Tuesday, June 16, 2020

"The Kinder Poison"

Natalie Mae is an ex-programmer, dark chocolate enthusiast, and author of young adult novels. She has also been a freelance editor and a Pitch Wars mentor, and she feels it notable to mention she once held a job where she had to feed spiders. When not writing, she can be found wandering the Colorado wilderness with her family.

Mae applied the Page 69 Test to her new novel, The Kinder Poison, and reported the following:
From page 69:
“Don’t cross this line.” Jet’s eyes plead with Kasta as Elin pulls him forward. “This isn’t you. Think about what you’re doing. Think about her.”

“Shut him up,” Kasta says. He blocks my view of Jet now, but Elin must have marked Jet with silence, because the scuff of their feet down the stairs is the last I hear of him.

And then I am alone with Kasta. A boy who said it was within his right to harm me.

In none of the travelers’ tales has the rescuer ever failed.

Kasta exhales, arms behind his back as he strolls the perimeter of the bedroom. He’s changed since the party, his tunic traded for a white tergus belted in leather, the deep olive of his chest painted with gods’ symbols in real liquid gold. A tattooed scorpion raises its deadly tail up the back of his neck: the symbol for Oka, the god of judgment.

I have a feeling admitting who I am is not going to go as well as I’d hoped.

“You can relax,” Kasta says. “My threats were for him, not you. Sometimes the promise of something is more powerful than the act.”

He turns, the torches casting shadows across his muscled torso, and I can’t help but feel his reassurance is its own kind of threat. It’s too generous of him to pardon me for what Jet and I tried to do. For what it looked like we were doing.
I think the page 69 test works great for the book! This particular scene involves two of the major secondary characters, and alludes not only to their relationship with each other and with the main character, but to the tension the reader can expect between them as the book unfolds. It also gives some great insight into Kasta's character, and provides a few details about the world of Orkena as well, with a touch of magic from Elin and the description of how Kasta dresses. Not to mention there's this overhanging threat throughout the scene, which I think accurately describes the overall tone of the book.

My favorite part about showing just this clip is that it doesn't entirely let you know who the good or bad guys are, either. Kasta has clearly made a threat before this - "A boy who said it was within his right to harm me" - but Zahru (the main character) can't really claim innocence, as she admits toward the end of the page that she and Jet were plotting something before Kasta came in. Which honestly, sets the exact right tone for the entire series. I hope you enjoyed this teaser, and that it gets readers excited to see more!
Visit Natalie Mae's website.

--Marshal Zeringue