This Poison Heart by Kalynn Bayron – My Review

“Can’t be done no other way. You fixin’ somethin’ for somebody you love, for this healin’. Gotta do it with your bare hands and your whole heart. Understand?” 

-Kalynn Bayron This poison heart

My Quick Review: A beautifully written book with comedy and magic. I loved every page from the first to the last. The plot was full of mystery and intrigue, and the descriptions of the magic Bri possessed was utterly magnificent. The characters were relatable and lovable, and the relationships between one another were astoundingly strong and beautiful. I would wholeheartedly recommend this book as it was easily one of my favourite reads of 2021!

Category: YA Fantasy

Age Rating: 13+

Pages: 384

Publisher: Bloomsbury YA

Trigger Warnings: Self-injury, Death of a parent, Murder & attempted murder, Poisoning

Representation: Black main characters, Sapphic romance

Synopsis:

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.

From the bestselling author of Cinderella Is Dead comes another inspiring and deeply compelling story about a young woman with the power to conquer the dark forces descending around her.

“The people we love are never really gone from us,” Mom said. “Try to remember that. I know it’s hard. It feels like the whole world should just stop spinnin’, but it doesn’t. And we’ve gotta find a way to pick up the pieces.”

Kalynn Bayron This poison heart

My review (may contain slight spoilers):

This Poison Heart follows the story of Briseis Greene (Bri), a young high schooler with an unusual power. She can manipulate plants with a simple thought. This power however, has caused nothing but disaster and danger during her childhood, so Bri becomes fearful of her incredible gift and attempts to hide it. Bri lives with her two adoptive mothers, Angie and Thandie, and is determined to live a normal life away from magic. This all changes, however, when news arrives stating that Bri is the new proud owner of an extensive estate that has been left to her by her late mother’s sister. When Bri arrives at the dilapidated manor, she soon realises that there is far more to her power than she previously thought, and the very house she now owns will provide her will all of the answer she is looking for, whether she likes them or not!

Have I made you want to read the book yet? If not, I’m sure I will in the next few lines. This Poison Heart was easily one of my favourite reads of 2021. There wasn’t a single page of this book that I did not enjoy. The characters were witty and loveable, the description of Bri’s magic was spellbinding (I found myself being truly jealous I didn’t possess it myself), and the plot was perfectly paced and intriguing the entire way through.

As for the characters, Bri herself was wonderfully depicted, and her character growth throughout the novel was marvelous. I utterly adored her relationship with her moms, the banter between the three of them was hilarious, but you could truly feel the love that the three women had for one another. As for Thandie and Angie, they were so funny! I loved their relationship more than anything else in this book. If I could have read a book on the origins of their love story, I would have devoured it in one sitting. Their love for not only one another, but for Bri was astounding, and it made me feel wonderfully happy to be a part of their story.

As for the plot, I loved the mystery of the house. The story was extremely well paced, so that I found myself always wanting to turn the next page to see what would happen next. The description of the gardens especially were magnificent, and saying I want to visit would be a serious understatement. I also found that I learnt a lot about different plants and their medicinal uses in this book, Kalynn has clearly done a lot of research during her writing process.

Conclusion: The Poison Heart was one of my favourite reads of 2021 for a reason, and I would completely recommend this to anyone who enjoys fantasy retellings, dark magic, wonderfully witty conversation, and powerful relationships that move you until the very last page. I CAN NOT wait for the second book to come out. Here starts the countdown until the release date!

5/5

“Imagine plants are kind of like people. Tell a person they’re worthless, hurt their feelings everyday—they’d wither, too.” 

KALYNN BAYRON THIS POISON HEART

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