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From Barnes & NobleThe Barnes & Noble Review
Aesop's Fables meets Roger Corman's Little Shop of Horrors in The Poison Diaries, a decidedly dark parable about an evil apothecary and his ill-treated apprentice that features brilliantly macabre illustrations by acclaimed Disney artist and designer Colin Stimpson.
Weed is an orphan who is taken in by a sadistic apothecary, known only as the master, and proves to be a promising apprentice with a natural ability for the craft. Eventually, Weed's master takes him to a secret walled garden containing some of the most dangerous poisonous plants in the world. In later solitary visits to the garden, however, Weed realizes that the vegetation can communicate with him, and as he learns more about each individual plant, he also discovers precisely how the utilization of each plant's poison can gruesomely put an end to someone's life. The tremendous danger surrounding Weed's education in poisons is tragically underscored when his girlfriend, Marigold, after listening to Weed's far-from-expert instructions, experiments with belladonna and dies. Overwhelmed with grief, Weed blames his master for the death and, finally taking the advice of all the plants in the secret garden, prepares to enact vengeance…
Including incredibly detailed illustrations (à la National Audubon Society field guides) of a variety of poisonous plants -- belladonna, ricin, mandrake, hemlock, ergot, et al. -- The Poison Diaries is equal parts nightmarish fable, instructive botanical guide, and not-so-subtle cautionary tale. Fans of illustrated works like Brom's The Plucker will absolutely cherish this twisted and toxic tale. Paul Goat Allen