This Poison Heart is the second novel by Kalynn Bayron, the author of Cinderella is Dead. This book is set to be the beginning of a new YA fantasy series. The story follows Briseis, a teenage girl who is able to grow plants by touching them. She has been raised in Brooklyn by her two moms who own a flower shop. She spends most of her time hiding her gift which has had some disastrous consequences. Then she inherits a house in Rhinebeck, NY from her birth mom’s sister and her and her moms go to spend the summer there where she explores her gifts.
Oh boy, I did not like this one. I was ready to really enjoy it based on loving Cinderella is Dead and the very good average rating on Goodreads, but it did not work for me at all.
Everything started out good. I liked the premise, Briseis’ gifts were intriguing and her family seemed fun. The idea of inheriting a house from an unknown relative is a trope I like. Plus the cover is absolutely stunning.
Then the middle of the book was boring. The plot wasn’t really catching my attention and just plodding along. I think I could have been interested but the characters read so flat that I didn’t care about what they were up to. Briseis might as well have been a robot, she showed zero emotion. Inherit house from you birth mom’s house? No reaction, no emotion. No friends? No emotion. Hide everything from your moms who seem really supportive for no apparent reason. The side characters were ok. I liked her moms but they didn’t get much time and although Briseis said ho dissimilar they were, I couldn’t keep them straight. The others were just kind of thrown in and were all very one dimensional with no real personality or background. I was totally not invested in the story.
Side Note – In addition to just her overall blandness, Briseis also read really young. This is an extremely young YA. I actually think with changing the passage where she says how old she is and a couple years, it would make a much better middle grade book. But it’s marketed YA, so judging it as YA.
Up until the last 100 pages, I was thinking this was a three star read. I didn’t love it but I didn’t hate it. Then the ending was just so poorly executed. There was zero feeling (and without spoilers let’s just say there really should have been some feelings). The “action” scenes were also just poorly done. They seemed choppy and too quick, I’d find myself having to go back and figure out why someone was mad/hurt/etc. because it hadn’t been explained in more than two words and honestly, I may not have been reading all that closely at that point. The whole thing was also predictable, I knew the twist/bad guy really early on, there was no surprise.
The end was horrible and I was very happy to find myself at the end. I have no interest in continuing in this series. So I end at a two star read.