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The Poison Throne Paperback – Apr 7 2010

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Product Details

  • Paperback: 512 pages
  • Publisher: Orbit; 1 edition (April 7 2010)
  • Language: English
  • ISBN-10: 9780316077064
  • ISBN-13: 978-0316077064
  • ASIN: 0316077062
  • Product Dimensions: 21 x 15 x 4 cm
  • Shipping Weight: 431 g
  • Average Customer Review: 4.0 out of 5 stars  See all reviews (1 customer review)
  • Amazon Bestsellers Rank: #692,931 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)

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Format: Paperback
Wow. Just wow. I was sucked in from the first few chapters. First I loved the setting. It's an interesting blend of fantasy, some paranormal characteristics, and some 'real life' qualities. What I mean by that is you have talking cats, ghosts, yet the setting is set someplace in Europe (not really specified). It's hard to explain, but once you read into the book you get the idea. I thought this was interesting and different.

The book may be slow to some. Yet I was so interested in the political intrigue, that the pace was good for me. You won't find much action or adventure. Instead, there's lots of politics and a lot of relationship development and character building. Which is fine for me, it's certainly a different approach towards fantasy (where you would expect a lot of action and fighting). It was at a perfect pace and I could read this without feeling confused, and I got the characters all straightened out and was able to understand what was happening as there's several different plots branching out. Considering this if the first book in a trilogy, you won't get many questions answered. That may be frustrating and it may seem as if you really didn't get much out of the book at all, however I feel that this book was a good starter for a trilogy. It created your questions, made an interesting world for you to get used to, and gave you a set list of characters so you know who is who without getting confused. Besides, what would be the point of a trilogy if all questions were answered in the first book?

I absolutely loved the characters in this book. I enjoyed Wynter and her relationship with her father , but her friendships with both Razi and Christopher are also interesting and differ from each other. I found no fault with any of them and liked all of the characters.
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Most Helpful Customer Reviews on (beta) 31 reviews
32 of 36 people found the following review helpful
Angieville: THE POISON THRONE May 14 2010
By Angela Thompson - Published on
Format: Paperback
Well, it's been that kind of month and the nasty reading slump in the middle of it did not help things in the slightest. I didn't want to ruin this read with my foul mood, so I started it early in the month, put it down again, and waited until things had picked up some before giving it a go. THE POISON THRONE--the first book in Celine Kiernan's Moorehawke Trilogy--is a book I eagerly anticipated picking up. I was especially excited as I had heard it likened to Megan Whalen Turner's Attolia books as far as the quality of intrigue and political fantasy go. And as anyone familiar with me knows, this is very high praise indeed. So I picked up a copy at my local bookstore and took it home that night. I have to say I love the covers Orbit has designed for this trilogy's U.S. debut. Previously published in Ireland and Australia, all three books have already seen a handful of lovely covers and I like the leafy vignette and swirling cloak style going on here.

Wynter Moorehawke and her ailing father Lorcan have returned home after five years away in the barbaric North. Home once more, Wynter cannot wait to renew her friendship with her beloved quasi-siblings Razi and Alberon. Both sons of King Jonathan--one legitimate and one illegitimate--Wynter grew up with these boys, running all over the castle that was their home. But when she comes across Razi in the kitchens, Wynter discovers that things have changed in the years she's been gone. And not for the better. Jonathan has changed, gone from a tolerant and fair ruler to a cruel and unreasonable lord intent on naming his legitimate (and suspiciously missing) heir Alberon as dead and grooming the illegitimate Razi on the throne in his place. Tensions are more than high as Razi--a gifted doctor--does not want to be king at all, his people would prefer open war to a dark-skinned by-blow on the throne, and the king appears increasingly unstable and violent. Into this maelstrom Wynter is thrown without a by your leave, yet she is simultaneously expected to accept all these changes without question and play her part as an apprentice carpenter under her father's tutelage. But Razi needs her. And his unusual and generally unwelcome friend Christopher seems to be always underfoot and in need of a watchful eye. And Wynter is determined to stand by her friend and get to the bottom of this mounting disaster.

I was sucked into this novel right away. I enjoyed Wynter's easy relationship with her father and it was fun feeling my way around the castle along with her as she struggled to come to terms with the magnitude of the changes that had overtaken it in her absence. I loved the slight hints at the supernatural in the cats Wynter used to be able to communicate with and the many ghosts that haunt the castle and can clearly tell when danger is afoot. And, though initially a bit confusing, I liked the historical setting in a sort of alternate Europe, sprinkled here and there with references to such places as Padua and the Moroccos. And I was all set to enjoy Wynter, with her brotherly affection for the educated and kind Razi and her righteously indignant banter with the handsome rascal Christopher. However, somewhere around the halfway mark my enthusiasm began to pall. Nothing seemed to happen and each of the characters became oh-so-tiresome. Wynter was reduced to running here and there after the various men in her life. All of whom, by the way, needed a swift kick in the pants if you ask me. There seemed to be a sort of imbalance across the whole narrative. Characters who are innocent and loving one minute turn into raving lunatics the next, hugs and fond reminiscences are bedfellows with what felt like an out-of-place amount of surprisingly cruel and coarse violence. Wynter adores her "brother" Razi and, despite being frequently annoyed with him putting her off and not telling her things, she forgives him at the drop of a hat. And the instant forgiving soon extends to much more heinous crimes than withholding the truth. So much so that I started to lose my respect for both of them. Disliking Razi made it difficult to believe in him and in Wynter's affection for him. And, as much as I liked Christopher, with his mutilated hands and his mysterious past, I was not exactly keen on 15-year-old Wynter falling for a young man quite so promiscuous as he. All of this is to say that there was quite a bit of potential but it was a struggle to finish and ultimately fell flat for me.
20 of 22 people found the following review helpful
No Kingdom Was Ever This Intriguing! Aug. 20 2009
By Larissa - Published on
Format: Paperback
Wynter Moorehawke is a fifteen year old girl. She is a Lady, she is a qualified apprentice in a man's profession and up until five years ago she was the King's Cat Keeper. But for the past five years she and her father have been in exile up North. Now, after so long they have been called home to the south. But it is not home as she remembers it.

Upon returning home Wynter discovers there are many changes in her home kingdom. Small things at first, slightly amiss; like the cats for one thing, and the ghosts for another, as neither seems willing to talk to her as they had before.

Wynter soon realises she has returned to a kingdom in chaos. King Jonathan's once civilised and peaceful kingdom has drastically changed with the reintroduced gibbets and cages, neither seen since the dark days, many years before Wynter was born. King Jonathan also has one son missing, and another unwillingly forced to take his place.

There is the constant threat of danger as sides are taken and the very real risk of imprisonment, torture and death. There are also the whispers of the 'Bloody Machine', but Wynter is at a loss as to what it is, what it has to do with the drastic changes to the kingdom, and what it could possibly have to do with her father.

Wynter finds herself in a precarious situation as she discovers there are those willing to threaten her safety for the submission of power from those she is close to. But there is also the stranger Christopher Garron to worry about. Christopher obviously does not fit in, and despite her friends faith in him, she is not sure he is altogether trustworthy.

Ultimately Wynter has a decision to make, she must chose between her father, her friend and her kingdom. It is a choice that will lead her to deceive those she loves and leave her alone in terrible danger.

There are real moments of tenderness, friendship, intrigue and tension in this story as terrible choices must be made and the consequences lived with. The character are portrayed as vivid, complex and instantly likeable. The story is such that it leaves you desperately wanting more, and hoping it will not be a long wait to discover Wynter's fate in the continuing stories.
6 of 6 people found the following review helpful
First Book in a Suspenseful Political Intrigue and Coming-of-Age Fantasy Tale April 22 2010
By A. Lee - Published on
Format: Paperback
Fifteen-year old Wynter Moorehawke returns home with her father, to the court of King Jonathan. Her father, Lord Protector Lorcan Moorehawke is a Master Carpenter and Wynter has risen to be a ranked apprentice in the trade, but her father is also a close friend to the King and she has grown up with Razi, the elder illegitimate son and Alberon, the younger Heir. But after years in the North with her father on a mission for the King, they return to find everything mysteriously and frighteningly changed. Her once robust father is in ill-health after a long sickness, Prince Alberon has mysteriously disappeared along with Lord Oliver who was one of the King's greatest supporters, the scholarly Prince Razi is being forced into position as the new Heir and the King seems to be going mad--repressing dissent ruthlessly in ways he had previously disdained and using those around him with equal brutality.

Wynter has always known that life at court was hazardous, but now there seems to be danger everywhere and all former refuges, with her formerly strong father, with the support of the princes whom she regards as brothers, with the people of the castle whom were almost like parents to her, no longer secure. Prince Razi is powerless, his friend Christopher is threatened if he does not go along with the King, and Razi worries that anyone close to him, including Wynter and her father, will also be used to control him, so he has to keep his distance. No one knows where Prince Alberon is or what he is up to. The King suspects he is in league to overthrow him and in order to save the Kingdom he will stop at nothing, even if it means destroying his own sons and his old friendship with Wynter's father, or even resort to using a secret and horrific weapon that even puts fear into the heart of Wynter's gruff and strong-willed father.

Wynter is thrust into the middle of danger and intrigue. She's still young enough to long for the safety and security of the past--with her old friends and pleasant way of life--and desires to run from the demands of the future. But she quickly learns that there is no safe refuge and she is forced to act, no matter how unwillingly.

This is an exciting and suspenseful tale, the beginning of a trilogy that will relate the complete story. The characters are wonderfully drawn and very alive, from the servants to the king himself, who can seem both mad and evil and yet very human and understandable. Raji and Christopher are instantly intriguing and sympathetic. Wynter was a bit harder for me to bond with as she is at a pivotal point in her life, still young and uncertain but trying to grow into her abilities as a trained apprentice and someone able to follow in the footsteps of her indomitable father--and at times she seems a little too self-centered and overly concerned with small things. Because of her age and because she's the point of view character, there is a strong young adult feel to the book, but there's also enough complexity and other characters to easily appeal to older adults. I'm well in the latter group and am eagerly awaiting the next book.
5 of 5 people found the following review helpful
Needs a good editor Aug. 30 2010
By TheRecluse - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I have mixed feelings about this book, and I have mixed feelings about offering a poor review. I always wonder if I just missed the point, somehow. The author's writing is technically sound; the plot is interesting, if not terribly original. The characters are inconsistent within themselves, though. For instance, Wynter, a 15-year old, alternates between being an irritating brat and more worldly wise than the adults around her -- for instance, ordering the King around like he was a younger brother rather than a fearsome reigning monarch. The world building is spotty also. I almost felt as though there's a previous book that's missing. The second book in the series, The Crowded Shadows (The Moorehawke Trilogy) is slightly more solid. I think this author has a lot of promise, but does need a good editor.
3 of 3 people found the following review helpful
A huge disappointment April 28 2011
By Lis - Published on
Format: Paperback Verified Purchase
I was looking forward to what sounded like an interesting series, but after a few pages I was really sorry I'd wasted my money. The story itself might be good and there may ultimately be a point, but Kiernan's writing is just ponderous and the characters are shallow and irrational beyond belief. Reading this book is like being dropped in the middle of a street riot. People are running about, waving their arms and yelling at each other, but not a single one of them can tell you why. I don't think I've read anything this bad since I tried to read a Harlequin novel 40 years ago!

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