REVIEW | This Wicked Fate | Kalynn Bayron | This Poison Heart #2

I read and reviewed This Poison Heart last year, after loving Cinderella is Dead, so when I saw This Wicked Fate appear on Netgalley I knew I had to have it. This is the final part of the This Poison Heart duology and it’s a fitting end to this fantastic fantasy series steeped in magic, mythology and poison.

Thanks to Bloomsbury YA for the eARC of this book. It has not affected my honest review.

Character - 8 Atmosphere - 8 Writing - 8 Plot - 7 Intrigue - 6 Logic - 6 Enjoyment - 7 Rating: 7.14 / 4 stars
Rating: 7.14 / 4 stars

About the book:

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?

What did I think?

This book picks up immediately from the end of This Poison Heart- not that surprising as book one ended with a deadline creeping up on our characters. Usually, I have to reread a book before I read the sequel because of my bad memory, but the beginning of This Wicked Fate very elegantly recapped the first book without it feeling like it stood out from the story too much. I do feel like the early chapters were a little bit info-dumpy but that definitely wasn’t because of the recap. It wasn’t bad, as such, but there was a lot of information there. Ultimately, I kind of felt like I was reading part 2 of a chonky book instead of a whole second book in its own right – I think this could have worked better as one whole piece than as a duology, and that might have resolved the issues I had with the book’s pacing, which just felt a little inconsistent to me.

The highlight in this book for me, much like in the first book, was the characters. Briseis is strong, but she’s all heart too, and I loved seeing her develop and grow into her powers more and more throughout this book. I wasn’t a huge fan of her relationship with Marie, but I didn’t hate it either and I liked the way that they relied on each other in this book. Their relationship was very sweet and loyal in that way. Circe and Persephone were an absolute revelation to me and I loved them. I don’t know why but I was expecting Circe to be a colder and more distant aunt. Instead, we got a caring and concerned auntie and got to enjoy Briseis and Circe puzzling out their relationship after never knowing each other. There was a huge focus in this book on generational trauma and how hard it can be to set that down and I was emotional reading about Circe and Briseis’ arc. I also loved that we still got to see the support from book 1 as Bri’s mom welcomed her birth family with open arms.

Tonally, This Wicked Fate is very different from book one. To me, at least, This Poison Heart felt like urban fantasy with faint Greek elements, and book two felt like a more mature Percy Jackson story with actual gods and a globetrotting quest. That being said, I had a lot of fun once I’d adjusted my expectations and the ending was solid, tying up the loose ends in a satisfying and emotional way.

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Release Date: 21st June 2022

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