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Publisher's Summary

When young Wynter Moorehawke returns to court with her dying father, she finds her old home shadowed with fear. The king has become a violent despot, terrorizing those he once loved. His son and heir Alberon has fled into exile and now there are whispers everywhere of rebellion. Meanwhile, Alberon’s half-brother Razi has been elevated to his throne. He struggles to meet his King’s demands while remaining loyal to his beloved brother and to his friend Wynter.

Now she must choose - her father or her dreams, her friend or her king, her duty or her love.

©2008 Celine Kiernan (P)2010 Brilliance Audio, Inc.

Critic Reviews

"Atmospheric, complex, and intense, Kiernan's debut fantasy, set in a sort of alternate 15th-century Europe, mixes vengeful ghosts and talking cats into political intrigue.... this epic starts strong and doesn't falter one iota, ending with a cliffhanger that will leave readers demanding more." (Publishers Weekly)

What members say

Average Customer Ratings

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  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Swashbuckling adventure tale

The Poison Throne is a gripping adventure tale with elements of fantasy, mystery and romance. I loved the writing, from the vivid descriptions of court life to the inner conflict of the characters. There are no simple characters here, we see a dark side to nearly everyone, as well as their struggle to overcome it. The young heroine Wynter is intelligent and brave, but also shows emotion and vulnerability, like most teenagers.

The relationships between characters are explored in depth, and although the plot centers on epic power struggles, the story also touches on themes of family, identity, race, and gender roles. No punches are pulled, and the emotion gets quite intense at times. (There is also some violence and torture that may deter the squeamish.)

This is a book that challenges the listener, but I found it very rewarding. It also has plenty of humor, as well as scenes of unbridled joy. The narration is superb, and hits every emotional note with authenticity. I’m looking forward to the next book in the trilogy.

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • L.M.M.
  • Chesapeake, VA
  • 08-15-14

Did not live up to hype

I was looking for a good series, and this one was pretty highly rated. I found it slow. It could have benefited from a good editor tightening it up. I heard too much of Winter's angst to find her admirable. She dithers too much. But most disappointing was the end of the story, which really reads like the end of a chapter. No closure whatsoever, and too many details left hanging. This, even in a series, is unforgivable.

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars

Gore, Tears and Boredom

I thought this book looked great, I even read some reviews, but I should have gone with my gut and passed it up.

This book has things I love, female main characters, talking cats, other fantasy elements.

I could probably have enjoyed this book despite the lack of forward plot progression, and slow trickle of important scenes surrounded by a surfiet of gore. I could have gotten over it, if the main character, or any of the characters had been interesting, or even behaved consistently.

The main character seems to spend most of the book in tears and clinging to the men around her as she observes the action. Characters, including the main charcter are often described as being one type of person, only to behave completely differently. Non of these inconsistencies are explained even halfway into the book.

Important plot points are brought up in conversation only to be immediately disregarded while some unnecessary action takes place. All of the things that could have been interesting in the world created here, ghosts, talking cats, are not present in the story, they appear in glimpses.

Don't get this book unless you enjoy a lot of gore and weepy main characters.

Perhaps the author is going for some character growth, or something, but I'm 7 hours in and no one is growing everyone is just crying and bleeding and I'm bored.

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Racheal
  • Cypress, TX, United States
  • 12-19-10

Loved it.

I love Epic Fantasy. My favs are- of coarse-Brandon Sanderson(Elantris), Jim Butcher (codex alera), Brent Weeks, Gail z Martin, Robin hobb (assassins aprentis)( though i like happier endings) and Trudi Canavan. If you liked any of these, you will love this series. suspense, intrigue, bloody gore, romance, moving dramatic moments...i loved it.