Friday, December 21, 2012

Review: Nightshade (The Poison Diaries #2)

Maryrose Wood with The Duchess of Northumberland. New York: Balzer + Bray, 2011. 280 pp.
Rating: Worthy + 8 Scoops

**Review contains minor spoilers from the first book**
Enter, once again, the lyrical world of Maryrose Wood. The enchanting poison garden sits, beckons, and waits ready to wreak havoc. 
At the end of The Poison Diaries, Jessamine awakens from her feverish condition without Weed at her bedside. Devastated by his sudden disappearance, Jessamine, no longer the blooming wildflower loses all faith in the world's beauty. Believing Weed lost hope in her recovery, she assumes the life of a healer devoid of feeling. Upon discovering that her father sacrificed her mother's life, as well as, risked her own in the name of research, Jessamine is determined to seek revenge.

Possessing knowledge of Weed's whereabouts, Oleander, The Prince of Poisons, promises to lead Jessamine to him in exchange for her assistance. Filled only with thoughts of finding her beloved Weed, Jessamine agrees to Oleander's malevolent tasks. Seduced by the power of the poisons, Jessamine succumbs to the intoxicating euphoria of their power. "For now I know who I am. I am Jessamine Luxton. Poison ran in my veins before I was born. I know how to cure. And I know how to kill. I have tried for so long to be good, but there is no need to fight my destiny anymore" (37).

Nightshade continues with the age-old battle of good versus evil, in addition to the allusion to the Garden of Eden. "Yes, I go to church on Sundays, now. I go alone, for my father worships no god but knowledge" (5). Failing to find solace among the once comforting forest, Weed abandons his disquieting, wilderness-gilded cage. Enshrouded in heartache, Jessamine and Weed embark on an individual journey to reunite with each other. However, the goal of reconnection for one soon becomes a mission to save and protect. We follow Jessamine and Weed as they each maneuver through unfamiliar terrain from London to Italy.

Jessamine's likability dropped to me in this book. I was disappointed in several of her decisions. Her character made a complete 360, even though she attempted to redeem herself during her encounter with Weed near the end of the book. Nightshade is darker and delves more into the gothic than its predecessor. Witch accusations, deception, mythology interspersion, and an interrupted romance creates a novel worth reading. I cannot wait for the last installment of the series!  

Favorite lines/passages:
  • "[...] I gasped and cried my way back to life, like a second birth" (3).
  • "A woman who knows how to heal will always be suspected of witchcraft in these parts [...] This is the north of England, after all; it is beautiful and raw here, and the land, the wind, and the sea have minds of their own.In the north, the new is suspect, and the old ways die hard. Like an apparition I glide silently into the chapel [...]" (6).
  • "All the locked gates in the world could not contain me. I enter when and where I wish. I hold the key to every poisoned heart" (10).
  • "There is a force of growth and a force of decay, locked in an eternal dance. The force of growth is called Eros, and it is love. And the force of decay is that which the Greeks called Thanatos, Death the Healer, who delivers living beings from their suffering. 'And what if the Prince of Decay should move on his own, and try to seize dominion of the earth? He can try, but he will fail, for alone he is barren. As the pistil requires the stamen, he needs a partner, an opposite. He must add a force of healing to his killing, a force of light to his darkness, a force of growth to his corrosion. Then his power is complete. Then the earth shakes, the mountains burst into fire and smoke, the great floods wash away even the strongest arks, and winter comes and does not leave" (190). 
  • "We find many tales of the underworld and demons that live in realms below the earth. [...] the one in which Hades, King of the dead, steals a human girl to be his bride. Her name is Persephone, and all of nature mourns her loss, for her mother is goddess of the harvest. As long as Hades keeps her in the underworld, the crops stop growing. The spring will never come" (203-204).
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