ARC Review: This Poison Heart by Kalynn Bayron

*I was given an ARC of This Poison Heart in exchange for an honest review. Thank you to Bloomsbury Publishing and Kalynn Bayron*


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.


I absolutely loved the concept of this book. A strong black female main character who has plant-based powers, that can also withstand even the deadliest of poison plants, hell yes. Mix that with the tie in of Greek mythology, double hell yes. I had no idea before reading this that it had greek mythology intertwined and oh my was I excited when I found out it did. 

The style and inclusion of the mythology lore and how it was woven into the story reminded me a lot of Legendborn by Tracy Deonn, so if you enjoyed that book you will love This Poison Heart. 

Our main character Briseis was extremely interesting whilst still acting like a normal teenager, well other than the fact that flowers would bloom when she is nearby. There are so many intricacies and layers to her character that develops over time that you can’t help but want to know more about her family’s past and how it was lead to where the story is today. 

Briseis was a perfect example of a character that makes you feel empathy. When they arrive at the estate and begin to meet the people in town you can’t help but feel frustrated along with Briseis when everyone seems to know more about her birth family than she does. It becomes even more frustrating when they aren’t willing to tell her what they know. 

Basically, she’s really cool and I really like her character. 

Learning about the different plants that Briseis is growing in both her normal and poison garden was really interesting. I’ve never really been that interested in plants and gardening, but this book has definitely piqued my interest. I found myself googling what most of the plants looked like as Kalynn descriptions were so intriguing and honestly this concept was such a good idea. I will continue to say this constantly as it is definitely one of my favourites so far this year. 

It was amazing just how casually sexuality was brought up in this book. Briseis appears to be bisexual and when she displayed romantic feelings towards a female character there wasn’t a big song and dance about it. She has two moms which I didn’t even think twice about as it wasn’t a big deal, which is exactly how you should feel about it. – I hope that makes sense and is in no way ignorant or offensive, I wasn’t entirely sure how to make the point I wanted. 

This Poison Heart was a really creative and interesting story that had me hooked from start to finish. If you are looking for a dark read with family mysterious and a blossoming sapphic romance then you will love This Poison Heart

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Like this post? Why not read this one too? What I Watched: May 2021


Leave a Reply