The Cruelest Mercy

Age Range
Release Date
June 15, 2021
After surviving the Crossing, Zahru has sworn off adventures. While Crown Prince Jet navigates the looming threat of war, she's content to simply figure out what the future holds for them. But they're dealt a devastating blow when prince Kasta returns with a shocking claim: he's the true winner of the Crossing and the rightful heir, and he bears the gods' mark as proof. Even more surprising—he's not the only one.

Somehow, Zahru possesses the very same mark, giving her equal right to the throne. The last thing she wants is to rule beside her would-be executioner, but she can't let Orkena fall into his merciless hands. So Zahru, Jet, and their allies must race against the clock to find a way to stop Kasta, because once he's crowned, there's no telling what horrors he'll unleash to win the war.

Zahru will do whatever it takes to keep Kasta from taking the throne...but to stop a villain, is she willing to become one herself?

Editor review

1 review
The Cruelest Mercy by Natalie Mae - Book and Audio Review
Overall rating
Writing Style
To say that this book was one of my most anticipated releases for 2021 is an understatement. After the impact of The Kinder Poison, I’ve been waiting to get my hands on this book. And it definitely did not disappoint. The tone was definitely different than the first book, which isn’t bad but I’m not sure if I enjoyed it as much. Don’t get me wrong, I loved this book and I already can’t wait to reread it – but if you are going in expecting the same thing from the first book, you won’t get it. However, the difference was absolutely necessary and it led to some interesting plot developments. First, our main girl Zahru is finally getting the recognition she deserves. I thought it was very interesting that her and Kasta both have the mark of the God which gives them equal rights to the throne. The challenges that they have to face are not easy ones and throughout the whole time, Zahru is trying to prove that Kasta isn’t right to rule. Some of the development was exactly how I imagined it to be but it wasn’t disappointing at all. I enjoyed every step of the way and I cannot wait to see what the outcome is in book three. It was interesting to see the powers of Mestrah and how a lower magic, Whisperer, is close to the magic of a God. Things take a darker turn which i don’t like but I totally get and I just hope that everything works itself out in book 3.

Along with a fantastic story, it really is the characters that drive this book. I seriously love Zahru so freaking much. Her character cracks me up throughout the whole book and there is just so much about her that makes her stand out. She gets paranoid as the book goes on and as the summary suggest, how far is she willing to go to stop Kasta? Her relationship with Jet is strained at some points especially because his whole life is shifting. Listen, I am Team Jet. I know most are Team Kasta and I get it, I really do… but Jet deserves all the good things as he has tried so hard to become a better person. Also, he gave up the life he really wanted twice now and let him just be happy with Zahru. The first book really pulls of the heart strings for Kasta and his actions were not surprising to me in the book. It was a little annoying that Zahru wouldn’t really see reasoning to Kasta. I get it, he tried to sacrifice Zahru but right before she made him promise to be the King that she wanted him to be. If this was Sakira would she have been treating her the same? As you can see from the rambling there is a lot unsolved here and I’m super curious on how our trio is going to fare in book three. Can I also mention that I love how much Hen is in this book?

Overall, The Cruelest Mercy by Natalie Mae was such an amazing sequel. Book 2 always brings feelings and problems to the surface to be solved in book 3 and this book did just that. The tone of this book was different than the first but it set up everything perfectly, wondering what was going to happen the whole way through. Even though I enjoyed this story thoroughly, it really are the characters that drive this book. Zahru is absolutely amazing and I love her so much. While her character does drift a little darker in this one and paranoia creeps up on her, she still maintains her funny self that just wants to eat all the delicious food. I am still holding out for Jet, even though I know most people will drift even more towards Kasta but only time will tell! I highly recommend this book for anyone who enjoys fantasy and magic with characters that will keep you smiling the whole way through.

NOTE: The narration does not affect my review of the book
If you like audiobooks then do yourself a favor and pick this up. If you don’t usually listen to audiobooks but want to start somewhere, pick this up. Seriously. Jesse Vilinsky does such an amazing job and I’m just blown away by her performance. Every second of it was just so well done and she really brings these characters to life. She was the perfect person to narrate Zahru and bring her story to life. I highly, highly, highly, recommend this audio – it is so easy to follow along.
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