Title: Poison (Wind Dancer #1)
Author: Lan Chan
Genre: YA, Dystopia
Poison tells the story of Aurora “Rory” Gray. It is set in post-apocalyptic Australia where the government has genetically modified nature to control the citizens. The government officials, known as Seeders, carefully control what seeds go to the regions to ensure none slip into the hands of the Wanderers.
Rory, the daughter of a Wanderer, lives in one of the regions that surround the main Citadel. When her region is cut off from it’s supply of seeds, many of its citizens attempt a walkabout to get to the Citadel. Unlike many others, Rory is familiar with the Citadel; she was once the Wind Dancer in the Seeders’ circus. Teamed up with Gage, Cora, Leura, stepbrother Micah, and sabrewolf Sully, Rory begins her walkabout. Needless to say, this is not a simple task.
Upon reaching the Citadel, Rory is confronted by memories of her time in the circus. However, things are not as they once were in the Citadel. Viable seeds are running low, and the Seeders want to use Rory’s ability as an aerialist to locate a seed bank that may not even exist.
I really enjoyed this book, and found it to be quite different to many other dystopias. That being said, there is a distinct similarity to The Hunger Games where there is a main governing city that controls smaller regions. And people in this city have an obsession with beauty and perfection, though this is a much smaller detail in Poison than it is in Hunger Games.
Thankfully, that’s where the obvious similarities end, and once you get into the story, these are all but forgotten. Chan has carefully constructed the setting in which this book takes place. I found that there was just the right amount of backstory to the whole thing, and it was spaced throughout the novel. I would have liked to learn a bit more about the circus, and Rory’s time as a part of it, and how Aiden fitted in to it all.
If I’m being honest, what I enjoyed the most were the characters and how Chan manipulated them. I really loved Rory’s blunt nature, which made her a great narrator. I felt that her reactions to many things, and her relationships with others, were all very realistic and justifiable, considering her circumstances. I also really like the character of Gage. I loved seeing how much he changed, both in his relationship with Rory and as his own character.
Like any good YA novel, there is a decent dose of suffering and sadness. Many of the things that Rory goes through are truly awful, and the story is told in such a way that these things just make your heart break.
Also, NO LOVE TRIANGLE. In fact, next to no romance at all. In the entire novel, there is one kiss. One. Bless you Lan Chan.
This is a delightfully refreshing novel in quite a cluttered genre. I definitely recommend it for YA lovers. My sincerest congrats to Lan Chan for such a gorgeous debut novel.
*I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review*