Book Review

This Wicked Fate

This Wicked Fate

  • Author: Kalynn Bayron
  • Genre: YA Fantasy
  • Publication Date: June 21, 2022
  • Publisher: Bloomsbury YA
  • Series: This Poison Heart #2

Thank you to NetGalley and Bloomsbury YA for providing me with an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

Rating: 5 out of 5.

CONTENT WARNING: grief, death of a parent, violence, blood, murder

How much would you risk to save the ones you love? Would you tempt even the most dangerous fate?

Briseis has one chance to save her mother, but she’ll need to do the impossible: find the last fragment of the deadly Absyrtus Heart. If she is to locate the missing piece, she must turn to the blood relatives she’s never known, learn about their secret powers, and take her place in their ancient lineage. Briseis is not the only one who wants the Heart, and her enemies will stop at nothing to fulfill their own ruthless plans. The fates tell of a truly dangerous journey, one that could end in more heartache, more death. Bolstered by the sisterhood of ancient magic, can Briseis harness her power to save the people she loves most?

I’ve been dying to get my hands on this book since the second I finished the last one, but once it was time to start it, I was incredibly nervous, mainly because I was so worried it wouldn’t fulfill my incredibly high expectations after reading This Poison Heart. However, I shouldn’t have worried, because this book and Bayron completely came through for me. Although I really do try not to judge a book by it’s cover, in this case, I was completely justified in doing so—the book is as good as the beautiful cover led me to believe it would be.

It picks up just after the last book left off, with the characters completely rocked by grief stemming from recent events, and new revelations leaving them with an impossible task to save Thandie. Hecate has tasked Briseis and crew with retrieving the last piece of the Absyrtus Heart, but there’s no way that she can do it alone, and she’s forced to lean on not only her new ally, but some people she’s never met before and doesn’t fully know if she can trust, especially after experiencing recent betrayals. And of course, there’s a ruthless group trying their best to get their greedy hands on the heart as well. 

Bayron’s writing absolutely shines in this book. She’s already shown her skills in other books (Cinderella is Dead, This Poison Heart), but in this sequel, she truly pulled on my heartstrings even more. We get to see Briseis’ vulnerable side as she faces challenges while learning to manage grief and fear, as well as resolving her feelings over the betrayal. In doing so, we get to see her learn how to let others in, and truly experience a new aspect of family relationships. Relationships are at the heart of the story, with the connection between Briseis and Marie deepening, Briseis opening up to new relatives, and her bond changing with her parents, as well as the connections between Marie, Nyx, Persephone, and Circe. I loved seeing how all of these characters became intertwined so much more deeply throughout the book. 

The way that the understanding that Briseis had of plants changed and grew (no pun intended) was another lure of this story. While she has an immense innate knowledge, she absolutely blooms (ok, pun intended here) under the skilled tutelage of Circe, and I loved watching her expand her knowledge and become more secure with her gifts. In addition, this story helped me see different aspects of familiar Greek mythology. There’s some overlap with Circe, and reading the Madeline Miller version of the story helped me understand a lot more of this story, and view it in a more sympathetic light, but I absolutely loved the diversity that was woven throughout this story. Rather than the traditionally white versions of Greek mythology, all the main characters are Black, which never felt like a stretch, and the sapphic representation in this story is absolutely fabulous. We need more books like this, and I can’t wait to see what else Bayron has in store for us!

People who have sat around with me while I’m reading, especially when there’s a surprising reveal, a shocking plot twist, or an unexpected event often look up in alarm when I gasp audibly. The gasp factor is directly related to the number of times I audibly gasp during a reading, and there isn’t an upper limit.

Gasp Factor: 8

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