“Poison’s Kiss” by Breeana Shields
Random House Books for Young Readers, 304 pages, $17.99, Jan. 2017, Goodreads
With likeable characters, a high-stake romance, and a story steeped in Indian mythology Breeana Shields has created an adventure, which is sure to capture audiences whether they be young or older adults.
What made me first want to pick this story up was Shields’ use of Indian mythology to set the stage for her visha kanya main character, Marinda. As a visha kanya, Marinda can kiss anyone and within a few hours they’re dead. She’s the perfect assassin. The space between the kiss and the kill is enough to allow her deniable plausibility and there is no evidence, so she can’t be suspected.
Marinda hates that she’s been a killer since she was young. She’s always told herself that the men that she killed in the name of the Raja deserved to die. That is until she is ordered to kill a boy she knows, and who is a good, kind, gentle person. Her whole world is turned upside down as she starts to question all that she has done, but she gains her footing as she takes control of all that she decides she will do.
What I liked about this book was not only the Indian mythology, which started to pique my interest when I first read “An Ember in the Ashes” by Sabaa Tahir, but I like Shields ability to set the stakes high for Marinda and those people around her. In order to care, though; for a character that has much to lose you have to make them likeable and I found every character to be likeable, or when applicable, unlikable.
Shields’ prose is also fine tuned, which doesn’t waste the readers’ times with details that aren’t important. Another thing done well in this book is the mystery behind the organization that Marinda kills for. So, not only is their love, but there is mystery and intrigue as well.
The love story is all at once sweet, innocent and deadly and I found the two lovers really easy to root for. In fact, all the relationships in this book, whether they be positive or negative, are extremely well written and are very diverse. There’s not just romantic love, but familial love, along with familial betrayal and distrust. The complexity of the characters sits nicely with the complications of the characters’ interactions.
Honestly, the only thing I didn’t like about this book was that it ended, but even that was done well. Shields has ended “Poison’s Kiss” ripe and ready for the sequel, which I personally cannot wait for.
Breeana Shields can be found on Goodreads, on Twitter at @BreeanaShields and on Instagram at @breeanashields. As of right now there is no information regarding “Poison’s Kiss”‘s sequel.