Rating: 5 stars
Genre: YA Fantasy
Ever since she can remember, Briseis has had power over plants. Flowers bloom in her footsteps and leaves turn to face her as though she were the sun. It's a power she and her adoptive mothers have spent her whole life trying to hide. And then Briseis inherits an old house from her birth mother and suddenly finds herself with the space and privacy to test her powers for the first time.
But as Briseis starts to bring the house's rambling garden back to life, she finds she has also inherited generations of secrets. A hidden altar to a dark goddess, a lineage of witches stretching back to ancient times, and a hidden garden overgrown with the most deadly poisonous plants on earth. And Briseis's long-departed ancestors aren't going to let her rest until she accepts her place as the keeper of the terrible power that lies at the heart of the Poison Garden. -TheStoryGraph
I know that folx say not to judge a book by its cover but I saw this one, the author, and the description and I knew it was gonna be good! Briseis is an awesome main character. She's loving, intellectually curious, but not stupid. Her relationship with her moms is sweet, playful, and tight-knit. Despite being adopted, it's clear that she and her family are open about her adoption and feel no conflict with staying at her birth mother's home. When I was growing up, a lot of YA books showed family units where the teens hated their parents or kept a ton of secrets from them. This Poison Heart displays healthy communication within Briseis's family and I absolutely love it.
This Poison Heart is medium to fast-paced. While it takes a little bit to pick up in the beginning, the story never feels like it's dragging. There are plenty of action scenes in the book and following Briseis through her encounters with the people in this new town was intriguing. I found myself trying to guess who might be duplicitous time and time again. It's definitely the type of book you can get lost in. Which is why I was so sad when it ended! I know that this is only the first book in a series, but now I'm upset that I'll have to wait to find out when the next one will be out.
My only critique of this book is the hint of a relationship between Briseis (who is underage) and a Marie who is actually over 300 years old... I really don't like that a person who is supposed to be that old is attracted to and trying to date a teenage girl. I understand that Marie looks like she's "seventeen forever," but that's really uncomfortable for me. It seems predatory.
I highly recommend this book to just about everyone! I got my mom the audiobook and she finished it in one day. You need this in your life!