A Fierce and Subtle Poison by Samantha MabryA Fierce and Subtle Poison by Samantha Mabry

A Fierce and Subtle Poison

bySamantha Mabry

Hardcover | April 12, 2016

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Legends collide with reality when a boy is swept into the magical, dangerous world of a girl filled with poison.

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 lush Caribbean island garden. Some say she can grant wishes; some say her touch can kill. Seventeen-year-old Lucas spends summers with his hotel-developer father in Puerto Rico, and he’s grown up hearing the stories. When letters from the cursed girl mysteriously appear in his room the same day his girlfriend disappears, Lucas turns to Isabel for answers—and finds himself lured into her strange and enchanted world. But the more entangled Lucas becomes with Isabel, the less certain he is of escaping with his own life.

“A breathtaking story in which myths come to frightening life and buried wishes might actually come true.” —Nova Ren Suma, author of The Walls Around Us and Imaginary Girls
“Samantha Mabry’s magical debut is both a chilling mystery and a heartbreaking meditation on love, longing, and sacrifice . . . A Fierce and Subtle Poison will get into your blood.” —Laura Ruby,  author of Bone Gap
“With its sparklingly sinister blend of natural history and magic, of themes that seem both modern and timeless, A Fierce and Subtle Poison gets under the skin.”—Chicago Tribune
Samantha Mabry credits her tendency toward magical thinking to her Grandmother Garcia, who would wash money in the kitchen sink to rinse off any bad spirits. She teaches writing and Latino literature at a community college in Dallas, where she lives with her husband, a historian, and a cat named Mouse. She is the author of A Fierce and...
Title:A Fierce and Subtle PoisonFormat:HardcoverDimensions:288 pages, 8.25 × 5.5 × 1 inPublished:April 12, 2016Publisher:Algonquin BooksLanguage:English

The following ISBNs are associated with this title:

ISBN - 10:1616205210

ISBN - 13:9781616205218


Rated 4 out of 5 by from Good Peculiar storyline that took a little bit to develop. Like the novel overall though!
Date published: 2018-07-30
Rated 2 out of 5 by from Don't judge a book by its cover! I admit that I am guilty of buying this book because the cover and title appealed to me. However, I expected to love it from the blurb and was ultimately disappointed by the story which seemed weirdly random and chaotic.Some of the elements that are supposed to come through as magic realism did not have the enchanting effect I have experienced with stronger reads.
Date published: 2017-07-24
Rated 4 out of 5 by from Loved this I love novels like this where there is considerable time taken to develop characters and plot. this is a good read.
Date published: 2017-02-28
Rated 3 out of 5 by from Review from Giselle at Book Nerd Canada A finished copy was provided by the publisher for review. I was a little torn with this one which is why I'm rating it in the middle.. I liked it and disliked certain aspects. For one, it's very dragging. Hardly anything happens until later on in the book. And it was enough for me to keep from DNFing which is saying something because I actually did enjoy her writing. I also loved the setting because I've been to San Juan myself and can picture the streets as easily as it were in the book. The heat and the humidity felt very real. The descriptions of the trees and even the flowers, the feel of the sand beneath the characters' toes. Yep it felt like I was transported back there and I loved it. I also liked the magical aspects of it, but i felt it was also so problematic at the same time. Problematic because I always have an issue with magical realism. Because my thoughts will twist and turn and ask questions like, "WHERE DID THEY GET THESE POWERS? WHY IS IT ONLY HER WHO HAS IT? HOW IS SHE STILL COPING WITH THIS? HOW COME NO ONE KNOWS? etc." It drives me a little crazy, so eventually I give up asking myself all these questions and proceed to accept the authors portrayal of what was happening. The main character is from a male foreigner's point of view. But I also think it could have benefited from Isabel's point of view. Sometimes seeing it from one side doesn't give an all-around sense of story. "A Fierce and Subtle Poison" gave me mixed emotions, but I also can't get this cover out of my head. It really depicts the story very well and the cover designer did a wonderful job.
Date published: 2016-09-08

Editorial Reviews

“With its sparklingly sinister blend of natural history and magic, of themes that seem both modern and timeless, A Fierce and Subtle Poison gets under the skin.” – Chicago Tribune “A breathtaking story in which myths come to frightening life and buried wishes might actually come true.” —Nova Ren Suma, author of The Walls Around Us and Imaginary Girls “Samantha Mabry’s magical debut is both a chilling mystery and a heartbreaking meditation on love, longing and sacrifice...A Fierce and Subtle Poison will get into your blood.” —Laura Ruby, author of Bone Gap "Mabry cultivates a rich setting, offering lush descriptions of the island, its stories, and the sharp divide between the old world and the incoming new one, characterized by swift modernization and the careless destruction of history. Perfect for fans of Carlos Ruiz Zafón’s atmospheric Marina.” —Sarah Hunter, Booklist"[Mabry] steeps her debut novel in compelling Caribbean folklore and a lush, evocative setting...Fans of open-ended, atmospheric stories will enjoy the chilling suspense." —Kirkus Reviews"Inspired by Hawthorne’s ‘Rappaccini’s Daughter,’ debut author Mabry blends magical realism with mystery in the story of Lucas Knight, the 17-year-old son of a hotel developer spending his summers in San Juan. Mabry smoothly joins dreamy, fever-induced scenes with the lore of “la ciguapa,” a beautiful creature that leads men to insanity or death with a kiss, and her atmospheric ending guarantees goose bumps." —Publishers Weekly“A Fierce and Subtle Poison is a great doorway into magical realism; it uses many of the genre's tropes in a way that feels both modern and self-aware…It's an impressive work; Mabry manages to combine a very romantic view of Puerto Rico with a critique of the poison that is sown by objectifying indigenous peoples and places. The book approaches its themes thoughtfully and with a visceral sense of place: Hurricane winds and the patter of rain against thick leaves are the driving rhythms at its heart. Readers looking for a different kind of fairytale and a sensuous setting will enjoy this foray into a strange and troubled garden.” — NPR.org