Author: Kalynn Bayron
TW: Poisoning, Violence, Murder, Death, Death of a Loved One
“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?”
I read Bayron’s Cinderella is Dead earlier in the year and while I very much enjoyed it, it fell slightly short of my expectations as I felt the ending was rushed. However, it was good enough to make me intrigued about her next book – This Poison Heart. This time it’s the start of a series and centres on Briseis who has a gift for controlling plants. When she unexpectedly inherits a derelict mansion, she finally has the space to practice her skills. However, the people nearby seem to be suspicious of her and the house itself is full of secrets. Uncovering her family’s past may be more complicated that she ever anticipated, and the poison plants they knew so well may start the beginning of a whole new identity for Briseis…
8.6Compelling, Exciting, Fascinating
Own Voices reads are important and while I can’t speak from any place of relatability at this book’s representation of Black or LGBT characters, it was great to see how it didn’t need to be front and centre in the narrative but made this story more layered and therefore even more endearing.
As a protagonist Briseis was compelling and her ease at making mistakes made her all the more endearing because she felt like a normal young person on the cusp of navigating a complicated and dangerous world – enough fantasy to be exciting and enough reality to feel relatable.