and grass for hair, and she feeds on the poisonous plants that fill her family’s Caribbean island garden. Some say she can grant wishes; some say her touch can kill.

Seventeen-year-old Lucas lives on the mainland most of the year but spends summers with his hotel-developer father in Puerto Rico. He’s grown up hearing stories about the cursed girl, and he wants to believe in Isabel and her magic. When letters from Isabel begin mysteriously appearing in his room the same day his new girlfriend disappears, Lucas turns to Isabel for answers--and finds himself lured into her strange and enchanted world. But time is running out for the girl filled with poison, and the more entangled Lucas becomes with Isabel, the less certain he is of escaping with his own life.

When I first came across A Fierce and Subtle Poison by Samantha Mabry, her first published novel, I was instantly sold! Gorgeous cover aside, the entire premise is enchanting and mesmerizing! Taking place in Puerto Rico, A Fierce and Subtle Poison focuses on the story of Lucas, a seventeen year old boy who grew up on the crazy old tales of the senoras in his neighborhood. According to them, there is a tale of a cursed girl who's skin is literal poison and whom can also grant wishes. When Lucas' new girlfriend disappears, he turns to the cursed girl for help.

"Some say she grants wishes. Some say her touch kills. One boy is drawn into her enchanted world."

Samantha Mabry's debut was so much more than I had expected. I unfairly assumed it would be a quick, fluffy read featuring romance and maybe a hint of action. A Fierce and Subtle Poison was not that. It was a story rich with heritage, history, folklore, and even possessed a bit of magic realism that could easily twist you around one corner or the next. It was quite a surprise! Furthermore, although Lucas was a wonderful character, I found myself being most enticed by the cursed girl and her tale. In fact, I would have loved to have read more dialogue from her!

"Everything that I could think to compare her to was bleak. Mostly, it had to do with those eyes of hers: dark on dark. Raven black ringed with deep purple. Hard like bricks."

Unique, diverse, and utterly magical, A Fierce and Subtle Poison is a perfect read and I highly recommend readers give it a try!

4 / 5 Cupcakes

This title was provided to the blogger by the publisher/author in exchange for an honest review. No payment was received/accept in exchange for this review/post. The blogger requests that this review not be reposted or edited with the blogger's permission. The thoughts and words expressed in this review/post are explicitly the blogger's.


  1. Bookish Willow30 May 2016 at 10:05

    Excellent Review :)

  2. I've been looking for more diverse and unique YA books. This one sounds like it's right up my alley. Thanks!

  3. What a pretty cover!
    Sounds like a great book too. Thanks for reviewing!

  4. Oh I'll def. be checking this out!

  5. Sounds promising