Book Review

ARC Book Review: The Cruelest Mercy (The Kinder Poison #2) by Natalie Mae

Rating: ☆☆☆☆ (potentially 5☆)
Audience: YA Fantasy
Length: 384 pages
Author: Natalie Mae
Publisher: Razorbill
Release Date: June 15th, 2021
Image & Other Reviews on: Goodreads


In this sequel to The Kinder Poison–which People magazine proclaimed a “delicious high-stakes adventure”–the magical kingdom of Orkena is on the brink of war, and the only person who can save it is Zahru, the girl they once doomed for death.

After surviving the Crossing, Zahru has sworn off adventures. While crown prince Jet navigates the looming threat of war, she’s content to simply figure out what the future holds for them. But they’re dealt a devastating blow when prince Kasta returns with a shocking claim: he’s the true winner of the Crossing and the rightful heir, and he bears the gods’ mark as proof. Even more surprising–he’s not the only one.

Somehow, Zahru possesses the very same mark, giving her equal right to the throne. The last thing she wants is to rule beside her would-be executioner, but she can’t let Orkena fall into his merciless hands. So Zahru, Jet, and their allies must race against the clock to find a way to stop Kasta, because once he’s crowned, there’s no telling what horrors he’ll unleash to win the war.

Zahru will do whatever it takes to keep Kasta from taking the throne…but to stop a villain, is she willing to become one herself?

Thank you to PenguinTeen [Razorbill] and Netgalley for the eARC in exchange for a review. All opinions are my own.


No, but really.

If that’s the way this is ending I am definitely taking my rating down because that is cruel (ohhhh I did not see that pun coming).

If there’s another book, THEN HOT DANG, I STILL HAVE A CHANCE.

I have found a love triangle I am here for. And a villain with some remorse. These are the moments I am loving. This was a book I couldn’t put down. As soon as the first few chapters rolled by and I remembered everything that happened I was attached to the continuation. Maybe the plot wasn’t the strongest, but these characters are stunningly complex and I LOVE THAT.

I am so endgame for a particular couple in here (and if you know me you probably can guess, but I don’t want to spoil for anyone who read this). AND I JUST NEED IT TO HAPPEN. It will send this book next level because frankly, I’m intensely attached to this scenario.

This was beautifully written and rarely felt like it was diving into second book syndrome. Instead I saw growth on many fronts. I think the story is solid and like I mentioned earlier, realllllly needs a third book to wrap everything up. I want (read: NEED) more. This was entertaining and the writing made it feel like such a quick read. I was surprised how quickly I flew through it. Zahru was a great main character and had me laughing at her jokes and commentary. I to, am easily persuaded when desserts are involved.

Overall audience notes:

  • YA Fantasy + Romance
  • Language: very little
  • Romance: kisses
  • Violence: physical altercations, knives/swords, skirmishes, animal attacks, poison, assassination attempts; not overly bloody/gory

Instagram || Goodreads

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