The Kinder Poison by Natalie Mae
The Kinder Poison is set in the magical country of Orkena, where your magical abilities define your future. Zahru is a Whisperer, possessing the ability to speak to animals. She and her father manage the stable in their small town. When an exciting challenge known as “The Crossing” is invoked by the ruler of Orkena, Zahru and her best friend Hen devise a plan to sneak into the capital to watch the festivities. But their plan goes horribly wrong, and Zahru suddenly goes from being a casual spectator to a crucial part of the event known as the Sacrifice. Zahru is sent out into the desert with the feuding heirs who must race each other to an endpoint on the other side of the desert where the winner will sacrifice Zahru to the gods and claim their rightful place as ruler. Zahru knows her only hope at survival is to convince one of the feuding heirs to spare her, but as they race through the desert she’s unsure who to trust.
The Kinder Poison is told entirely in the first person from Zahru’s perspective, as she grapples with what to do next to ensure her survival. I didn’t know who to trust from one minute to another. Zahru is a pawn in a game between three heirs, and each of them has their own motivations. Youngest Sakira is a party girl who wants to have fun but also win the race. She and her fans will stop at nothing to ensure she wins. Middle child Jet doesn’t want the throne for himself, despite being the most prepared. Eldest Kasta is a cruel boy who views the throne as his right and will stop at nothing to get it.
Kindness and its impact is a major theme in The Kinder Poison. Although Zahru does not possess “useful” magical powers, the kindness she shows to the heirs and their travel companions, despite the fact that she is their prisoner, is what keeps her safe.
I loved this highly imaginative, fast-paced story. I’ll be not-so-patiently waiting until the sequel is released! I highly recommend this to fans of YA Fantasy and Adventure stories.
Thank you to Penguin Teen and Netgalley for my review copy! All opinions are my own!