Poison’s Cage (Poison’s Kiss #2) by Breeana Shields
ARC provided by Random House via Netgalley for a fair review.
“Each weapon is a work of art, and I wonder what drives the impulse to make the instruments of death so beautiful.”
Marinda and Iyla infiltrate the Naga in an attempt to kill the Nagaraja. They somehow continue to work with each other despite the lies that are woven into their lives and plans. They can hardly trust each other but still continue to rely on each other as their missions unfold.
I liked how this story of a vish kanya was still able to continue as the girls essentially aim to overtake the organization that turned them into monsters. The story flows easily and like the first book, was a very easy read. There really weren’t many dull moments as our characters are metaphorically thrown into a pit of snakes and are never quite out of danger throughout the story. It seems the entire time that the Naga are always just one step ahead of the girls.
Though the book continues my favorite aspect (the Indian/Hindu/Buddhist inspired world building) it also brought back aspects I didn’t like, that first and foremost being the romance. This time, Iyla has her chance at romance, and it seems one meeting was enough to have a hold on her heart. Though love at first sight can always be built upon, which later I am sure it is assumed the characters bond between the pages), their encounter did not seem to justify their actions before they really had a chance to get to know one another.
For me, this book was mainly triggering two things I liked: lives in imminent peril with a dash of cultural flavor. If that’s your main dish and you liked the first book then I say this is the book for you. If the somewhat bland romance is going to be a problem for you then maybe don’t put this at the top of your to-be-read list. However, with that being said, let me reiterate that this book isn’t focused on the romance but more of comradery between Marinda & Iyla and how it is challenged.
The World Building
Although the first book set up the world with the vish kanya, this book gave a little more information regarding the Nagaraja, Tiger Queen, Crocodile King, and Garuda. I always have extra love for a book that incorporates real culture or folklore into its story, and this is no exception. There is something intriguing about transforming an idea to fit into another story, especially when it’s not your typical westernized/European/medieval style folklore. I do wish there was just a smidge more about the other factions, though, it would be expected that it would focus on the Naga. I did appreciate that Garuda had a slightly bigger role (since Garuda is an enemy to the Naga), and that even though typically is seen as male was written as female! Yay, girl power! I loved how Shields portrays their true forms as well. The concept made the Raksaka seem much more present and fearful.
Iyla really stood out in this book, and for me was more the main character than Marinda. Again, I didn’t care much for her romance, though the girl does deserve to have someone she isn’t just trying to trick. Overall her character’s spirit and conviction is what shines the most. Though Marinda fights tooth and nail for Mani and occasionally for Iyla, Iyla is still the much better friend of the two.
I felt that Deven was really lack luster in this book. His character didn’t really do much of anything, and also just didn’t seem to fit. He’s supposed to be a prince, but didn’t really act very or do anything very princely.
The Dear Hunter – The Poison Woman