Saturday, February 24, 2018

Poison's Kiss

Poison's Kiss
Breeana Shields

This was one of my most anticipated books last year, but like many things, it got swept off to the side when other, new, shiny books kept coming out. In fact, it was only that I got an ARC of book two (that review coming soon) that finally convinced me to sit down and read this one. Most of the reading was done while I was traveling and I can, one hundred percent, say this is a perfect book for flights and train rides because it's quick, easy to digest, and has a really solid main character and setting to get lost in.

The world building is subtle but immediate: it's Indian-inspired, but also feels distant enough from our real world to be a fantasy world. There's not an abundance of magic or gods or any rules that have to come with them, but the flavor of mysticism that this book carries doesn't need those things. It's similar to something like Caraval in that the rules some characters play by are magical without being Sanderson-level complicated, and without needing a degree to really understand. Because of this, the setting is really allowed to shine and be lush and dark as needed.

One of my favorite parts was Marinda, our protagonist. She's the most fully developed of the characters, but because it's such a quick book and she's easily the most important, I didn't feel like the story suffered for everyone else's "less-ness" of characterization. Marinda is immediately easy to click with and to sympathize with- she's a sweetheart and strong in her own way. And, at least in my interpretation of the book, she's coming from an abusive home, so her world has been colored by that type of setting. I mention this because I've seen reviews annoyed at how dumb she can be, and that's certainly a way to read her character and an opinion to have, I won't fight you on that, but I really do think a lot of the things she falls for and believes has to do with the fact that she was raised by awful people, in an awful place, under awful circumstances. There wasn't anything healthy to her growing up, and even living on her own she's still under their thumb.

Like I mentioned, though, the other characters aren't as fleshed out. I wasn't annoyed by it, particularly knowing I have the sequel waiting for me to read immediately, but they're definitely not going to stick around in my memory very long. Mani is adorable and not annoying, like kid characters can sometimes be; Deven is kind and supportive and probably a really good guy to be in a relationship with, but also definitely someone who needs more depth in the next book for his arc to really be worth anything; and Iyla is great if not used enough and I'm so excited that she narrates half the story of book two.

Romance, while a theme in this book, definitely takes the back seat to the plot. It's there and it definitely warmed my heart, but I loved that this wasn't what drove Marinda to any of her actions. Instead, it's her love for her brother that guides her, and anything else can be thrown to the wayside in exchange for his safety, something I appreciated a bunch. It's been a while since I've read a character who really, really feels like they are putting their sibling first and not just saying that for the audience.

But otherwise, plot is thin and straightforward. It's a relatively simple and easy book, which I appreciated a lot for the time I was reading it. I don't know if it's something I could ever go back and read and appreciate, though, which is definitely somewhat of a negative. There was also a bit more fluff than probably needed to be for something so thin a read, but, again, I didn't really mind it.
TL;DR Subtle world building, a great main character, and a plot driven by something other than romance is a refreshing breath of air in YA right now. Five stars if it had reread potential, but the plot is paper thin.

A teenage assassin kills with a single kiss until she is ordered to kill the one boy she loves..
Marinda has kissed dozens of boys. They all die afterward. It's a miserable life, but being a visha kanya, a poison maiden, is what she was created to do. Marinda serves the Raja by dispatching his enemies with only her lips as a weapon.
Until now, the men she was ordered to kiss have been strangers, enemies of the kingdom. Then she receives orders to kiss Deven, a boy she knows too well to be convinced he needs to die. She begins to question who she's really working for. And that is a thread that, once pulled, will unravel more than she can afford to lose.
Breeana Shields is an author of young adult fantasy. Her first two books, POISON'S KISS and POISON'S CAGE, are out now from Random House BFYR.

When she’s not writing, Breeana loves reading, playing board games and spending time with her husband, her three children and two extremely spoiled dogs. She lives in the Pacific Northwest, where it drizzles, rains or pours nine months of the year, but then transforms into paradise during the other three. She’s willing to make the trade-off.
Book cover linked to Goodreads. Book cover, author info, and description taken from Goodreads.


  1. I am a fan of this series. I was really happy with Poison's Cage. The ending was everything! I hope you are enjoying it.

    1. I thought it was a really perfect read for my mood.


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