Wednesday, November 17, 2010

REVIEW: The Poison Diaries

 The Poison Diaries
by The Duchess of Northumberland
Illustrations by Colin Stimpson

Weed is an orphan, taken in by the local Apothocary and taught the ways of medicine. One day, a world of poison plants is revealed to him... but... what's this? The plants can talk... and boy-oh-boy do they have things to say.

Character Likability:
Weed: Weed is... a bit... er, touched in the head. He's not quite right, and as the book progresses, you see as much. He's an interesting, dark character.
The Plants: Wicked, evil and with one track minds... and yet, not wicked and evil because all they are truly doing is utilizing their own defense mechanisms. Truly they are hellbent against humans though... and truly revel in the demise of them.
The Apothocary: Awful man. He's meant to be, though, so he's a good character.
Marigold: An Innocent, and pretty vague... she shows up in passing and is what roots Weed to a life of non-evil.

Quality of Writing:
Very interesting story... at times, I felt the story was a little jumpy... the main character waffling between good and bad without any really good reason... but overall it was cohesive and fast flowing.

A very dark, disturbing ending. I enjoy dark and disturbing, so I liked it, but I'm not sure this ending, or this book would be something everyone can handle. If you are disturbed by gore, horrible deaths, and them being both described and illustrated... I would recommend you pass on this book all together.

Essentially, this is the story of a young boy slowly going mad. It's dark, disturbing, filled with awful deaths, horrible murders and the worst side of humanity. *I* found it fascinating... I especially found it fascinating that I found this book in the Children's section. It has detailed diagrams of VERY poisonous plants... diagrams that proceed to point out which parts are the poisonous ones, and how to use them to kill people. It also has vivid descriptions of how the poisons act on the body, and in what horrible ways they will make you die. Interestingly, it also tells you how they are used medicinally.
In this story, Weed (the boy) talks to the plants, and the book itself is broken down into short stories based on which plant he's talking to. Each plant is hilarious, and has it's own distinct personality... and tells Weed some terrible story of how it helped kill someone. Often it is accompanied by very graphic illustrations (I bought the book because I opened up to this page randomly:

 and wondering just what kind of kids book this was!!)  Turns out, its a book I'm not sure I'd ever give to an actual child... and a book that might possibly be rather dangerous in the hands of most adults. I personally think this book is dark, twisted, and fantastic... but it most certainly isn't for those with weak stomachs or low tolerance for *really* horrible things happening.

Believability of World:
It seems to be set in 'olden days' ... and I'm not sure how hard it is today to track some of these poisons.

This book is beautiful. Hands down one of the prettiest books I've seen in a while, despite its content. The illustrator is a Disney artist who has worked on things like The Hunchback of Notre Dame, The Emperor's New Groove and Tinkerbell. The illustrations are top-notch and seriously beautiful, even when they're absolutely disturbing.

Overall Grade: A (SERIOUSLY, if you don't like graphic violence, don't read this book. It depicts, as you can see, vomiting and horrible death, and describes them vividly in the text) 


  1. THis book sounds Awesome!!! I've personally always loved creepy pictures (Edward Gorey <3 ) and people going mad. And how can you go wrong with poison talking plants. Kind of reminds me of that one Goosebumbs book where the dad turns into the plant HAHA!

  2. Have you seen this?

  3. Thanks Helen! That site is amazing!!

  4. Yes, this is definitely not a book for me...thanks for the forewarning :)

  5. Interesting! I wouldn't pick this as a book for kids either. Have you read the young adult book, The Poison Diaries by Maryrose Wood and The Duchess of Northumberland? Btw...I'm having a Harry Potter giveaway.

  6. Yes! I really want to read this! The illustration that you showed was gorgeous (even if it was of people vomiting...). I can think of quite a few kids who would really get into this book :)

  7. Oh. My. Goodness. That is absolutely frightening. A few years ago a cookbook was recalled because it recommended putting a sprig of, I think, lily of the valley on it. Turned out the flower was poisonous. And now they have a book giving your kids instructions on how to poison other kids. Bizarre.
    Fangs, Wands and Fairy Dust
    twitter: @fangswandsfairy

  8. Pleasant day to you,

    Oh, I have to find this book. Ah, perhaps for me and not the boys ;)

    I hope you have an extremely wonderful and thankful day no matter how you spend it.

    Please do stop by anytime for a spot of tea & currently I have a giveaway as well and sign up for a new 2011 reading challenge if you find it worthy.

    Happy Turkey Day,
    Mad Scientist

  9. Nice Review:) I love the darkness of this one. I think it is something that is for me :)

    I have an award, for you at my blog.

    I'm sorry if you don't accept awards.

    I do love your blog so.

    Mad Scientist.