Perfect for fans of Victoria Aveyard and Holly Black, this enthralling fantasy adventure 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 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 Kinder PoisonFeatured
While this book had a solid story and plot line, it was really the characters that made it shine. Zahru was phenomenal. I absolutely adored her character and the interactions with each heir. Her decisions always seemed realistic and very easy to connect with her character. There were so many instances that I chuckled because of her. Each heir was great in their own way. Sakira was not what I was expecting at all and I'm glad that she was added into this story. It wouldn't have been complete without her. Jet, of course, was exactly what you would expect him to be. But what made him stand out was that he wasn't always the good guy. I really liked the fact that he wasn't the "hero" but he realizes that. This fact is what makes him more likeable and realistic. And then there is Kasta. Oh, the conflicting feelings he makes you feel... which is exactly what he is suppose to make you feel. I was overly impressed with his character and how you can't decide whether or not you want to like him or want him to really turn into the villain? And then as I'm reading it, I realized how perfect all three of the heirs would be if they ruled together. UGH. These characters are so well written.
Overall, The Kinder Poison by Natalie Mae is a book you need to pick up if you like fantasy. I absolutely loved this book and it might be one of my favorites of the year. As the story progressed, I couldn't put the book down. I loved the idea of the Crossing and how Mae developed the plot and the characters. Even though I completely loved this story, it was the characters that made me obsessed. Zahru and her supporting cast is really what glued this whole book together and I cannot wait for the next book to come out. If you love fantasy, races, and royal sibling fights with a fun and witty dialogue - please do yourself a favor and pick up this book!
The god-king, the Mestrah, is dying and has invoked a deadly competition called The Crossing to choose which of his three children shall ascend to the throne. This race has them travel across the desert with checkpoints until they arrive at the final cave, where they shall sacrifice a human to gain power and be crowned as the champion and new Mestrah. To get a glimpse of all the finery and to eat the fantastic food there, Zahru and her friend Han have devised a plan to get Zahru a seat in the spectators section (Han already has a seat due to her magic) of where the three contestants will choose the two gifted individuals who will help them in the race.
However, the name they chose to put of Zahru's mother sets her on a course that she never would have chosen with potentially deadly consequences.
What I loved: The world and character building are really lush and immersive. The magic and mythology of this world are really unique and described enough to feel like the reader is transported there without knowledge dumps. The characters are beyond fantastic- they are three-dimensional and complex. They are all really engaging in different ways, including the three royals who are competing and those they choose as their helpers along the way. I love the way their backstories were all woven into the book and they came alive from the pages. Zahru's father, Fara, is another character that I grew to love, even though he hardly appears himself, through the stories that Zahru reveals about him.
The book has some really interesting themes about what makes a good leader, the value of human life, and the power of kindness. When we got to the part from where the title comes, it was incredible and so much begins to fit into place. The plot is all perfectly paced, and I love that we see the end of the race within the book- though the ending does have me eagerly awaiting the next installment (that ending is mind-blowing!). This is a book that gives all the feels, and I was very much there for it.
Final verdict: Highly compelling, unique, and lush, THE KINDER POISON is a delicious read for anyone who appreciates YA fantasy. Highly recommend for fans of THE GIRL OF FIRE AND THORNS, THE RED QUEEN, and AN EMBER IN THE ASHES. This book is not to be missed!