I spent my years in undergrad school learning toxins and poisons as part of my bachelor's degree, identified oils and essences by their smells, and studied the chemistry and origin of modern drugs. Among these poisons, Atropa belladonna, its berries specifically, was considerably a stand out for being known for its sinister history on beauty and death. With its ominous name derived from Greek mythology, Atropos, who cut the thread of life, and the Italian phrase "Bella-donna", meaning beautiful lady, I believe there is no better analogy than Adalyn Grace's metaphorical use of the name to capture the main character and the scope of her mission in her romantic, gothic-infused fantasy work, Belladonna.
Belladonna is a cross of YA and adult themes that centers its plot on romance, fantasy, and a murder mystery, with its narrative delving into a young woman's claim of her own power in the face of adversity. Although the story might be packed with a lot of tropes that struggle to balance one another, the ultimate thing that I love about this book is the murder mystery and attraction to death. The unexpected twists and surprise character reveals were well done, and I believe these elements will keep readers seated throughout the novel.
As the book concludes with a second murder mystery, I believe this opens itself to a possible sequel which I'm interested and curious to read, if that ever happens. All in all, Belladonna is a 3.5-star read for me ✨
All thanks to TBR and Beyond Tours for choosing me as one of your hosts and for the complimentary copy in exchange for a review! For more reviews on Belladonna, check out this link for more book tour stops.
Title: Belladonna (Belladonna #1) by Adalyn Grace
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy Romance
Publishing Date: August 30, 2022
New York Times bestselling author Adalyn Grace brings to life a highly romantic, Gothic-infused world of wealth, desire, and betrayal.
Orphaned as a baby, nineteen-year-old Signa has been raised by a string of guardians, each more interested in her wealth than her well-being—and each has met an untimely end. Her remaining relatives are the elusive Hawthornes, an eccentric family living at Thorn Grove, an estate both glittering and gloomy. Its patriarch mourns his late wife through wild parties, while his son grapples for control of the family’s waning reputation and his daughter suffers from a mysterious illness. But when their mother’s restless spirit appears claiming she was poisoned, Signa realizes that the family she depends on could be in grave danger and enlists the help of a surly stable boy to hunt down the killer.
However, Signa’s best chance of uncovering the murderer is an alliance with Death himself, a fascinating, dangerous shadow who has never been far from her side. Though he’s made her life a living hell, Death shows Signa that their growing connection may be more powerful—and more irresistible—than she ever dared imagine.
About the Author:
Adalyn Grace is a New York Times bestselling author of All the Stars and Teeth, which was named “2020’s biggest YA fantasy” by Entertainment Weekly.
Prior to becoming an author, Adalyn spent four years working in live theatre, acted as the managing editor of a nonprofit newspaper, and studied storytelling as an intern on Nickelodeon Animation’s popular series The Legend of Korra.
Local to San Diego, Adalyn spends her non-writing days by watching too much anime, and by playing video games with her dorky dog.