• This Poison Heart

  • By: Kalynn Bayron
  • Narrated by: Jordan Cobb
  • Length: 10 hrs and 17 mins
  • 4.7 out of 5 stars (463 ratings)

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Publisher's Summary

Bloomsbury presents This Poison Heart by Kalynn Bayron, read by Jordan Cobb.

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

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

When Briseis’ 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 whom 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.

From the best-selling author of Cinderella Is Dead comes another inspiring and deeply compelling story about a young woman with the power to conquer the dark forces descending around her.

©2021 Kalynn Bayron (P)2021 Bloomsbury Publishing Plc

Critic Reviews

"A verdant read as rich as the greenery within it, This Poison Heart will wrap its vines around you and never let go." (Kayla Ancrum, author of The Wicker King)

"Bayron takes an old story, turns it on its head, and makes it her own with a stunning display of pacing, character, and legacy." (number-one New York Times best-selling author E. K. Johnston)

"Thrilling and magnetic, This Poison Heart pulses with true Black girl magic and endless mystery." (Julian Winters, award-winning author of Running with Lions)

What listeners say about This Poison Heart

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  • Overall
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    5 out of 5 stars

Great book!

Loved it! Loved the story and how simply and easily the lgbt characters are written. Being lgbt myself, it’s refreshing to see it portrayed without need for explanation or anything else. Great storyline and can’t wait for the next.

5 people found this helpful

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Exactly what I needed!

I loved this book. It was beautifully written, the characters are such believable New Yorkers that I felt like I know them. The beginning is also set where I live in Crown Heights!! It was the perfect amount of fantasy for me, revolves around a beautiful family, and doesn’t fall into any tropes– I loved it.

3 people found this helpful

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Ugh! So Freakin Good!!

I just can't. This book was AMAZING from start to finish. I didn't want to stop listening. I need Book 2 like now!

2 people found this helpful

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Needlessly Chaotic

Poison Heart is all at once brilliant, irritating, and disappointing. The characters are very well written, but the actions and plot that they engage in are frustrating as they continuously work against their own backstories.

The MC and her parents are refreshingly properly depicted as people of color from Brooklyn, but as the story continues you start to realize that the author is not above having them operate entirely outside the behavior they would exhibit, were that the case. There are so many examples, but the MC is my main point for this. She is raised well by her queer parents; trusts and loves them, but is constantly doing the exact opposite of what she is told to do. This isn't a simple teenager thing, the character laments on the fact that she should do a thing, then does exactly the opposite over and over again. She's told to keep secrets about something more powerful than she understands while she already has magical powers, literally within the next breath, she tells a random stranger.

It's a constant back and forth between the character learning information and structuring informed opinions, then doing exactly the opposite of what her character would do with that opinion, because plot. as I said, the characters are well written, but they're continuously acting against their interests and their own writing for the sake of the plot. it almost feels as though the author wrote the characters, but also had the plot prewritten, and then just mashed them up as best they could. ordinarily with books like this, I get to the hook and then plow through enjoying the roller coaster ride till the end. in this book there are several hooks that led me to several dead ends where I had to put it down for days at a time to get over my irritation at the characters decisions because they were so at odds with the characters' opposed personalities and ideals.

The ending felt forced and entirely rushed. I know that there is a sequel and I can't help but feel like what happened is a publisher editing issue. The author likely had most of the original manuscript written, then when the publisher picked up the book, they likely convinced the author to split it up into two separate novels while they finished writing the story. I think this is why there's such a separation in the way the characters act. After the full story had been finished, the publishing House likely went back and tried to edit the story to match whatever the finished plot was. The climax of the book could have been entirely avoided had the character simply called the one person they trusted more than any other in their own words. The entire ending felt forced due to this fact. I believe that in the original manuscript, the original version of the story, this person intervened earlier and the events played out differently. I'm honestly not sure if I'm willing to read the sequel at this point to confirm my suspicions. knowing that the publisher, who is very likely responsible for this will make money on my choice to do so makes me want to stay far away from the sequel. Maybe I'll pick it up at the library. If this is on the author, they should be ashamed.

In the unlikely event that my review makes it to the author and they get to read it, feel free to reach out to me about it, you had such a great lead-in to the character and tremendously good character writing, but the plot did not feel like your own. I can't say exactly what transpired to make it end up this way, but it was wholly upsetting to watch the characters continually behave at odds with their own writing and personalities.

1 person found this helpful

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Incredible read for any plant lover

SO well written, I'm immediately restarting this book so it doesn't have to end! 🌱🌼👏

1 person found this helpful

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Awesome!

Couldn't put this down! I highly recommend! Loved this book and will probably listen again.

1 person found this helpful

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decent

The ending just stopped. No closure but I liked the plot. Is there a part 2?

1 person found this helpful

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  • El
  • 08-11-22

I Could Barely Breathe

…during the relentless blood rush to the story’s climax.

Well-plotted, immersive, deeply loving, and darker than I expected, This Poison Heart surpassed my expectations (which were already high, based on award-winning writer Tracy Deonn’s recommendation on the cover).

Jordan Cobb brought these characters wonderfully to life, communicating the warmth and love Briseis’s moms have for her, as well as for each other. At times I felt like I was in their living room or kitchen with them, laughing — which only made me worry more and more for Bri, her family, & everyone around her as the tension increased, the mysteries deepened, and the story bloomed in blood-soaked soil.

Highly recommended.

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What took me so long

I don’t know what took me so long to finally read this book but I am so glad I did. I knew from about halfway thru that it was going to be five stars. It didn’t disappoint at all!!!!

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amazing

favorite book of 2022 story so good love every single moment of this book