Hello hello and welcome or welcome back to my little bookish corner of the internet. Today I’m bringing you my review of This Poison Heart, the second book by Kalynn Bayron, and her second easy five star. I absolutely adored Cinderella Is Dead last year, and now I am utterly in love with this.
Briseis has a gift: she can grow plants from tiny seeds to rich blooms with a single touch.
When Briseis’s aunt dies and wills her a dilapidated estate in rural New York, Bri and her parents decide to leave Brooklyn behind for the summer. Hopefully there, surrounded by plants and flowers, Bri will finally learn to control her gift. But their new home is sinister in ways they could never have imagined–it comes with a specific set of instructions, an old-school apothecary, and a walled garden filled with the deadliest botanicals in the world that can only be entered by those who share Bri’s unique family lineage.
When strangers begin to arrive on their doorstep, asking for tinctures and elixirs, Bri learns she has a surprising talent for creating them. One of the visitors is Marie, a mysterious young woman who Bri befriends, only to find that Marie is keeping dark secrets about the history of the estate and its surrounding community. There is more to Bri’s sudden inheritance than she could have imagined, and she is determined to uncover it . . . until a nefarious group comes after her in search of a rare and dangerous immortality elixir. Up against a centuries-old curse and the deadliest plant on earth, Bri must harness her gift to protect herself and her family.
Briseis is a loveable, relatable character, who only wants to do what is best for her mothers and to find some friends this summer. Threatened with rent hikes, when a will turns up from an unknown relative naming her as inheriting a house and grounds, it seems like the perfect opportunity to make everything better. A chance to start over; just what they all need.
When they arrive, however, Bri starts to find out some things about her relatives, and about herself in the process. Strange happenings start their very first night, when they see someone outside. Then there’s the letters in the safe telling her how to find more clues. Things start to escalate quickly, and the little stream of magic that Bri has lived with her whole live quickly becomes a river, running right through her new home.
The family dynamic was a wonderful, beautiful thing that warmed my heart to read. They only wanted what was best for Bri and were ready to support her in any way they could. It’s the kind of parental dynanmic most teenagers dream about – and many adults too. Reading about the three of them together was like a cosy story inside the fantasy story itself.
This is mirrored, however, as Bri starts to come to some shocking conclusions about her biological family and their place in history. And as things only escalate further, Bri has some difficult decisions to make – and an awful lot to carry on her shoulders until she does.
An amazing amount of research has clearly gone into this book, from the Latin names of plants to the believed healing powers of them, and everything magic related alongside it. The mythology that runs alongside the names used is powerful in itself, and I take my hat off to both the author and the editor who must have been hugely busy double and triple checking everything!
This Poison Heart is a stunning read, full of characters who jump of the page, twists you won’t see coming, and unconditional love that will make you yearn for a hug. I can’t wait for the sequel; this is an absolute triumph.
This Poison Heart and Cinderella Is Dead are both out now and ready for you to fall in love with the very real magic that the author has at her finger tips. You won’t regret picking either of them up!