Title: The Kinder Poison
Author: Natalie Mae
Pub Date: 06/16/20
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy Romance
Edition: ARC (Advanced Reader’s Copy)
Perfect for fans of Victoria Aveyard and Holly Black, The Kinder Poison is an enthralling fantasy adventure that follows a teenage girl chosen to be the human sacrifice in a deadly game between three heirs who will do anything for the crown.
Zahru has long dreamed of leaving the kingdom of Orkena and having the kinds of adventures she’s only ever heard about in stories. But as a lowly Whisperer, her power to commune with animals means that her place is serving in the royal stables until the day her magic runs dry.
All that changes when the ailing ruler invokes the Crossing. A death-defying race across the desert, in which the first of his heirs to finish–and take the life of a human sacrifice at the journey’s end–will ascend to the throne. With all of the kingdom abuzz, Zahru leaps at the chance to change her fate if just for a night by sneaking into the palace for a taste of the revelry. But the minor indiscretion turns into a deadly mistake when she gets caught up in a feud between the heirs and is forced to become the Crossing’s human sacrifice.
Now Zahru’s only hope for survival hinges on the impossible: somehow figuring out how to overcome the most dangerous people in the world.
I won the author’s giveaway for this ARC of The Kinder Poison and a key chain of Jet’s sword 🤩. I’d been wanting to read this book since I first read the excerpt on Bookishfirst in March, so I was ecstatic that I won. And for good reason because this book is amazing y’all!!!!!!
Within the first 70 pages, you keep thinking how could Zahru’s luck get worse. And then it does. And then it does again, and you’re laughing because you can’t believe one person could be that unlucky. I mean she goes from sneaking into the palace to becoming the human sacrifice in a race between the heirs of Orkena. I loved Zahru’s character as she struggles throughout the book with coming to terms with being just a Whisperer which isn’t as desirable as other specialties. I think it’s cool, but I have to admit soundbending and creating magic are just a tad bit cooler. I really enjoyed the scenes when she started realizing that she had nothing to lose and started speaking her mind. She was a force to be reckoned with even though the heirs had the power to kill her. And yet she was still kind above all else, even to her own detriment.
This book was high action, and there were several jaw-dropping, heart-pounding fight scenes. I forgot while reading this that all the heirs are teenagers because they feel older, but I think it’s the competition to become the ruler that causes them to have to behave older (besides Sakira). I constantly felt like I shouldn’t like Kasta, but there was something more to him besides just paranoia. He infuriated me, and yet I felt bad for him and sometimes even agreed with him. He’s so intelligent that it makes him dangerous. His scenes with Zahru were some of the most intense moments in the book, and I never knew how to feel after them. Mae wrote such complex characters, and she forces you to decide for yourself how to feel about them which I genuinely love to see in books.
Overall, The Kinder Poison was so hard to put down as it was filled with action, sacrifice, romance, decision-making, and betrayal. I can’t wait for the next book as I was not ready to give up these characters at the end. There’s so much more I could say about this book, but it’s so hard to talk about all the great parts without spoiling it, so I highly recommend you pick this one up. Links to purchase the book are below!
The world building in this was fascinating! I like how we were slowly introduced to all of the different specialties and the different kingdoms. I also enjoyed reading about the class disparities within the kingdom of Orkena.
Zahru – Her transformation during this book was beautiful to witness. She went from being just a little daring to full blown adventurous and fierce. She’s not afraid to stick up for what she believes and you definitely want her on your side.
Melia – I knew immediately I would love her as she’s headstrong and loyal. She holds the people she loves to a higher standard that makes everyone around her better. I just wanted the best for her.
Marcus — A gentle giant, the definition of a ride-or-die (technically he’s legally obligated to follow Jet, but his heart was very much in it).
Notable mentions: Maia (deserved to be treated better), Jet (I fell in love oops), and Kit (actually sweet)
Some of the plot points were predictable, but it never took away from the experience. The book was still totally enjoyable as it was more about the journey (considering it was a race) than the destination. But the destination was the real shock as I did not see the ending coming at all. It fit the book perfectly and leaves you wanting to know all about the aftermath.
Natalie Mae is an ex-programmer, dark chocolate enthusiast, and author of young adult novels. She has also been a freelance editor and a Pitch Wars mentor, and she feels it notable to mention she once held a job where she had to feed spiders. When not writing, she can be found wandering the Colorado wilderness with her family. Find her on Twitter and Instagram and online at her website nataliemaebooks.