Review: ‘Poison Fruit’ by Jacqueline Carey


The Pemkowet Visitors Bureau has always promoted paranormal tourism — even if it has downplayed the risks (hobgoblins are unpredictable). It helps that the town is presided over by Daisy Johanssen, who as Hel’s liaison is authorized by the Norse goddess of the dead to keep Pemkowet under control. Normally, that’s easier to do in the winter, when bracing temperatures keep folks indoors.

But a new predator is on the prowl, and this one thrives on nightmares. Daisy is on her trail and working intimately with her partner and sometime lover from the Pemkowet PD, sexy yet unavailable werewolf Cody Fairfax. But even as the creature is racking up innocent victims, a greater danger looms on Pewkowet’s horizon.

As a result of a recent ghost uprising, an unknown adversary — represented by a hell-spawn lawyer with fiery powers of persuasion — has instigated a lawsuit against the town. If Pemkowet loses, Hel’s sovereignty will be jeopardized, and the fate of the eldritch community will be at stake. The only one who can prevent it is Daisy — but she’s going to have to confront her own worst nightmare to do it.

Poison Fruit is the third and apparently final book in the Agents of Hel series by unfairly talented speculative fiction writer Jacqueline Carey. You can read it as a stand-alone novel, but you’ll get more out of it if you read at least the previous book, if not the entire series.

Of course, I just reviewed the second book earlier this month, and a lot of what I said then is still true here. The love square has thinned down to a love triangle (and boy, what a triangle!), but we still have the chatty, cranky, awesome Daisy and her Scooby Gang friends.

Reading about them was like coming home.

For something different, here’s a handy list of different reasons I loved this book (and the series).

Things I loved about Poison Fruit

  • Daisy and her mother are so sweet with each other. Also, Daisy’s surrogate aunt, Lurine, is seriously badass but calls Daisy the most adorable pet names. I have a bit of a crush on Lurine, tbh.
  • Jen, Daisy’s best friend, makes with the best friend realtalk. And sends embarrassing texts on Daisy’s phone when they are drunk. So real.
  • There’s Cody and Stefan, who are the two other points of the love triangle. I had my personal favourite, however — and it wasn’t the one I’d usually go for. #TeamCody
  • When one of the love triangle points broke it off with Daisy and then got jealous, she told him not to be a jackass. Jealousy is not a sexy character trait, people!
  • Daisy screws up, sometimes in a very big way, but she owns it.
  • The supernatural community of Pemkowet is a big old jumble. I was going to say a melting pot, but there’s definitely no melting together here. There’s Hel, the Norse deity; a hell-spawn lawyer who works for the Greek diety, Hades; various cranky seelie fairies; a surprisingly chill unseelie bogle; a wonderfully diverse witch’s coven; and a ton more. It’s chaotic and nonsensical and I loved it!

Things I didn’t like as much

  • The book meanders and explores a few sub-plots while the big plot plays out sooooooo slooowly. About three-quarters of the way through I was, like, LET’S GET TO THE SHOWDOWN, PEOPLE! But then we did and it was glorious.

Read these books.


Four stars

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