Series: Poison's Kiss, #1
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy
Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers
Rating: 4.5 out of 5 stars
Reading Challenge: #DiverseReads2017, #DebutAuthorChallenge
He knows what I am, what Gopal made me. A visha kanya, a poison maiden capable of killing with nothing more than a kiss as a weapon.
There are so many reasons why I chose to read this book.
- Female assassin
- Her weapon is her kiss
- A story steeped in Indian folklore
- All MCs are POCs
- It is a debut and I am participating in the Debut Authors Challenge
What can I say, I have a thing for female assassins. I was very captivated by this concept of an assassin. Marinda was not Celaena. She was not a fierce physical warrior, rather her body was made into a weapon (the process was quite unsettling to read about). She was also a reluctant assassin, forced into servitude when she was 5 years old, who never really questioned her purpose or who she served. This is where it get juicy, and I will not say more, because I would hate to spoil the story for you.
This book is based on Indian folklore, and I have always loved folklore and mythology. I was very excited to step into this world, as I am not well acquainted with Indian folklore. I did have expectations, though, because I live in a township with a high Indian population (Iselin, NJ - look it up), and know that this is a lavish and vibrant culture. Shields did not disappoint me at all. Her descriptions were quite rich. From the spices in the food and the smells of the market place, to the scenery and clothing worn, she created a very lush landscape for me to explore.
I really liked and empathized with Marinda. She was sold by her parents, turned into an assassin, and her only kisses have been for murderous reasons. Stuff like that can get a girl down, but she tried to find solace in loving Mani, her little brother. I liked that Shields had her struggling with her role as an assassin and her personal beliefs. This was important for me and retained that humanistic side of Marinda.
"Thank you," I say past the lump in my throat. Thank you for making me feel like a normal girl and not a poisoned one.
Yeah, I had a little lump in my throat too.
Seriously, sometimes being in Marinda's head broke my heart. She wasn't the only character I grew attached to though. I loved her little monkey, Mani. His relationship with Marinda was quite beautiful and he was just so adorable. And once Deven was added to the mix, it was nothing but smiles when the three of them interacted. I have to say that there was one character who I found really interesting - Iyla. Marinda and Iyla grew up together. Iyla was groomed to be the spy and Marinda was made into the assassin. Towards the end, when I got more details, I better understood their very complicated relationship, and really like the way Shields let it play out. I am hoping the next book will include more of the Marinda-Iyla friendship, as I want it to grow more and get back to where it once was.
"Her comment makes me wonder how much of our anger toward each other is because we've been looking through a window in the dark instead of in daylight - we thought we were seeing each other, but it turns out we were only seeing ourselves."
Sometimes, this friendship made me sad.
But getting back to Deven! Let's talk about the romance. Although the romance was not the crux of this story, it was part of it, and sort of the impetus for Marinda's initial acts of defiance. The romance was very sweet. Again, another complicated relationship, but I couldn't help but root for these two. I really, really wanted this for Marinda.
"I have kissed dozens of boys, but I have never been kissed. Until this moment I didn't know there was a difference. I didn't know kissing could be like this - like creating instead of destroying, like beginnings and not endings. Like melting. Like love."
This book had a lot to offer in terms of story. There was action, espionage, romance, and deception. I was all in from the start, and I pretty much tore through this book. The pacing was brisk and I was interested the from the beginning to the end.
So why 4.5 stars instead of 5? I was slightly put off by the very, very end of the book. The transition to the next phase of the story was a little awkward. It wasn't bad, but it did not flow as well as the rest of the book, and I was just staring at that last page slightly confused.
Overall: A fast paced adventure with lovely writing and interesting plot twists.
**I would like to thank Random House for the advanced copy of this book. Please be advised all quotes are from an advance reader's copy and may change in the finished book.
What are some of your favorite mythologies?
Let us know in the comments!
Let us know in the comments!