Book Review; Belladonna- Adalyn Grace

Page Count 416

Publication date August 2022

Publisher Hodder & Stoughton

GoodReads link

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Synopsis

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-For as long as Signa Farrow has been alive, the people in her life have fallen like stars . . .

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.

Signa’s best chance of uncovering the murderer, though, 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.

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Review

Belladonna opens with a scene of mass murder by poison, but whilst you’d expect such a thing to be gruesome, somehow it was delicate- so beautiful is Grace’s description. The contrast in baby Signa’s calm reaction to the visage of death all around her immediately sets her apart, giving her an untouchable quality.

I chose this title from Netgalley having previously enjoyed the fantasy adventure; All The Stars And Teeth, you can find my review HERE.
This time Grace leans into the horror genre with main character Signa’s ability to walk between life and death, communing with angry spirits and taunting the Reaper himself.

Belladonna is told from third person perspective, past tense with Signa being the only focus- Perhaps owing to this I found the pacing a slow at times.
There was much repetition of how Signa perceived herself and others, evaluating every choice she made and whether they were correct for someone of her societal stature. I thought this tedious though not quite as much as Signa getting flustered by every single man she interacts with. It’s likely this is just personal preference as I’m never a big fan of romance subplots.

What held my interest were the mysteries of Thorn Grove, Grace managed to endear me to almost all of the characters in Belladonna and certainly invest in their fates. There are red herrings aplenty in this story and enough hints to niggle the back of your mind whilst navigating a plot which at its core tells of a girl born into the clutches of Death.

The pacing ramps up as expected toward the end of the novel and the few irritants I had became easy to overlook. I very much enjoyed the portrayal of Death as a character in this novel, Grace gave him a humanity and intention that entices me to read more.
I recommend this YA fantasy and I’ll definitely pick up the sequel ‘Foxglove’ to see what Signa Farrow does next.

Features & Functions:

Author: Roxanne Michelle

Dramatic, curly-haired wannabe writer from a nowhere town in Somerset. Stop-starter of all projects great and small. Here to talk books, film, mental health and lifestyle.

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