Meet fifteen-year-old Wynter Moorehawke – Protector Lady, qualified girl apprentice in a man’s trade, former King’s Cat Keeper who returns home after a five-year sojourn in the bleak Northlands. All has changed in her absence.
Wynter is forced to make a terrible choice: stay and bow to the King’s will, or abandon her ailing father and join her friend Razi and the mysterious Christopher Garron in their efforts to restore the fragile kingdom to its former stability.
But this changed kingdom is a dangerous place, where all resistance is brutally suppressed and the trio constantly risk assassination, torture or imprisonment…
At last, something in the YA fantasy genre that doesn’t need vampires or werewolves, magic or the paranormal to make an interesting read. The Poison Throne is debut novel from Irish author Celine Kiernan is one novel that I couldn’t put down.
Born to the commoners class, girl apprentice in the ‘man’s’ trade of carpentry and friend to the sons of the King, Wynter is no ordinary girl. For five years Wynter and her father had been confined to the Northlands, cut off from everything they know. So when they finally are ordered to return to the South, Wynter can’t wait to see her friends again, to live the life that she knows best.
Yet as they travel south, not all is as it seems. And when they arrive at the castle itself things are defiantly not the way they should be. What was once the most prosperous, fair, just and right kingdom seems to be descending into chaos and destruction – King Jonathon at the heart. The once benevolent ruler seems to have completely abandoned the people, no longer listening to their wishes, letting the state run into disarray and himself to be consumed by madness.
So it would seem.
In a court where one wrong step could have you fighting for your life, Wynter must navigate the difficult waters as the only daughter of the Protector Lord. Particularly when that Lord is your father and is deathly ill, so ill that even moving around the castle can become so difficult that he must rely of others to assist him.
Razi, the bastard son and illegitimate heir of the king is desperate to continue his doctor’s training yet is being forced into the position of crown prince. A position that not only does Razi not want, but that the people will not accept him in. Especially when the true heir Alberon is still alive despite Jonathon’s every effort to erase him from history. Alberon who used to be Wynter’s best friend and the beloved son of the King.
Wynter is thrown into the midst of a battle for power. A battle that could see one of her two best friends dead. Or both if she isn’t careful. And only two things are certain. Alberon must be found, or the lives of more than just her best friends and father could be in danger…
The Poison Throne is by far, one of the best young adult fantasy books I have read in a long time. From the beginning, Kiernan has created a world so complete and rich, that it automatically pulls you into the story. Atmospheric and intriguing, The Poison Throne evokes and enchanting and convincing alternate universe. A universe full of love, treachery, jealousy, tenderness, war, wisdom and court life. High fantasy at its best, The Poison Throne is an engaging and dynamic read that left me wanting for more, even after the last page.
Publication date: Ireland 2008, Australia 2009
Teaser quote: Slowly Christopher lowered himself to the ground and lifted his strange knife from his belt. Wynter immediately unsheathed her dagger and crouched, ready to fight or flee…