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Fantasy Friday: This Poison Heart by Kalynn Bayron

Darkness blooms in bestselling author Kalynn Bayron’s new contemporary fantasy about a girl with a unique and deadly power.

Briseis has a gift: with a single touch she can grow plants from tiny seeds to rich blooms.

When Briseis’s aunt dies and wills her a dilapidated estate in rural New York, Bri and her parents hope that surrounded by plants and flowers, she will finally learn to control her gift. But their new home is sinister in ways they never expected-it comes with a mysterious set of instructions, a walled garden filled with the deadliest botanicals in the world, and generations of secrets. There is more to Bri’s sudden inheritance than she could have imagined, and she is determined to uncover it.

From the bestselling author of Cinderella Is Dead comes an enchanting story about a young woman with the power to conquer the dark forces descending around her.

Amazon Link: This Poison Heart (This Poison Heart #1)

Author: Kalynn Bayron

Genre: YA Urban Fantasy

Rating: 5/5 stars

This book was so amazing and lush. It’s inspired by The Secret Garden, which I loved as a child, but it took the premise of that hidden garden and elevated it into something totally unique by blending in Black queer characters and Greek mythology. This takes the myths about Hecate and Medea and spins them in a fresh feminist take that’s so amazing.

I kept turning the pages because I wanted to know more. What started as a wholesome story about a teen girl with a green thumb suddenly took a dark turn when she discovered the poison garden. And then Briseis met the mysterious girl, Marie, who had so many secrets and brought more sapphic romance to the mix as Bri fell for her. I’m not sure of Marie’s true motivation or if Bri should trust her, though. Marie is suspicious and quick to choose violence without remorse, making her a morally gray character. And I’m not sure if I really like her as a love interest for Bri because of the significant age difference.

But the diversity in the characters and the social justice elements were awesome. (Bri’s new small town home is defunding the police and supporting the community with more resources like social workers.) And the ending was such a shock! I can’t wait to read the next book to find out what happens next.

Trigger warnings: blood, attempted murder, death of a loved one, murder, violence, cutting, poisoning.


I'm an author, a blogger, and a nerd. I read and write fantasy.