I’ve just come back from the amazing experience I had at the Poison Diaries Event up in Alnwick Castle where we were presented with an ARC of Nightshade, the next instalment in the poison diaries series. To see the castle grounds in person and Hulne Abbey where Jessamine lived was awe inspiring, not to mention the real life poison garden. I was so wrapped up in the experience that I read the book on the very long train ride home and let me tell you, if you thought The Poison Diaries was dark, then wait until you read Nightshade which plunges further into the blackness. It goes without question to say that if you haven’t read The Poison Diaries yet (which I reviewed here) then please read that first before going any further. If you’re still with me, then here is the synopsis for Nightshade:
“A dark, gothic tale of romance… and murder.
Our heroine, Jessamine, has lost her faith in the men she loved, and her innocence as well. She turns to the dark side and plots to kill her father, using his own poisons, before becoming an assassin, a poisoner for hire. Can she recover from her heartache and reunite with her true love, Weed? Find out in this thrilling story where poisons, darkness and horror are a part of everyday life, and love is the only cure.”
Jessamine is all grown up and a far cry from the figure she cut in the first book. She’s more confident than ever in her skills and is no longer the vulnerable little girl she once was. Believing that Weed left her in her hour of need was pretty devastating but you can’t keep the truth hidden forever and this causes a series of cataclysmic events resulting in Jessamine leaving town trying to forge a new identity. She tries desperately not to use the skills that she’s learnt but she can’t help it and before she knows it, she’s tangled up in an assassination plot. I’ve really enjoyed watching Jessamine’s character grow albeit into something darker than she once was. I don’t blame her, I mean how could she not be changed by her experiences? She is definitely more of an interesting character now though. And what of poor Weed? Well, Weed is more human than ever and of course, his thoughts are never far away from Jessamine. I did particularly enjoy his journey to Padua, Italy in this book where he learned about how plants were used for medicinal purposes. Of course, there were reasons why he went there but I shall say nothing more of it.
Nightshade introduces us to some new characters, most of which are transitory but one of my favourites was Rye. You’ll see what I mean when you read it ;)
What’s interesting about how the story has developed is the character’s view of themselves. I was reminded of Pinkie from Brighton Rock by Graham Greene who thought that because he committed an unspeakable act, that there was no way back from that. He believed he was damned and if that was the case, he should just continue doing what he wanted and I kind of got that vibe, especially from Jessamine. I do believe that Jessamine has become somewhat of a poison to herself (ironically) and I just hope she realises that the cure is inside her. At least that’s what I think.
I thought this was a great sequel and I love that I have absolutely no idea where the story is heading. I get the feeling that Maryrose Wood is going to continuously surprise me and I’m all for that.
The Poison Diaries: Nightshade is published on 1st September 2011 in the UK and 25th October, 2011 in the US. Thank you to Harper Collins for giving me an ARC. If you’d like to win a copy of the The Poison Diaries: Nightshade then please leave me a comment with your name and e mail address. This contest is UK only and the deadline is 8th September . The Winner will be selected randomly and they will have 48 hours to respond before a new winner is chosen.
To find out more about Maryrose Wood and her books, click here to visit her website. The Poison Diaries also has a website which you can access here. If you’ve ever wondered about Alnwick castle and are in the fortunate position to visit, click here for more information.