Poison’s Kiss by Breeana Shields
Summary from Goodreads:
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.
Sometimes jet lag can be a good thing. Like when you have a really good book to read, so you don’t mind missing much needed sleep. This book had me in it’s grip almost from the first page. I couldn’t put it down, although I did eventually convince myself that I needed to sleep, around 2 am. I picked this one up because of a review I read and I was so glad that I did.
Marinda is a likable character who has lived a very difficult life. At times I did want to shake her and tell her to get her life together. But she is certainly a victim of her upbringing and I could forgive her much because of that. I loved her relationship with her brother Mani, how she cared so much for him and would do anything to save him, including killing others even when she feels that this is not quite right.
Deven was a good counterpart to Marinda, in that he was strong and sensible and not afraid to fight for what was right. Their relationship was fun to watch grow, and then crash and burn, only to rise stronger from the ashes.
The concept of a visha kanya, a poison maiden, was new to me, but totally fascinating. Especially all that Marinda had to go through to become one. What a horrible thing to do to a person, and especially a child. I’m not overly fond of snakes, but after reading this story, I am even less inclined to like them. Although I realize that the role the snakes play in Miranda’s life was not their choice either, I still didn’t like them.
The plot moves along at a break neck speed, with lots of twists and turns and surprises. The setting of a place similar to India made the plot more interesting. I highly recommend that you read the author’s note at the end. It explains how she got her ideas and some of the Indian folklore behind it. I love it when an author explains the origins of their stories.
I’m beginning to spot a trend in YA books with poison. This is the third book I’ve read this year where one of the characters is either poisonous herself and can kill with a touch or is very skilled in the art of poisoning others and also can’t be killed by poison.
Has any one else seen this trend? I can’t decide if this is a good thing or not. What are your thoughts? Leave them in the comments.