Review: The Poison Within by Rachel Marie Pearcy // Or, To Evil Queen or Not To Evil Queen

This book is January’s Sapphic Book Club read hosted by @sapphicliterature.

★★,5☆☆ | The premise was amazing but the execution has fallen short.



Title: The Poison Within

Author: Rachel Marie Pearcy

Publisher: selfpub

Release Date: January 2nd 2019

Pages: 396

Genres:  Fantasy | YA | LGBT

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sigh I wasn’t this disappointed in a book in a while… It wasn’t even that awful — just awfully average. And I’ve been so hyped with the premise! Like, come on, evil queen? Magic? Sapphic romance? It could have been the best thing ever and yet here we are…

Let’s start with the good things, maybe? I wanted to like it so much I don’t want to drag it completely.

The overall plot was alright. With some more work and more development it could have been much better but the idea was good. It was also fast to read and, beside the cheesy and sometimes cringey dialogue, the writing wasn’t bad either.

And Norell! I would rather read her story — she was the most interesting character. Only Gavin came close to that but he was only present for the last ¼th of the book. She also had more chemistry with Rya than Cam did. ¯_(ツ)_/¯

Also, Cam and Thane’s friendship was kinda cute.

Okay, now onto the bad.

I thought this would have some badass action scenes and politic games but 1. most of it was Cam and Rya dancing around each other with their feelings, and 2. aside from romance, the conflicts are resolved pretty quickly (even though they keep making Really Dumb mistakes) and things have no chance to escalate? Of course, I wanted a HEA but I want them to work for it.

Even though it was so romance focused the romance felt bland and forced. Everybody kept saying that they’re in love with each other but I just didn’t see it? There was attraction but it’s a long jump from that to love.

It was so confusing to have Rya act so Evil Queen in the flashbacks and then be the sweet friendly girl with the Ashens? It could have been fixed with her only acting nice to better her chances of receiving protection she needs only to warm up to them in spite of her trust issues but as it was she just felt like two different people.

Also, the Evil Queen arc was pretty weak. I hoped for some redemption arc or something but instead all we get are excuses and it’s not what you think it was. And Cam just goes for that — which, yeah, hot evil queen a sapphic dream but that makes No Sense for her character who’s supposed to be a successor of this righteous Ashen line.

We only learn why the main antagonist is someone we should root against about the time we meet Gavin? Which is the last ¼th of the story. Before that we’re just supposed to hate him because he wanted to get rid of the Evil Queen, I guess…

All in all it’s a fast to read average YA with no much depth. You get wlw though so that’s a-okay.

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