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The Cruelest Mercy (The Kinder Poison 2)

[A quick note: I’ve been a big time fan of Natalie Mae ever since reading The Kinder Poison, which I stumbled across by accident back in July 2020 and reviewed. I adored it. The second it ended, I was avidly following Natalie for news on the second book. It was really cool to see her work through the book, follow her posts and updates, and see her bring the second installment to life. How fun! She’s a wonderful person all around and her series is just as great! If you’d like to read my review for The Kinder Poison click HERE.]

“𝐌𝐚𝐲𝐛𝐞 𝐭𝐡𝐢𝐬 𝐢𝐬 𝐚 𝐜𝐫𝐮𝐞𝐥 𝐦𝐞𝐫𝐜𝐲, 𝐭𝐨 𝐬𝐩𝐚𝐫𝐞 𝐡𝐢𝐦 𝐟𝐫𝐨𝐦 𝐬𝐞𝐫𝐯𝐢𝐭𝐮𝐝𝐞 𝐨𝐧𝐥𝐲 𝐭𝐨 𝐜𝐡𝐚𝐢𝐧 𝐡𝐢𝐦 𝐭𝐨 𝐦𝐞 𝐢𝐧𝐬𝐭𝐞𝐚𝐝.”—Natalie Mae

A month after the dangerous crossing, Zahru and Jet are preparing for Jet’s ascension to the thrown when Kasta, believed dead, appears wearing the god mark. But he isn’t the only one marked. Zahru bears the mark too. Together, both Zahru and Kasta must prove that they can rule Orkena side by side, and Zahru is willing to do anything to keep Kasta from the throne. But is she willing to become like the enemy she’s trying to thwart?

Excellent world building, flawed characters, awesome inner monologue, and a dash of political intrigue make for a great story! The second book definitely lived up to the first one. While the stakes were totally different, it was just as fun! And I’m definitely going to need a book three…like immediately! Please please please!!!

One of my favorite aspects of this series is the world building. It’s clear that Natalie put a good deal of effort into research. Egyptian inspired, desert setting, with cool magic, and gods! What more could you want? Orkena is so fleshed out it feels so real. It’s a kingdom I want to visit. Like…I need to go there NOW. I love Zahru’s Whisperer magic, especially. Being able to communicate with animals isn’t considered a powerful by Orkena’s standards, but in my opinion, it’s one of the coolest magics out there.

“𝐌𝐢𝐬𝐭𝐚𝐤𝐞𝐬 𝐚𝐫𝐞 𝐡𝐮𝐦𝐚𝐧. 𝐁𝐮𝐭 𝐲𝐨𝐮 𝐚𝐫𝐞 𝐚 𝐠𝐨𝐝𝐝𝐞𝐬𝐬. 𝐀𝐧𝐝 𝐎𝐫𝐤𝐞𝐧𝐚 𝐰𝐢𝐥𝐥 𝐧𝐞𝐞𝐝 𝐲𝐨𝐮 𝐭𝐨 𝐫𝐞𝐦𝐞𝐦𝐛𝐞𝐫 𝐢𝐭.”—Natalie Mae

What I enjoyed about this book specifically, was Zahru’s character arc. She suffered from some serious trust issues after the first book, rightfully so. But this means she is willing to do ANYTHING to keep Kasta from the throne. Even if it means becoming like him. She becomes a morally gray character. I LOVED that. Although, I did give her a stern talking to a couple times for a few of the decisions she made. And I must say, her decisions and the end did catch me by surprise…but in a good way. I shut the book with a smile on my face, desperately hoping for a third. Fingers crossed, y’all!

“𝐈 𝐚𝐦 𝐭𝐫𝐲𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐭𝐨 𝐫𝐮𝐢𝐧 𝐡𝐢𝐦. 𝐇𝐞 𝐢𝐬 𝐭𝐫𝐲𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐭𝐨 𝐬𝐚𝐯𝐞 𝐦𝐞.”—Natalie Mae

Another thing I liked about Zahru was her internal monologue. She’s hilarious. Constantly imagining certain scenarios and how they might play out. I feel like we could be friends in real life. And her friends in the story, especially Hen, are awesome.

This is a great series. It’s one of my favorite YAs. Perfect especially for teens but great for all ages. Even as a thirty-something I adore Zahru’s story. While I did feel that the first book was slightly more edge-of-your-seat with higher stakes, this one still delivered. I really hope Natalie Mae is given the go-ahead to write a third book. I think I’ll be pretty devastated if that doesn’t happen.

MY RATING:4.5/5⭐️


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