Wednesday, January 20, 2016

Review: Poison by Lan Chan

Book & Author details:

Poison by Lan Chan
(Wind Dancer #1)
Publication date: September 1st 2015
Genres: Dystopia, Young Adult

Since the night her mother was murdered, sixteen-year-old Rory Gray has known one truth: There are no good Seeders.
In post-apocalyptic Australia, the scientists known as Seeders have built a Citadel surrounded by food-producing regions and populated with refugees from the wars and famine. To maintain their control, the Seeders poisoned the land and outlawed the saving of seeds.
It’s been six years since Rory graced the Seeders’ circus stage as the Wind Dancer and still the scars on her body haven’t healed. Even worse are the scars on her heart, left by a Seeder boy who promised to protect her.
Now the Seeders are withholding supplies from Rory’s region for perceived disobedience. Utilising the Wanderer knowledge she received from her mother, Rory must journey to the Citadel through uninhabitable terrain to plead for mercy.
However, the Citadel isn’t as Rory remembered. The chief plant geneticist is dying and rumours fly that the store of viable seed is dwindling. The Seeders are desperate to find a seed bank they believe Rory can locate, and they will stop at nothing to get it.
To defy the Seeders means death. But Rory has been close to death before–this time she’s learned the value of poison.
Recommended for fans of The Hunger Games, Divergent, strong protagonists, minority characters, circuses and nature!


So, let’s start with the things I loved about this book. I loved the characters. I thought they were well formed, realistic, flawed, gritty and very, very human. I thought they had great chemistry and I loved that not one of them were “super” heroes, just really good at some things. I loved that it took place in Australia. Very few books actually take place down under, so it was nice to see a resident of the country make it come alive for those of us not very familiar with the area. I loved the backstory of how this new dystopian society came to be. I loved that Ms. Chan didn’t back down from graphic and gritty story telling.

My issues with the book… Although I realize many people do not feel the same as me, I really dislike first person present narratives. Again, this is a pet peeve of mine – the reason I dislike it, is for me, unless it is executed so incredibly well it’s frightening, I have a VERY hard time connecting with the characters. Let me say, Lan Chan does do a very good job; however, there were times when the setting was hard to grasp. Sometimes I felt as if we were jumping around very quickly. A few more sentences of description and I would have known exactly where I was and what was happening.

Over all, I really enjoyed this book, despite my pet peeve.  It was a beautifully executed plot, with complex characters that I loved and hated. I look forward to seeing how the series continues and where the journey continues to lead. 

Lan Chan is a writer, gardener and professional procrastinator based in Melbourne, Australia. She is still waiting for her super powers to manifest but until then she writes young adult novels featuring strong female protagonists, minority characters and has a particular interest in dystopias and urban fantasy. Lan’s debut novel POISON, the first in her WIND DANCER series is due for release in September 2015.

Author links:


  1. Great review, Shannon! This sounds like a great read. I have the same difficulty with 3rd person - people seem to be fans of one or the other :) Glad you liked it overall, though!

    1. Thank you :) LOL! 3rd is my preference to read. Proof that there is room for all of us, and in all the formats. But yes, it was a great read.