Member Review

Cover Image: Belladonna


Pub Date:

Review by

Seher M, Reviewer

My Recommendation

"But Death did not need to be seen; he was to be felt. He was a weight upon the chest, or a collar buttoned too tight. A fall into frigid, lethal waters. Death was suffocating, and he was ice."

Thank you NetGalley and Hodder & Stoughton for the chance to read Belladonna by Adalyn Grace. In case someone doesn’t want to stick around for the full post, Belladonna is a fantastic read, perfect if you’re a fan of the V. E. Schwab books, The invisible life of Addie LaRue and Gallant.

Belladonna comes out on the 30th of August and was published by Hodder & Stoughton. It’s a young adult book, and can be further classified as YA fantasy or YA thriller or mystery. It’s 416 pages long and beautifully written. I can 100% imagine all the merchandise that people can make from this because the book is pretty quotable. I hate saying that but it’s true! I have 101 lines highlighted on my kindle! Belladonna is also the first book in the series by the same name, and while I’m not sure how many books we’ll get from the series, I can already tell you that I will request the second one on NetGalley as soon as I can and probably get pretty hardcover editions of all of them. The second book is titled Foxglove (according to Goodreads).

"It’s also not Adalyn Grace’s first book. She’s also the author of All the Stars and Teeth duopoly, which seems to have incredibly well received (NYT called the it the biggest YA fantasy of 2020)."

Signs has always been surrounded by poison; her parents death at a young age to her immunity from belladonna. As an heiress, she’s also been surrounded by poisonous people, who really just want access to her money so that they can finance their lives. As she moves to her final guardians home, she discovers that she may have the chance to actually live the life that she wants; one where she is a lady and be wooed and swept off her feet and have her own home. It’s just the home that she gets to is in disarray as her aunt has died and her cousin lies there kicking on deaths door.

"Signa trembled like a hummingbird. Someone had truly arrived to retrieve her. To whisk her away to a family high within the social hierarchy, with whom she might wear beautiful gowns and sip tea with other women and have the life she yearned for."

Signa, as a charter goes through tremendous growth. She starts off as someone who doesn’t understand what her abilities could mean and is ready to be rescued, to someone who takes action when she needs to. She knows that if she doesn’t investigate, this group of people, who she is getting fond of, could all be gone soon; the life that she wanted could be gone, and she works to keep it.:

I did feel like her relationship with Death was done a bit too quickly; I wish it had developed more. The way it was, it felt more like brutal attraction rather than something more. 

"Why, then, was it that whenever she was with him, something within her seared hot and fervent?"

I loved how Blythe and Percy were set up, although I don’t understand what Percy’s plan for Blythe was, given that I know he did love her in some way. Byron was absolved too quickly, and I wish we had seen more of Charlotte in the book. 

I really did love how Adalyn Grace showed us that these young women, despite their wealth and, seemingly, good fortune, were trapped. It was also good to see Signa grow out of the desire to be one of them quickly. It was also really funny to see that it’s hinted to Signa that her mother, despite being very interesting and beautiful, wasn’t really a nice person, and that she just brushes it off and thinks that she could be more free like her mother.

While the plot and the characters were great, the best thing about this book is Adalyn Grace's beautiful, lyrical style of writing! If you give this a read, I don't think you'll be disappointed!

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