Title- This Poison Heart
Author- Kalynn Bayron
Series- The sequel “This Wicked Fate” comes out June 2022
Genre- YA fantasy
POV- first person, past tense
Trope- “chosen one,” family secrets
Steam level- 0/5
Cover– gorgeous and representative of the genre
Comps– A mix between “The Nature of Witches” and “The Gilded Ones”
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.
Bri has unique powers involving plants. She can make them grow, touch poisonous ones, and they react to her mood. Her fears are losing control and accidentally hurting a fellow student at high school. Yet the toxic plants are calling to her like a siren and she’s too curious to stay away.
Best part- All the secret rooms and hidden keys
What I would change- sometimes the character’s were super hesitant, then super excited, seesawing back and forth too quickly
Setting- outside of Brooklyn
Prose- it was interesting reading “tryna” in narrative instead of “trying to.” I’d only seen that done in dialogue before
Character goals/motivations- She wants to learn about her family, about what is hidden on the estate, and make new friends that will accept her powers.
Theme- secrets will get you nowhere, family means everything, self-acceptance no matter who/what you are
Vivid sensory descriptions- yes, especially with the plants
Dialogue- hilarious and realistic. The loving sarcasm and side remarks are perfect
Diversity- Bri, the main character is Black, as well as her friend, Karter. Bri is also bisexual and both her moms are fully supportive
Conflict/tension/obstacles- enough, but sometimes the plot in itself was a little confusing
Thoughts while reading-
Page 32- confused by which is her biological mother or if it’s neither
Page 37- got it- she was adopted
Page 51- oh her parents definitely know something about her powers that they aren’t telling her
Page 63- if her aunt just died, why is it so dusty? Does the power of plants run in her blood? Will she find answers? I absolutely loved the apothecary room. It’s a little bit of a pet peeve when someone can give all the answers yet chooses to “wait” just for the sake of it. There needs to be a reason for the wait. The stranger in the dark was excellent. Overall I’m getting mixed feelings of whether Bri is excited or hateful for being at the estate.
Page 106- it really increases the tension that Mom and Mo disagree on a path forward.
Page 115- a young Trevante Rhodes? Yes please
Page 177- there is a recurring issue where the characters’ perception or feeling or response about a situation seems contradictory of itself. Karter acted like he wanted nothing to do with this, then a sentence later was super excited. It’s confusing
Halfway- I’m glad she’s making a friend and feeling more comfortable with her skills. Her parents are hilarious. I still feel as if the characters go back and forth too much on where their head is at.
Page 203- I’m confused. It felt out of the blue that there was a missing persons. Why hadn’t it been brought up before? Is this common in this town? Is it related to Marie or the estate?
Page 230- more questions are being piled on but none of the early ones are being answered. It’s hard to keep track now of all the things I’m wondering
Ending- Page 370- okay, so there was a twist but still semi expected. I liked that the end set up for a sequel with high stakes and a ticking time clock. But the second book doesn’t come out until June! I feel as if there’s still a few questions unanswered/unclear but overall I loved this story.