Belladonna book review

Belladonna by Adalyn Grace – Book Review

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“You are bolder than the sun, Signa Farrow, and it’s time that you burn”

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Orphaned as a baby, now nineteen-year-old Sigma has been raised by a number of guardians. Each one more interested in her wealth than her well-being, and each has met an untimely end.

Signa’s remaining relatives are the Hawthornes, an eccentric family living at Thorn Grove estate. An estate that is both glittering and gloomy. Its patriarch still mourns his late wife by way of wild parties. While his son struggles to grab control of the family’s waning reputation. And his daughter who suffers from a mysterious illness.

When their mother’s restless spirit appears to Signa, claiming to be 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 truth is with an alliance with Death himself, an intricately fascinating and dangerous shadow who has never been far from Signa’s side. Though he’s made her life a living hell, Death shows Signa that their growing connection may be more powerful – and much, much more irresistible – than she ever dared imagine.

Thoughts on the Plot

This book pulled me in right from the beginning with the intriguing introduction we get to our main character, Signa Farrow.

This book has such a lush and gothic feel to it. I assume this book is set in the mid to late 1800s based on the language, style of clothing, mode of transportation, and journal entries.

Our main character lives in quite a few homes growing up, before landing at Thorn Grove. Which is where the story then really begins to take place. Thorn Grove has similar vibes to “We Have Always Lived in the Castle” by Shirley Jackson and “Rebecca” by Daphne Du Maurier.

With just how incredibly gothic and dark the scenic estate is described.

After you have been drawn in by the opening scene of the book, the pace begins to move at a nice speed. The plot doesn’t linger in unnecessary positions, nor does it rush ahead either.

The middle does settle a little bit but does not remain stagnant.

From the very first page of this book, the stakes have been high. Something that lends quite a helpful hand to the plot as Signa moves along within the story.

Thoughts on the Characters

This book has a fascinating cast of characters. Our main character, Signa, is beautifully written and also very formed. Which I really enjoyed.

Signa is a very lonely young woman and in her shoes, who wouldn’t be? She is burdened by the loss of caregiver after caregiver. Yet we are not simply told about Signa, we are shown through her thoughts and actions.

Especially through her strange relationship with death. (Aka the reaper, but I will refer to him as death here.)

She has one last chance to find a home with her estranged family, the Hawthornes at Thorn Grove. However, what Signa is quickly able to piece together about the Hawthornes is that they are a family that is struggling.

And not long after, a mystery surrounding her aunt’s death is begging to be solved.

The relationship that develops between Signa and her sick cousin Blythe becomes an unbreakable sisterhood, and we stan.

Signa’s relationship with death is probably her second most noteworthy relationship in the book. Death has known Signa ever since she was a wee infant who changed her fate by surviving.

Signa’s relationship with death reminds me of Addie’s relationship with Luc in The Invisible Life of Addie LaRue by V.E. Schwab.

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Signa decides that Thorn Grove is her home and sets her sights on discovering who and what is causing chaos and murder in their wake at Thorn Grove.

Signa, similarly to Bylthe, starts out a little frustrating. Signa’s character goes through a lot of growth, the same as Blythe’s.

If there is any character I thoroughly disliked through and through, it was Percy, Signa’s cousin, and Blythe’s brother. He lacked a lot of common sense.

Final Thoughts

I genuinely loved this book and the second “Foxglove” comes out today! By the time you are reading this, I will probably be halfway through devouring Foxglove!

We also get a third in the series “Wisteria” but no publication date set yet.

What I also really enjoy about this book, is that I can recommend it to you as a standalone. You absolutely do not need to continue the series if you like the ending of Belladonna and wish to leave the story as is.

*Spoiler ahead*

One thing I did not like, is Signa’s link to death. Signa is only 19, which compared to how old death is, makes her still practically an infant. It felt a little wrong to rob her of her experiences with having a first love and experiencing heartbreak because it felt more like “she was made for death”.

This never really sits right with me, but is just a tiny little aspect of the story I did not fully enjoy. However, you can also argue that because Signa herself is a reaper, things like first love and such are entirely irrelevant to how much more she will go on to do.

*Spoilers over*

I am very excited to continue Signa’s story and I would love to know your thoughts. Have you read this book? Or are you now ready to dive head-first into this enthralling story?

As for a rating, this book gets 4.75 out of 5 stars from me.

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