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This Poison Heart by Kalynn Bayron

This Poison Heart Book Review

Julianne Chen

I absolutely adored Kalynn Bayron’s first book Cinderella is Dead. When I found out that she was writing another book, I added it to the Amazon cart on preorder before even reading the blurb. Reading almost immediately after receiving it, I quickly learned that it was nothing like Cinderella is Dead. That said, even though it was extremely different from the initial book that I adored, I still thoroughly enjoyed this book. What is it about? It is a greek mythology retelling that, like Cinderella, has a vastly diverse cast and a storyline that is completely original. 

I must say, the characterization of This Poison Heart is actually much better than the characterization of Cinderella is Dead. While Cinderella is Dead did have pretty solid characterization, This Poison Heart is even better. Within the huge cast of characters, most everyone is properly characterized and rarely acts out of character (something that occasionally happens in Cinderella). Bri is a very relatable character that is quite easy to imagine and sympathize with. Both her moms are distinct from each other and feel like actual parents, unlike the bulk of bad parents from a majority of YA books, which was a very refreshing touch. 

And the mystery! Yes, Cinderella had mysterious elements, but This Poison Heart had even more! And in my opinion, they were even more well done here. The bulk of the beginning of this book is an atmospheric mystery. With strange occurrences that are related to Bri’s powers, mysterious poisonous plants inside an even more mysterious garden, Kalynn Bayron skillfully uses suspense to keep the audience on their toes until the very last page, even if the exposition is a bit long and the plot takes a while to fully pick up.

I can’t forget to mention the atmospheric setting. Set in an old mansion that was willed to Bri by her supposedly dead aunt, the audience is immediately transported to the setting. Greek myths are also used (specifically the story of Hecate, Medea and Jason), so any mythology lovers should definitely check this book out. Much like in Cinderella is Dead, Kalynn Bayron really shows off her ability to show, not tell. With lavish descriptions of poisonous plants, the audience can practically imagine the plants popping off the page. 

I’m going to be honest, this book was kind of slow to start. Even though there was plenty of suspense, I prefer fast moving plots over slow, mysterious and atmospheric books. However, I thoroughly enjoyed this book! If you are a lover of mysterious setting, a strong atmosphere, and mythology, I can definitely recommend this book to you. This book is also very diverse, so if you also happen to be looking for a book with LGBT rep and POC rep, this is also the book for you.