Series: Poison’s Kiss #1
Length: 304 pages
A teenage assassin kills with a single kiss until she is ordered to kill the one boy she loves. This commercial YA fantasy is romantic and addictive like– a poison kiss– and will thrill fans of Sarah J. Maas and Victoria Aveyard.
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.
This rich, surprising, and accessible debut is based in Indian folklore and delivers a story that will keep readers on the edge of their seats.
When I first saw the synopsis for POISON’S KISS, I was immediately intrigued. However, I was a bit wary as I tend to be when I see white authors writing about cultures that are not their own. (Note: this is not to mean that you should not give this book a chance—just be aware about the cultural insensitivities.) Overall, POISON’S KISS started off strong, but ended up being too irregular in terms of pacing and character development and lacked in the worldbuilding aspect.
The concept of this book was intriguing, but I felt like the execution could have been better. The book seemed to bring readers into the story too quickly without much introduction into the world and why the plot was happening. By the end, it was as if the author wanted to wrap everything up and throw in a cliffhanger in preparation for the next book.
That being said, the cultures and mythology on which this book was based seemed to not express the cultures as well as it could have been. A while ago, I read a review by Rashika @ Xpresso Reads about this book and its worldbuilding in particular. Rashika brings up a lot of points that I didn’t really notice until it was brought up to me as I am not familiar with the Indian cultures that the author was attempting to incorporate (since I am not Indian). I suggest reading this review if you want to gain a more thorough of the less than stellar worldbuilding and incorporation of Indian cultures in this book.
Don’t get me wrong, I did enjoy the romance and the multiple twists despite how quickly it seemed to progress. I really liked Deven, and the innumerable twists kept me reading. All in all, POISON’S KISS dragged due to the cultural insensitivities and was primarily based in a generic fantasy plot. I might consider reading the next book just to read about Deven and the defeat of the main antagonist (didn’t wanna spoil y’all!), but I would like if the next book improved the insensitivities enshrouded through the setting. Overall, do consider this book for its intriguing premise but just be aware of the cultural inaccuracies!