Review: The Poison Season by Mara Rutherford

Author: Mara Rutherford
Publisher: Inkyard Press
Released: December 6, 2022
Received: Own (OwlCrate)

3 1/2 kitties

Book Summary:

Endla is safe, but not for outsiders. The forest provides everything and is surrounded by a lake of death – quite literally. The lake that surrounds the island is poison, killing anything foolish enough to land in the waters.

This is the world that Leelo has always known. She grew up here. Yet the older she gets, the more she questions the way of her people. Why must they cast out those without magic? Leelo doesn’t want to lose her brother. Nor does she want to see outsiders die, or animals, for that matter. What if there was a different way?

My Review:

Wow. I’m not going to lie; The Poison Season was a bit of a tough read for me. I think it was partially the emotional state I was in at the time. I think the other part is the foundation of this story, which relies on animal (and human) sacrifices. It made for a heavy read, to put it mildly.

However, I have to admit that Mara Rutherford did a fantastic job writing this story. She’s a phenomenal writer, and it shows. (If you haven’t read her other works, you should check them out!). The world-building is by far the best part, even if it is pretty dark and horrifying at times.

Leelo’s journey for the truth was fascinating, especially when coupled with a secondary perspective – an outsider. The two POVs help to flesh out the world. There’s an obvious romantic subplot here, but it didn’t blow me away, I’m sad to say. Perhaps more character development would have changed my opinion. I’m not sure.


  • Magical Forest
  • Magical Songs

Trigger Warnings:

  • Animal death
  • Outcast
  • Poison
  • Drowning

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About Liz (AKA Cat)

I am an avid animal lover, photographer, reader, and much more. While my photography blog is feeling a bit neglected at the moment, the other sites I'm involved in are going strong. ✧I review books, comics, and basically anything else in the literary world over at Quirky Cat's Fat Stacks (of Books). ✧I review comics and books, as well as write content for Word of the Nerd. ✧I review comics for Monkeys Fighting Robots. ✧I write content for Screen Rant and CBR. ✧I write book reviews for The Review Crew.
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