I have another post this week, and its a book review. I heard about Belladonna when Adalyn Grace posted teasers about in on her tiktok account this past fall. I was interested in her description of a young woman's connection to Death set in a gothic England like place. When I saw that NetGalley and Little Brown Books for Young Readers were offering the advanced copy of the book, I just had to check it out.
Let’s get into it!
Here are the quick facts: eBook Little Brown Books for Young Readers Publishing Date: August 30, 2022 Genre: Teen & YA Rating: 5/5 stars 416 pages
Signa Farrow has always had a complicated relationship with Death. Orphaned at a young age, Signa's guardians had a strange habit of dying while Signa was in their care. When she is sent to Thorn Grove, the estate of the Hawthornes, she hopes to live a relatively quiet and normal few months before she becomes of age and can access her inheritance. This changes when, upon her arrival, she is visited by the spirit of her deceased aunt, who Signa believes was murdered by someone at the estate. Together with Death, Signa works tirelessly to solve her aunt's death and save her cousin from a similar fate.
I really enjoyed this book. I think Adalyn Grace did a fantastic job in creating the atmosphere of a dark spooky manor filled with ghosts. I found Signa's character to be well rounded and not very tropey, an issue that tends to come up with female protagonists in young adult books. While Signa was aware she was not like the other socialite girls in her neighborhood, she still longed for love and a family while still staying true to who she was. I also found the other characters to be enjoyable. Blythe easily could have been a character than was only used to further develop Signa, and yet she continued the plot without loosing any of the things that made her character unique.
The plot was straightforward and I didn't feel that the story dragged or lulled in anyway. I was eager to get to the end and didn't mind the over 40 chapters. Some were only a few pages, while other were a bit longer. I think that the length was just right to create Signa's world, explain the mystery, and fully develop the characters. There were two main twists at the end of the story. The first one I was able to guess. It was not very obvious and was just a fleeting thought that was confirmed. The reveal of the poisoner, however, I didn't anticipate and it made the grand reveal that much better. The cliffhanger ending makes me believe that this story may get a sequel and I hope it does. This book gave me similar vibes to the Kingdom of the Wicked series by Kerri Maniscalco. Both are dark stories that have supernatural elements in both main characters.
The only downside I felt was the few loose ends from the plot. For example, the story starts with a detailed explanation of how Signa was orphaned, a party thrown by her parents where were poisoned. I wish that there was some sort of clarification as to why and who poisoned her parents and how they were able to do it without getting caught, especially given how the book ends. Overall, this book is really solid choice for people who are fans of stories that contain gothic elements, ghosts, and Death.
Again, thank you to NetGalley and Random House Children’s for the eARC of the ebook!
Belladonna is out today, August 30th, 2022, I will link websites where you can purchase the book.
Until next time!
Barnes and Noble: https://www.barnesandnoble.com/w/belladonna-adalyn-grace/1140276393
Indie Bound: https://www.indiebound.org/book/9780316158237