Darkness blooms in bestselling author Kalynn Bayron’s new contemporary fantasy about a girl with a unique and deadly power.
Briseis has a gift: with a single touch she can grow plants from tiny seeds to rich blooms.
When Briseis’s aunt dies and wills her a dilapidated estate in rural New York, Bri and her parents hope that surrounded by plants and flowers, she will finally learn to control her gift. But their new home is sinister in ways they never expected—it comes with a mysterious set of instructions, a walled garden filled with the deadliest botanicals in the world, and generations of secrets. There is more to Bri’s sudden inheritance than she could have imagined, and she is determined to uncover it.
From the bestselling author of Cinderella Is Dead comes an enchanting story about a young woman with the power to conquer the dark forces descending around her.
- ISBN10 1547603909
- ISBN13 9781547603909
- Publish Date 29 June 2021
- Publish Status Active
- Publish Country US
- Publisher Bloomsbury Publishing PLC
- Imprint Bloomsbury YA
- Format Hardcover
- Pages 384
- Language English
This Poison Heart by Kalynn Bayron was included in my July OwlCrate box, and I am over the moon. I love the cover alterations, as well as the reverse side of the dust jacket. I'm still torn on what side I'll go with, but that's a different story.
Briseis has spent her whole life trying to hide a secret. For a teenager, that probably isn't the most uncommon thing in the world. What is significantly less common is her secret: Bri can magically grow plants. We're not talking about having a green thumb; we're talking about plants that spring from a single seed at her touch, vines that actively reach out to hold her.
On the bright side, keeping her secret might just get a whole lot easier. Her biological aunt left her a large estate out in New York – with plenty of room to work with plants unseen. It's like a dream come true. Only, it seems like somebody here already knows Bri's secret, and they're not afraid to hurt the people she loves to get what they want.
“What it sounds like doesn’t make a difference to me. This isn’t just something in your blood. It’s you. It’s who you are. How could I doubt what you’re telling us when I’ve seen what you can do?”
To say that I was instantly captivated by This Poison Heart would be an understatement. I was immediately pulled into Brisies' story, fascinated by her magic, her story, and her family. In short, I wanted to know everything about her.
So I kept reading. This novel combined so many elements that I love into one, and thus I'm resisting the urge to simply gush about this book to anyone that will listen. The magic in this book added so much to the story itself, and I would have loved to see more of it.
This Poison Heart is influenced heavily by Greek mythology. And by that, I mean it took a Greek legend and turned it into something new. I loved this. Not only did it add so much depth to a classic story – but it gave agency to a character that I always felt was left overlooked. (Yes, I'll admit that I have a weakness for novels doing precisely this – I'm not ashamed to admit that).
There is a lot to love about This Poison Heart – the characters, the representation, the world, the magic, all of it. So I am thrilled to report that this is actually the first novel in a series (at least two books, but I'm hoping for more), and I just can't wait for more news of This Wicked Fate.
Check out more reviews over at Quirky Cat's Fat Stacks
Proceed With Caution:
This book contains mentions of death and murder, attempted murder, parental death, and violence.
This Poison Heart is narrated by seventeen-year-old Briseis, a girl with power over plants. She helps out her moms with their flower shop, at least until a lawyer gets into contact to let her know that her birth mother's sister has left her her estate in her will. Bri and her moms go to check the place out for the summer, and it seems too good to be true. It looks like a place where they could make their new home, except for all of the strange and dangerous happenings.
I was super excited about This Poison Heart despite not being a big fan of Cinderella Is Dead. I love plants so Briseis' ability seemed really interesting to me. Unfortunately, this book is super boring for the first 90%. Then everything is jam-packed into the last few chapters, and nothing makes sense. Much like this review, most likely.
At the very beginning, Briseis tells us a story about how she ate a handful of poison berries in second grade and nothing happened while the other girl was sick for a week. Now, she cuts her finger while handling hemlock, freaks out, then wonders why she hasn't died from the poison. What? You just told us that plant poison doesn't affect you! I could understand wondering WHY she's not affected, but to completely "forget" about that ability seemed strange. It was a forced way to drill into the readers' heads that it's important, because it is important...later.
This Poison Heart really starts when Briseis inherits an old house from her biological aunt, whom she's never met nor knew about. It's like a cross between The Addams Family and The Little Shop of Horrors, but it's full of even more secrets. Secrets and Greek Mythology! I wasn't sure about this combination at first, because it felt kind of random and messy. And the further I got into it, the weirder it got. All of it just did not mesh well for me, especially that "surprise" ending.
Another issue I had with This Poison Heart was the characters. Or really the lack of development of any characters. Briseis is basically a loner. She had two friends but they "grew apart." We get a one page summary of events that happened a million years ago that strained their relationship, but it just fell apart now? But they're never mentioned again, so I don't even know why they were brought up at all. But she immediately makes friends upon moving! Two of them! Immediately! And she trusts them with her life and her family's deepest darkest secrets after just a day! I'm sure you can guess how that turns out.
The rest of the side characters were weird. Not weird as in quirky small-town folks who are charming and strange. No, they were literally just weirdos to pop in and scare Bri and her moms or to say cryptic nonsense, causing Bri to wonder about what other kind of secrets her birth family is hiding. Or they have the exact knowledge of Ancient Greek that she needs to unlock a secret. Or they're a tantrum throwing villain.
Basically, This Poison Heart didn't work for me. It has some of the same issues as the author's debut, mainly that there's an amazing premise but none of the details fit together.
HOLY SH*T THIS WAS SO GOOD!
The fun mix of retellings coming together and all of the greek mythology and the queer rep omfg omfg OMFGGGG this book is a DREAM!
Literally recommend this with my whole heart! SO DAMN GOOD!!!!!
OMG TAKE MY MONEY