Legends collide with reality when a boy is swept into the magical, dangerous world of a girl filled with poison.
Everyone knows the legends about the cursed girl—Isabel, the one the señoras whisper about. They say she has green skin and grass for hair, and she feeds on the poisonous plants that fill her family’s lush Caribbean island garden. Some say she can grant wishes; some say her touch can kill. Seventeen-year-old Lucas spends summers with his hotel-developer father in Puerto Rico, and he’s grown up hearing the stories. When letters from the cursed girl mysteriously appear in his room the same day his girlfriend disappears, Lucas turns to Isabel for answers—and finds himself lured into her strange and enchanted world. But the more entangled Lucas becomes with Isabel, the less certain he is of escaping with his own life.
“A breathtaking story in which myths come to frightening life and buried wishes might actually come true.” —Nova Ren Suma, author of The Walls Around Us and Imaginary Girls
“Samantha Mabry’s magical debut is both a chilling mystery and a heartbreaking meditation on love, longing, and sacrifice . . . A Fierce and Subtle Poison will get into your blood.” —Laura Ruby, author of Bone Gap
“With its sparklingly sinister blend of natural history and magic, of themes that seem both modern and timeless, A Fierce and Subtle Poison gets under the skin.”—Chicago Tribune
Inspired by Hawthorne's "Rappaccini's Daughter," debut author Mabry blends magical realism with mystery in the story of Lucas Knight, the 17-year-old son of a hotel developer spending his summers in San Juan. Instead of thinking about college, Lucas spends his time with friends Ruben, Rico, and Carlos, enjoying the nightlife despite tales of curses and ghosts, and the disappearances of several young girls in town. When a scribbled wish that Ruben's cousin Marisol leaves at a cursed house is returned to Lucas, he investigates, meeting and falling for an occupant of the house, Isabel Ford, whose touch is poisonous. Lucas becomes a suspect after Marisol's body washes up on the shore and her younger sister goes missing. With the police on Lucas's heels and Isabel's poison slowly killing her, the two race to put a stop to the disappearances and end the curse. Mabry smoothly joins dreamy, fever-induced scenes with the lore of "la ciguapa," a beautiful creature that leads men to insanity or death with a kiss, and her atmospheric ending guarantees goose bumps. Ages 12 up.
Customer ReviewsSee All
An Adventurous and Well-Written Story👌
This was a good book😊 Like all books, there were positives and negatives to it. I’ll start with the negatives, but also take consideration of the positives, because I genuinely think this is a great story.
1. Things in the book don’t always make sense. Sometimes little details will be added into the book that don’t really contribute to the story, leaving me slightly confused.
2. You don’t feel like rooting for the main character. I mean, I thought he was pretty cool and I wanted the best for him in the story, but I didn’t feel as involved as I have in other books. You know those books where you feel like you’re the main character’s best friend? Or that you’re going through situations with him/her? This book isn’t exactly like that... Although I wish I could’ve understood the characters more, some people may enjoy this style of writing more.
3. Hands down, the book has an AWESOME plot. It’s creative and exciting and you’d expect a great story from it. And, as I said, it is a great story. However, it’s not a 100% freaking amazing story if you know what I mean😅 It could have been written a *little* better. (Remember though that there’s always room for improvement.)
1. This book is really entertaining! For the majority of the story, you don’t want to put the book down.
2. Because the book takes place in Puerto Rico, you learn a little bit about it and what some of the culture might be like. It’s not an overload, but it does get you more interested in Puerto Rico.
3. I know the genre says romance, but I feel like, more than anything, it’s an adventurous mystery.
4. The book doesn’t start slow. It starts quickly and smoothly; I really like the beginning.
1. There’s some Spanish throughout the book. It’s funny because I’m learning to speak Chinese, but reading some Spanish in the book got me interested in what was being said and interested in the Spanish language. I do thank the author for adding that into the book🙏 It nicely complimented the rest of the newly introduced cultural aspects.
2. The book doesn’t seem to be much of a romance😅 I mean, it is, especially at first, but it’s definitely not like other romance books. Romance definitely isn’t the overall impression I got out of it.
3. Some may love the ending, but some may hate it. I was in between. I don’t want to spoil much, but let’s just say that it leaves you thinking (in a good way) but you might rather have had it not end the way it did😂 If that makes sense😂
Overall, it was worth reading, but it’s not a 100% 5 star book. I think that after the author gains more experience, her books will be amazing, 100% 5 stars.
This was one of the best books I have read in a while. The last page left me with tears in my eyes. The book was beautifully written, while maintaining a fresh and inspired concept. Many books I read these days feel cut from the same block, Mabry though, has defied expectations, leaving readers with a fresh taste in their mouth and a wanting for more.