Like her mother before her, Anastacia has found her way into Dawn's End to complete a quest, this time to defeat the evil wizard Kaie. Kaie and her henchmen have been ravaging Dawn's End by importing the least favorable aspects of the outworld, Anastacia's world, including violence and disease, while ravaging the countryside as bandits that snatch, torment and murder travellers. Anastacia joins a rag tag band of heroes: a bumbling wizard and his capable wife, a philandering wanderer and a panther, and are joined by several others in their quest. But defeating the wizard will require that Anastacia pay a terrible price.
Dawn's End: Poisoned is much darker than the first book, but it is also more cohesive. Much of the sexuality and violence is off scene, but it might be too dark for young teens. There is also a lot of Narnia in the book, with evil witches, magic, quests and talking animals, as well as the alternate world fantasy story, which should please some readers who are looking for similar books. Anastacia is also a much stronger character than Nicole from the previous book. Though the themes of loss and overcoming grief are also part of this book, the author has also introduced the conflict between anger and forgiveness, and this book is much stronger than the first. I recommended this for readers looking for an adventurous, alternate world fantasy, told mainly from the point of view of a female heroine.
When Anastasia travels to Lucerne, Switzerland, to attend a wedding and stumbles upon a different reality, new information tears apart her ideas of family and self. Why did her mother, Nicole, give her a history of lies? When she learns the truth about her parents, she must decide whether to risk her life by following in their footsteps. Like them, she has the chance to save Dawn's End, her birthplace. But, evil beings beyond her comprehension will not hesitate to kill her if she tries. Her secret legacy may be the only chance to set Dawn's End right, deal with her anger and grief, and discover who she really is.