About That Irresistible Poison (Calluvia's Royalty #2) by Alessandra Hazard
Genre: M/M Science Fiction Romance
Heat Level: Medium-High
“I hate you.” Please touch me.
“You sicken me.” Hold me closer.
“I want to be free of you.” I can’t live without you.
The messed up part is he means everything he says.
The youngest prince of his clan, Seyn has been betrothed to the crown prince of another clan since birth. Everyone says he’s so lucky to marry one of the most respected, powerful men on the planet, but Seyn knows better.
He hates him with every fiber of his being. Ksar is a cold, uncaring, overbearing bastard who uses underhanded tactics to achieve his goals and who either ignores Seyn or criticizes everything about him. Seyn can’t stand him, and he’s willing to do anything to get out of the arranged marriage to a man he abhors.
But the line between feverish hatred and passion can be very thin, and it turns out that freedom isn’t as appealing as it once seemed.
Is it messed up to miss a man you loathe?
Is it sick to want his hands on you?
Seyn knows it’s insane. He knows he should stop going back.
But knowing something and doing it are two different things.
Happening during and after the events of That Alien Feeling, the first book in this series, That Irresistible Poison follows Ksar, an uncompromising, eloquently spoken, infuriating yet sympathetic Crown Prince, and his arranged betrothed Seyn, an outspoken and strong-willed fellow royal eight years Ksar’s junior. The two hate each other deeply, and yet they have been enemies for so long that they need each other. When Seyn discovers that Ksar is secretly sexually attracted to him, he uses this to his advantage, only to find these encounters with Ksar embarrassingly irresistible.
This book is probably the most satisfying enemies-to-lovers romance I have ever read. As that is my favorite trope, this is high praise coming from me. The chemistry between Ksar and Seyn is extreme, even before Seyn gains the ability to experience sexual attraction (a quirk within the worldbuilding). In addition, the telepathy inherent to the Calluvian way of life adds an endlessly fascinating layer to Ksar and Seyn’s interactions that brings even more chemistry to their union.
The conflict between them is deeply woven into their lives; this is not a superficial enemies-to-lovers circumstance but a layered and believable conflict that grows more complex and interesting as the story progresses. The characterization is similarly three-dimensional, and Hazard has a talent for writing characters with unsavory traits in a way that makes them lovable. I was so connected to these characters that I found myself crying at multiple points as I felt their pain and longing for each other.
I could not stop reading this book. Even though the external plot uses a device I don’t enjoy—other suitors—the plot was expertly constructed within an intricate alien world. Alessandra Hazard’s worldbuilding is excellent, with the exposition needed to understand certain events dropped in expertly at the right points so as not to bore the reader. I have read some of this author’s other work, but in my opinion, this is her best so far, even better than That Alien Feeling, which I also adored and consumed in just one day before moving immediately to this book.
Only one weakness was apparent to me, and that was the word-for-word repetition of some scenes from That Alien Feeling. As I had read that book just before this one, it was tedious to reread these scenes, and I skipped over them after the first couple I encountered. Nevertheless, I can see that Hazard wanted to include this information so that a reader could go into book #2 of the series without reading book #1. As I read both books one right after the other, I am not sure if she succeeded, but I would recommend starting with That Alien Feeling, as it is also an excellent book and gives the reader an additional perspective on Ksar and Seyn’s compelling connection.
About Alessandra Hazard
A mom. Engineer. MM Romance author. Avid reader of many genres.
I love romance with an edge: a bit twisted, a bit unhealthy and messed up.
I love that push-pull of two characters who drive each other crazy and yet are totally perfect for each other. I love mild D/s undertones, hate-to-love relationships, and the friends-to-lovers trope. I also have a bit of a weakness for the good old Alpha Male, stern, strong-willed and tough, but who will turn into a lump of sugar for the man he loves. I’m a sap, I know.