POISON’S KISS, Breeana Shields, Random House Teens



A teenage assassin kills with a single kiss until she is ordered to kill the one boy she loves..

Marinda has kissed dozens of boys. They all die afterward. It’s a miserable life, but being a visha kanya, a poison maiden, is what she was created to do. Marinda serves the Raja by dispatching his enemies with only her lips as a weapon.

Until now, the men she was ordered to kiss have been strangers, enemies of the kingdom. Then she receives orders to kiss Deven, a boy she knows too well to be convinced he needs to die. She begins to question who she’s really working for. And that is a thread that, once pulled, will unravel more than she can afford to lose.


I was sent this book in exchange for my honest review.

Okay, when I researched some of the things I struggled with in this book I found many, many poorly researched issues and inaccurate Indian references.  When my uncle married an Indian lady, we were introduced to a beautiful culture. She educated us about many things to do with living in India and its folklore/myths.  It inspired me at the time, to research religion and caste belonging to the East Indians. I also write fantasy, science fiction, so this was difficult for me to read without cringing…

First, suggesting that all women from India wear saris is like suggesting that all African Americans prefer to wear their hair as Afros. It’s insulting and a bit over the top lumping a group of people together because of stereo-typing.

My aunt’s daughter who was fifteen, at the time, did not wear a sari and in fact, her and her Indian friends wore blue jeans and sweaters. My aunt explained and showed me how to put a sari on and trust me, it’s a very involved process that takes a lot of time. If writing about a culture of the past, or even a mythological past, it’s important to research religion, language, culture, fads, clothing, etc. especially if the book is written in the fantasy genre. I just didn’t see enough of this or see accuracy with what was done.

Seriously, stereotyping a culture as a whole is a sure sign of the author not researching the culture she’s writing about and frankly, she shouldn’t attempt it unless willing to take the time needed to be accurate with what she shares with her readers.  There are spelling mistakes too when referring to language that she uses in her book, and some words are used in the wrong context or for the wrong purpose.  This is why fantasy writers, such as Tolkien, make up a whole new language for their characters. I think the author could have done this and kept the lore value she’d chosen for her story.  She chose not to and wow, what a hot mess.  I’m surprised there hasn’t been more disgruntle Indians who have read this book leaving comments.

If you are going to create a fictional world but base it on a real folklore/myth… DO YOUR RESEARCH!

Otherwise, create your own myth, your own world, your own cultures, your own language… see where I’m going?

Where on earth has there ever been a country, city or place of ONE CULTURE? This is virtually impossible to achieve… No matter where you are, there will be many sub-cultures within a larger one. There will be a division of languages and ways of life, beliefs, styles, etc.   How can the author create an Indian culture that is made up of only one? There is no such thing as ONE Indian culture, one Indian religion and never mind languages which are often different based on the caste that’s speaking it. For the life of me, I cannot understand why the author did this?

The whole issue of how the Indian culture looks at love as it’s written by this author is ridiculous. Seriously, how people address each other alone is wrongly depicted in the book, let alone how seduction is looked upon. I just can’t say anything more about this without turning this review into a rant…

Using a culture simply just for the purpose of creating a story and depicting it through inaccuracy and insults, boy… I can’t help but wonder if she had chosen a western culture to exploit inaccurately, if she would have gotten away with it. I doubt it.

When learning about what it takes to write about myth/lore, cultures and eras, a writer who chooses to write a historical fiction/cultural fiction, needs to sound like an expert of the subject matter.

It’s very disappointing.  I can’t stop shaking my head. The premise was incredibly interesting and I couldn’t wait to get the book. Then, all this… These issues are a huge faux pas in the writing world…

If you add all this to the many tropes involved in this book, the unlikable main character who grates on your nerves and the unexplained elements that leave you lost throughout the book, including magical healing fruit, two girl seduction team, and ya… This is just a mess of what could have been fantastic.

I gave this book:


one for the cover and one for the premise. The book gets nothing.





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