THE TASTERS GUILD by Susannah Appelbaum

THE TASTERS GUILD

From the "Poisons of Caux" series, volume 2
by & illustrated by
Age Range: 9 - 12
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KIRKUS REVIEW

Fertile settings drown in swollen prose. This middle installment follows Ivy and Rowan though the land of Caux and into the alternate realm of Pimcaux, where Caux’s exiled king is ill. Ivy’s destiny, as the long-prophesied Noble Child, is to cure the king with her poisoning/healing skills and bring him back to Caux. Top evildoer Verjouce seeks an ancient, addictive plant—“scourge bracken,” aka “Kingmaker”—for magical inks and world dominion; Ivy ingests some and it poisons her soul. Appelbaum’s ideas are lush (poison; vivid insects and plants; trestlemen and alewives living under bridges to guard water; Flower Language) and could have vitalized her borrowed fantasy tropes (absolute good and evil; one noble child; predictable parentage revelation; Kingmaker’s similarity to Tolkien’s One Ring), if not for the prose’s thick brew of modifiers. Swarming adverbs and adjectives, an awkwardly elevated narrative voice and choppy flow suffocate freshness. Physical traits (blindness especially) embody evil. Interesting concepts, but more like Ivy’s poisons than her potions. (Flower Language glossary) (Fantasy. 9-12)
Pub Date: Aug. 10th, 2010
ISBN: 978-0-375-85174-2
Page count: 384pp
Publisher: Random House
Review Posted Online:
Kirkus Reviews Issue: July 15th, 2010




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