Review: Belladonna by Adalyn Grace


Signa, a nineteen-year-old orphan, has never had a stable home, as her various guardians were more interested in her wealth than her welfare. The only family she has left are the Hawthornes, a peculiar family living in the Thorn Grove estate, which is both enchanting and eerie. The patriarch of the family mourns his wife’s death through extravagant parties, his son struggles to preserve the family’s reputation, and his daughter is afflicted with an inexplicable ailment. When Signa’s deceased mother’s spirit appears, alleging that she was poisoned, Signa realizes that the family she depends on may be in grave danger. She teams up with a morose stable boy to hunt down the killer.

Signa’s only chance of discovering the murderer is through an alliance with Death himself, a captivating, dangerous figure who has been a constant presence in her life. Despite the fact that he has made her life miserable, Death shows Signa that their growing bond may be more potent and irresistible than she had ever envisioned.


I was initially thrilled to start reading this Victorian-era gothic fantasy novel, but unfortunately, it left me feeling extremely disappointed. The lack of world-building left me struggling to imagine the setting, and I felt that the author didn’t put in enough effort to create a fully fleshed-out environment. Additionally, the plot felt formulaic and predictable, relying too heavily on clichés and tired tropes. I found it difficult to believe in the romantic relationship between the 19-year-old protagonist and the timeless entity that is Death, particularly given the power imbalance between them. I guess I am not fourteen anymore! lol!

The book lacked proper world building and left much of it up to the reader’s imagination, resulting in a lack of depth and detail. The only hints about the world were that wealthy men wore imported fabrics and expensive leather, while women donned silk gowns and occasionally hats. The overall setting was vague and unclear, making it difficult to fully immerse oneself in the story. The accuracy of historical facts was also questionable, leaving the reader feeling unsure about the authenticity of the world. Because of this most the time I was thinking of Bridgeton for references.

Despite Death claiming to be extremely busy, he had enough time to assume the identity of Sylas and engage with Signa as both himself and Sylas whenever he pleased. Furthermore, his previously established motto of not “playing god” was disregarded by both him and Signa whenever they deemed it necessary to save or take someone’s life.

Just like Bridgeton all the men were extremely hot, first Sylas, then what’s-his-face duke and even Death who materialized as a man during an unnecessary ball who made it almost impossible for Signa to form a coherent thought in her head whenever they breathed or moved.

There was a meager attempt at female friendship that added nothing to the story or Signa’s character. I don’t even think Charlotte’s character was needed for the story to continue as she played no role whatsoever in the plot except to tell Signa at the very end where she could find Percy.

The mystery element was somewhat ok up to about 50% of the story and then it was very obvious Sylas was Death and Percy was the one who was behind it all as we had already eliminated potential suspects.

There were so many plot holes in the storyline, at one point I wished to dnf the book. I can go on and on but I think this would summarize my thoughts on the book.



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