ARC Review: A Fierce and Subtle Poison by Samantha Mabry


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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 Caribbean island garden. Some say she can grant wishes; some say her touch can kill.

Seventeen-year-old Lucas lives on the mainland most of the year but spends summers with his hotel-developer father in Puerto Rico. He’s grown up hearing stories about the cursed girl, and he wants to believe in Isabel and her magic. When letters from Isabel begin mysteriously appearing in his room the same day his new girlfriend disappears, Lucas turns to Isabel for answers–and finds himself lured into her strange and enchanted world. But time is running out for the girl filled with poison, and the more entangled Lucas becomes with Isabel, the less certain he is of escaping with his own life.


****Thank you to Algonquin Young Readers and Netgalley for providing me with this ARC in exchange for an honest review****

Gorgeous cover, gorgeous writing, but a not so gorgeous plot. This book has a lot going for it but at the same time I found it to be a bit tedious, I can see how some people may like or dislike it. Overall it’s just sort of a “meh” book, not necessarily awful but not anything I’d go around recommending either.

This is going to be a pretty short review.


The plot was the weakest point in this book it was vague and uninteresting. It started out well enough but as it progressed and the magic and mystery of the poisonous girl got taken away the plot became a bore. I mean the story is about a cursed girl, it should be a little creepy and a little more mysterious than it actually ended up being. I honestly could care less about anything that happened in the story itself. Explanations were never really given on anything and by the end of the book I still really don’t know what went on or why.

The pacing is another thing that got a little annoying, it was all over the place. Which didn’t help the story at all, it only added to the confusion I was already experiencing.

I, however, did really enjoy the setting. Puerto Rico isn’t exactly a common place explored in YA books and the descriptions and writing definitely do it justice (at least I think so, since I haven’t actually been there). Either way the setting was lovely.

Really though the reason this book earned a two star rating versus a one star rating is the writing. The writing is absolutely gorgeous, it’s what kept me reading through the book even when the plot failed to hold my interest. I would honestly read another of Mabry’s books just for the writing and in the hopes that the plot would be a little more intriguing.


Lucas was a pretty selfish character, sorry guys but that’s just the cold, hard truth. He’s privileged and he acts like it, I can’t relate to that honestly. He lacks any real backstory as well so he never gets enough development for me to even have him be remotely relatable.

Isabel is a little different but not by much, she too, lacked any real development as well. I would have really liked a little more insight into her character since she could have proved to be a lot more interesting given the chance.

All of the secondary characters were basically used as tools to help us “get to know” Lucas and that didn’t really do anything to help me connect with him or any other characters.

in conclusion

This is overall a bit of a disappointment, with the writing and the setting it could have been a lot better but the plot and characters really put a damper on that. As I said I think I’ll check out Mabry’s future books since I did really enjoy her writing style.


This one is sort of up in the air for me as far as recommending goes. I wouldn’t necessarily recommend buying it but it might be something worth checking out from the library even if it’s just for the writing.

Links: Goodreads / Amazon

The Sassy


5 thoughts on “ARC Review: A Fierce and Subtle Poison by Samantha Mabry

  1. Michelle April 13, 2016 / 6:01 am

    That cover is really pretty, I’d probably pick it up just for that 😂 Sorry that the plot turned out to be a bummer, great review though!

    Liked by 1 person

    • thesassygeek April 13, 2016 / 3:01 pm

      Yes the cover IS gorgeous and so is the writing, thus I’m just so confused over my feelings on this book, haha. Thanks Michelle! 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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