SERIES: Belladonna #1
GENRES/ SUBJECTS: YA Gothic Fantasy
Having loved Grace’s bloody adventure fantasy, ALL THE STARS AND TEETH, I was excited to see this new more-Gothic style story.
At first, I was a little unsure, as I felt the beginning took rather a while to get going, but one Signa reaches Thorn Grove the action really picks up, blending romance, hauntings and a deadly mystery together into one atmospheric package.
The gothic feel of BELLADONNA is wonderfully done, and the mystery behind who is threating the family takes a couple of twists and turns. I have to say, my guesses about the culprit were way off, but I thought Grace justified the reveal very well, and it felt like an earned ending.
The characters — all of them — are really enjoyable to read about, but I was particularly won over by Signa and Death. Death (as he ought to be) is utterly charming, while Signa’s determination to stick to her convictions even as things crumble around her, made her a likeable and compelling protagonist.
BELLADONNA ends with a set-up for a sequel, and I liked Signa (and Grace’s writing) well enough it’ll definitely be one I’ll look out for, but I think this book could be read entirely as a standalone if that was more your style
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.
A copy of this was provided free of charge from the publisher in return for an honest review.