- Age Range: 12 - 17 years
- Grade Level: 7 - 9
- Hardcover: 304 pages
- Publisher: Random House Books for Young Readers (January 10, 2017)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 1101937823
- ISBN-13: 978-1101937822
- Product Dimensions: 5.8 x 1 x 8.6 inches
- Shipping Weight: 14.1 ounces (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 87 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #886,478 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Poison's Kiss Hardcover – January 10, 2017
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From School Library Journal
Gr 8 Up—Destined to slay the enemies of the Raja, Marinda has never questioned her role as a visha kanya ("poison maiden"). In the kingdom of Sundari, snake venom runs through the veins of the poison maiden, enabling her to fell a man with one fatal kiss. Wrenched from her family as a baby and transformed into a deadly assassin, the teen is convinced that her kill orders are protective measures taken to ensure the safety of a king she's never met. Gopal, her sadistic handler, manipulates Marinda into cooperating by threatening harm to her younger brother, Mani. Most of the boys she's killed are strangers, but when Marinda is asked to dispatch her friend Deven, she grows a conscience. In her bid to save Deven's life without having to compromise her brother's, Marinda desperately races against time to figure out whom she's been blindly serving all these years. With a rich tapestry of characters ranging from Kadru, a poison mistress, to Raja himself, Shields's first installment in a fantasy duology is intriguing if a little slow-paced. The author's easy co-optation of Indian and other cultural mythology, though, raises questions for discussion. The text is liberally peppered with Sanskrit, but there is no glossary for context, only an afterword, in which the author writes that "Sundari is not India, it is influenced by that culture and its mythology." Shields reimagines Garuda, "a birdlike creature," as female and also mixes in Egyptian mythology ("If the heart is as light as a feather, the person can enter the afterlife. If not, the heart is fed to a beast."). VERDICT The novel is moderately entertaining, but those seeking tighter pacing and more authentic storytelling based on Indian mythology should try Roshani Chokshi'sThe Star-Touched Queen.—Lalitha Nataraj, Escondido Public Library, CA
"This is quick and addictive...the sequel won't come quickly enough." -Booklist
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But that was before Marinda got to know one of her marks--and this time, she'll have to decide exactly how willing she is to follow orders or follow her heart.
Marinda's relationship with her brother was well-drawn, and her background was heart-breaking. I thought her interior conflict was believable, and I loved the complicated relationship with Deven. The pacing was fast and enjoyable, and I'm looking forward to seeing where the series goes in the next book!
The thing I appreciated the most due to Shields superb execution is her vastly complex characters. Each character had many layers to them, and as a reader, you are forced to accept these characters as they come. It was hard to gain a concrete connection to some of them because of their erratic behavior and multiple motivational driving forces. While some may see that as a negative, I see it as a challenge. It put me on edge at all times because I was always trying to guess what would a character do next. You have Ilya who is beautiful and is able to lie easily, so you're always questioning who has her fealty. You also have the enigmatic Deven, Marinda's love interest, who's gentleman ways tend to distract you from him trying to complete his mission. Then we have the infamous Gopal, Marinda's "handler". He's the one who utilizes her skills in regards of the Kingdom. He's ruthless in his control and uses a web of lies to govern Marinda into submission. Gita is also an enigma because she plays as both Marinda's surrogate mother figure and also manages her behavior when Gopal isn't around. And lastly, we have Kadru, the snake charmer who's past is both mysterious and intriguing to say the least.
Shields does a fantastic job at interweaving Marinda's internal dialogue with the many plot-twists and pivotal events throughout the story. We come to find that Marinda will stop at nothing to protect her brother Mani from harm. In her quest to uncover the secrets behind her role as executioner, she begins to see what failing at protecting Mani truly entails. This sends her into overdrive and we see our protagonist truly tested.
What I also admired about the story was the amount of research Shields did to help build her solid and fascinating world. A lot of her world is built on Indian folklore and culture, however, her world is uniquely her own. Folklore has always interested me and I find ones from other cultures to be even more fascinating, since they aren't my own. Marinda's role as visha-kanya and the backstory of the many Raja's and their history were deeply entrancing and I couldn't wait to see more details coalesced into the story.
Poison's Kiss by Breeana Shields is a story about love, betrayal, loss, a journey of self-discovery, and staying true to ones own beliefs. Filled with mysterious Indian mythology, we find ourselves immersed in Shields' world. Once you dive in to the story, you will be hard pressed not to want to finish the book in one sitting. This is definitely the ultimate page-turner.
I missed an opportunity to hear the author speak due to misunderstanding the time. Originally I had thought it would be fun just to hear an author speak but now I'm tempted to travel to Idaho to hear her speak again. I would love to know more about the legends, her research, and how the story came together. It's so exciting and I'm anxiously awaiting her future books.
This story is set in the fictitious land of Sundari, a place that is influenced by India and its myths and culture and I have to say I really loved that aspect. The backstory and culture that Shields created is very rich and is something new. The idea of a girl who is toxic and can kill with a kiss was something really interesting so I really loved reading about that aspect and what it actually means to have that. I enjoyed following Marinda and seeing how she changes throughout the story. She is very naive, through no fault of her own, but as her eyes are opened to what she is, how she was raised, and what she has to do, you see the inner strength that she has and she becomes more than a pawn.
This was a book I breezed through and I cannot wait to read the follow up book.
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Genre: YA Fantasy
Recommended Age: 16+ (sexual references, violence, slight gore)
Author Website...Read more
What an engrossing read!Read more