Audiobook Review: Poison Princess by Kresley Cole

Posted September 22, 2014 by Carmel in Carmel, Reviews, Young Adult / 110 Comments

Audiobook Review: Poison Princess by Kresley Cole
Poison Princess by Kresley Cole
Narrator: Emma Galvin, Keith Nobbs
Series: The Arcana Chronicles #1
Published by Simon and Schuster
Published on: October 2, 2012
Genres: Young Adult
Length: 12 hrs & 36 mins
Format: Audiobook
Source: Purchased
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#1 New York Times bestselling author Kresley Cole introduces The Arcana Chronicles, post-apocalyptic tales filled with riveting action, the dark mysticism of Tarot cards, and breathtaking romance.

She could save the world—or destroy it.


Sixteen year old Evangeline “Evie” Greene leads a charmed life—until she begins experiencing horrifying hallucinations. When an apocalyptic event decimates her Louisiana hometown, killing everyone she loves, Evie realizes her hallucinations were actually visions of the future—and they’re still happening. Fighting for her life and desperate for answers, she must turn to her wrong-side-of-the-bayou classmate: Jack Deveaux.

But she can’t do either alone.

With his mile-long rap sheet, wicked grin, and bad attitude, Jack is like no boy Evie has ever known. Even though he once scorned her and everything she represented, he agrees to protect Evie on her quest. She knows she can’t totally trust Jack. If he ever cast that wicked grin her way, could she possibly resist him?

Who can Evie trust?

As Jack and Evie race to find the source of her visions, they meet others who have gotten the same call. An ancient prophesy is being played out, and Evie is not the only one with special powers. A group of teens has been chosen to reenact the ultimate battle between good and evil. But it’s not always clear who is on which side…

In Poison Princess, New York Times bestselling author Kresley Cole introduces a dark and intriguing world, full of unspeakable danger and irresistible romance.


topread Dystopia Rocked-my-world

This was my first Kresley Cole book—I know, I know, someone slap me! Her IMMORTALS AFTER DARK series has been on my radar for a while now thanks to Melanie from Hot Listens who reminds me DAILY that it features sexy Scottish werewolves (my kryptonite), but then Jennifer from The Book Nympho started getting on my case about THE ARCANA CHRONICLES in audio, and two installments is a little more manageable than fourteen (sorry Mel!). After having previously listened to, and enjoyed Emma Galvin’s narration of SINNER by Maggie Stiefvater; I decided that it was about time to scratch another author off my must-read list. Love doesn’t even begin to describe what I felt after finishing POISON PRINCESS—it was dark, imaginative, and beautifully written. Ooh, and did I mention that this was my first Young Adult Dystopian? I’m now completely sold on this genre, or at least Cole’s version of it, and couldn’t stop myself from getting my ENDLESS KNIGHT one-click on.

YA and I are far from being BFF’s, so after an extremely captivating opening chapter, I was rather upset when the high school drama, and love triangle kicked in—cue eye roll. The story is told from Evie’s perspective, but she’s relaying past events to a character named Arthur, so there’s also a bit of time jumping going on. Fortunately, the teen angst was short lived, because then the Flash (apocalypse) hits and Greene’s seemingly mad visions become reality. The world building was indescribably fantastic with bagmen, black cats, slavers, carnivores, and of course, the Arcana all coming out of the woodwork. I loved the complex Tarot mythology, end-of-days tone, and dog-eat-dog ruthlessness featured in this novel. It had a genuine Armageddon feel to it, and I really liked how different it was compared to my usual reads.

Evie wasn’t the easiest character to like; in the beginning I found her naivety and softness annoying. I think that perhaps my THE WALKING DEAD addiction may have somewhat skewed my view of peeps’ survival instincts. I had a difficult time grasping why she wanted to maintain a sense of propriety by refusing to bunk with Jackson (strength in numbers, anyone?), insisting to bury her dead when trouble was on the horizon, and stupidly thinking she could make it on her own. I just wanted to shake her, and yell “run, you fool!” Deveaux however, was incredible; some people are just born to fight zombies, and this guy is a survivalist’s dream. In the real world he was a bad boy, criminal, but after the Flash he became Evie’s saviour. I also really enjoyed learning about the other Arcana including Selena, Matthew, and Finn.

I can’t fault Emma Galvin’s delivery; she succeeded in capturing the Dystopian atmosphere of THE ARCANA CHRONICLES universe, and I loved all of her character voices. I did however have a couple of complaints about this audiobook. For one, Jackson speaks French regularly throughout the narrative, and I realize the Cajun version isn’t quite what I’m used to, but some of the pronunciations were way off, even if the words didn’t have exactly the same meaning that they do in Québecois. And two, Keith Nobbs’ performance although good, was extremely minimal which was rather disappointing. I would have preferred he read Deveaux’s POV instead of Arthur’s because the latter only shows up in the first and final chapters. I got excited at the prospect of two narrators when in reality, there’s only one.

My jaw hit the floor in the final minutes of POISON PRINCESS; the conclusion was masterfully executed, and Evie is no longer soft—let the ultimate battle begin!


The Arcana Chronicles



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Owner, designer and main blogger behind Rabid Reads. Avid book reader, snowboard bunny, video gamer and Supernatural fan. I love all things paranormal, werewolves especially. Oh, and I’m Canadian, eh!

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110 responses to “Audiobook Review: Poison Princess by Kresley Cole

    • The story starts off like every other YA book ever, but it quickly turns around, so just suck it up for the first chapters and you’ll be fine. They are painful, but necessary to help put the story into context.

  1. I love her books and omg you haven’t read the Immortals After Dark series yet? Looking forward to your reviews when you do, they are one of my favorite series of books.

    And thank you so much for the gift card I won.
    Mary Kirkland recently posted…Happy Raturday!

  2. Kresley has been on my radar to try for quite some time but I was always unsure where to start but this sounds great! It’s been a while since I read a paranormal but this seems to have all I’m looking for so definitely adding this to the TBR. I adore Emma Galvin as a narrator so if I can get this with my next audible credit all the better. Great review Carmel!
    Danielle recently posted…Finding a Voice by Kim Hood | Review

    • This series is definitely more manageable than her PNR because I think it’s a trilogy, plus if you’re already a fan of Emma Galvin, then you have a good idea of what you’re in for.

  3. So glad you loved this one Carmel! it’s one my YA favorites 🙂
    Excellent review and I’m thrilled you’ll be taking this ride with us!
    Emma Galving is one of my favorites and I can totally understand your slight disappointment on the accents, as a French speaking person I imagine you could tell the imperfections as compared to those of us that are not.
    Lupdilup recently posted…One Night More Audiobook by Mandy Baxter (Review)

    • Sinner was a great intro to Galvin’s narration, and after listening to two Arcana audios, she’s becoming a fast favourite. Jennifer kept getting pissed at me on Twitter over my comments about the French. LOL

  4. WOO HOO!!! I really enjoyed this one overall as well Carmel, and most of that enjoyment came from a brilliant opening chapter as you said, and an amazing few final pages. SO GOOD! Evie was definitely frustrating for me at times, but I can’t wait to continue this series. I’m waiting until the third book is out to pick up book two to spare myself having to wait in case there’s an epic cliffhanger:)

    • The first chapter had me completely enthralled, then the high school drama kicked in, and I was like what the heck is this!? But, I soon got over that. It’s too late for me as far as book 2’s cliffie is concerned; I just couldn’t wait, and now I am suffering as a result. Hehe

  5. Aly P

    I love her IAD series but I was to couerd to try her YA books… I am at least a step closer to trying it :)) It sounds fascinating. Are you starting book 2 now?

  6. Amber Elise  

    WELCOME TO YA DYSTOPIA CARMEL!!!!

    I’ve been eyeing this one but I’ve never made any moves to actually check it out. I think my library has it so I’ll probably get to it by the end of the year! 🙂

    Also, I’m listening to Trial By Fire (YA) and I’m pretty sure the narrator is Emma Galvin. If so, then I know that audiobook of Poison Princess is AMAZING.

    Psst, other YA recommendations that don’t feature love triangles or annoying high school problems:

    The Winner’s Curse by Marie Rutkoski
    Angelfall by Susa Ee

    Amber Elise @Du Livre

    • Damn you for tempting me with another Galvin audiobook! I’m going to have to look Trial by Fire up on Audible now to see who the narrator is. Thanks for the non-crappy YA recommendations. 😀

    • It was probably a good call waiting for book 3 to be available. I am in so much pain right now!! I lost all respect for Jackson after listening to Endless Knight, but I suspect Cole has a few more tricks up her sleeve.

  7. I don’t know about the French part but I did enjoy reading it in the books. Hhehe…

    YA & I aren’t besties either, I’ve outgrown the genre with a few exceptions including this one. I love this series so bad! The world building and mythology is unlike any other YA/Dystopian I’ve ever read. Everything is so vivid and I’m glad that the narrator brought that part to life.
    Braine Talk Supe recently posted…Liked It: Guild Assassin by Berley Kerr

    • It’s great that so many non-YA readers are completely addicted to this series. I’m happy that I gave Cole’s Arcana a chance, and you were 100% right about Death in Endless Knight!

    • I feel your pain, Marcela, because I’m right there with you now. The start of a new year has never looked so good, too bad there’s still 3 months left in 2014.

  8. Fantastic review. I have not listened to any audio books, but you are selling me on them. I read a lot of YA, but have to take frequent breaks, because I do get tired of the high school drama and love triangles. I have been lucky, because most of the time, the story is so well written that I just power through those parts to get to the goodies. After all, they don’t call it YA for nothing and I have to accept those parts too. Thanks for sharing and have a great day.
    sherry fundin recently posted…The Mob, Drugs and Murder – A Bullet For Carlos by Giacomo Giammatteo Review

    • I’ll make an audiobook listener out of you yet, Sherry! Unfortunately, this series has both high school drama AND a love triangle, but it’s just so darned good that I was able to overlook those tropes.

    • I think I loved Endless Knight even more than this one because there’s no teen angst in it, and Evie really grows as a character. Admittedly, I’m now Team Death as a result.

  9. So, I have to admit, I’ve not read anything by Cole but this looks interesting. Great review. I might have to give her a try now! Your reviews of audios are great because I have one audio and one book going all the time but it’s hard to find good audios and your reviews are so helpful!
    Jessica Cooley recently posted…We Were Liars

    • This was my first Cole book as well, so you’re not too far behind me. You have to start somewhere, right? I’m thrilled that you’re enjoying my audio reviews; I wish more people would give them a try.

  10. I’m starting to dip my feet in dystopian so I’m loving the aspect of that here and I’m a huge fan of K. Cole (her IAD series). But, alas I just can’t do YA..not my cup of tea, but I’m glad you enjoyed it so I will enjoy this story through your reviews 😉

  11. Oh wow my comment cut in half O_O I think the smiley did it. Glad I’m in the habit of copy pasting comments before hitting post. Here’s the whole thing:
    I have never read a Kresley Cole book and I think now I’m the last one who hasn’t. I do have this one on my shelf though and I’ve heard mixed things about it. At first it was like everyone and their dog loved it, and then not so much, but every great review I read makes me want to give it a try. Boo on the love triangle! But it sounds like it’s not a wholly big deal overall. The world building sounds awesome and so unique, too! and that ending has me super curious, too! I love a great, memorable ending that makes you react, you know. Even if it’s terrible in terms of like.. Gone Girl! I still want to punch that book in the face! Anyways! Great review, Carmel! (I also need to watch TWD!!! I know right? I suck at life!)

    • *phew! I do that now too, because it often takes several attempt before Blogger accept my comments. I’m surprised that I read this one before the YA Queen did. And, yes, you MUST get on TWD bandwagon asap!! Season 5 starts on October 12th.

    • I trudged through the first bit, but peeps kept telling me to stick with it, and I’m so glad I did. The second half completely eclipsed the first, thus my 5-star rating.

  12. You cheered me up, Carmel, with your awesome rating! 🙂 I have this book on my kindle, but I haven’t had courage to start it because I’ve never been a fan of Kresley Cole’s Immortals. Now I feel more confident that I’ll enjoy it 🙂

    • I know, right? I thought I’d done it all after 4 years of book blogging. Don’t blame me if you don’t like it. 😉 I think the narration made a BIG difference in this case.

  13. Oh this book… I’m glad you had a great time with this one. My friend loved it and she gave the book to me. I need to get into it. I keep hearing amazing things about it and I need to get the time to try it. Great review!

    • I recently watched the book trailer for ENDLESS KNIGHT, and it’s so cool! How have you managed to hold out on reading the second installment for so longer after the cliff hanger!?

  14. You’ve joined the YA crew, Carmel! At least partially anyway. Even though I feel pretty burned out on YA dystopians, I gotta say that the idea of world building based on Tarot is pretty damn awesome. Thankfully my French isn’t good enough to be bothered by other people’s pronunciation – I can get by in French but I know that my accent is horrific – so I don’t think that would bother me too much.
    Danya recently posted…Review: Visions by Kelley Armstrong

    • I’m an honourary member of the YA club. I dabble in it occasionally, but it’s definitely not one of my go-to genres. Only a select few would probably notice the French thing which is why I didn’t knock off half a star.

  15. High-school drama and a love triangle? And you still really enjoyed it, Carmel? That’s actually pretty amazing. I will probably still wait a little while before I start this series, though, because I’m sick to death of love triangles after the last YA I read. My eyes almost rolled out of my head…
    I do love Kresley Cole, though, and you are truly missing out on those hot, Scottish shifters…
    Great review, Carmel 🙂 I will check out the narrator for other books I want to read / listen to.
    Have a fantastic Friday.
    Lexxie recently posted…Review: Taste of Darkness – Katie Reus

    • I know, right? Maybe I should check my temperature… LOL I really need to get started on Cole’s Scottish werewolves, but 14 installments—eeeeck! Have a great weekend, Lexxie.

  16. I think(?) I read the first book in the IAD series…but The Arcana Chronicles has been on my radar since I first placed it on the shelf. (I managed the Teen section at B&N at the time) So I’m thrilled that you loved it, Carmel, especially if you’re not usually a fan of YA. So now I have to decide whether to read it or listen to it…my audible credits just arrived…hmm….
    Bookworm Brandee recently posted…**Special Feature ~ OctobeRec Fest**

  17. Did they just change the last book of the series? D: Wonderful review, Carmel. I think I would also be disappointed with the audiobook that promises two narrators like that. Maybe I wouldn’t try that out. I am curious about the book though and I think I have a copy on my Kindle so I’ll probably get to it soon enough. I had been getting tired of a couple of Dystopian books though so I’m not really sure when I’ll pick one up again.
    Francine Soleil recently posted…Chat It Up: What Sells on You? Mine are Nerds

    • Yes!!! They changed the freaking covers; how I hate it when that happens. Fortunately, I don’t own physical copies otherwise that would have really pissed me off.