G. Bianco, 2019
In Natalie Mae’s debut novel, one girl gets tangled up in three royals’ quest for the crown. Just released on June 16th, The Kinder Poison blends YA fantasy and magic into a spellbinding new series for YA fans to sink their teeth into.
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 and be granted unparalleled abilities. 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. Zahru is left with only one hope for survival: somehow figuring out how to overcome the most dangerous people in the world.
The way Mae creates this world of kingdoms, magic, and sacrifices is amazing. The types of magicians there are and the different regions within the kingdom are well thought out and really fascinating to read about. The plot itself was engaging to read about. The way Zahru’s story starts and where it ends up is a rollercoaster that isn't even close to being over by the book's conclusion, yet the idea of the Crossing and being around people she never thought she’d interact with makes it even more fun to read about!
The way Zahru thinks and sees each royal child’s point of view, hopes, and dreams really shows that people aren't just black and white. The theme of shaping one’s destiny and forging your path in life is so important to the core of this novel. Zahru is strong, intelligent, and yet so scared of what will happen during the Crossing. She oddly seems to be a culmination of all of the royals out to win the Crossing and it just makes her, as a character, even more interesting.
Overall, this is a great start to a new series that any fans of Holly Black or Suzanne Collins would enjoy! This is a great addition to your summer reading list and I will definitely be keeping my eye out for the sequel in the future!
*I received an ARC from PenguinTeen in exchange for my honest opinion.
Hi! My name is Elisa and my bookshelf is quite literally overflowing! Join me in my journey of reading as many books as humanly possible!