In This Wicked Fate, the finale of Kalynn Bayron’s duology, Briseis has the chance to save her mother before it’s too late, but she only has one cycle of the moon to do so. To save her mother, Briseis teams up with Marie and blood relatives she never knew about to track down and find the final piece of the Absyrtus Heart. On their journey, Briseis learns more about her powers and the secrets of her family history. But Briseis isn’t the only one after the Heart, and it’s a race against time and her enemies to reach the final piece.
Note: There will be spoilers beyond this point for book 1 in the duology, This Poison Heart, but none for This Wicked Fate.
This Wicked Fate (TWF) picks up where This Poison Heart (TPH) ended. Bri’s mom was just killed and taken away by the goddess Hecate, who gave Bri a timeframe to bring her mom back before she was gone for good. Bayron also teases two characters who are fully introduced in TWF — Circe and Persephone, blood relatives Briseis never knew.
One thing I loved about TPH was the inclusion of mythology, and with Circe and Persephone now major players for TWF, Bayron makes the mythology much more integral to the story. Most notably, Bayron uses to mythology to inform Briseis’ family history and show just how deep and far back its roots go. It challenges Briseis to re-think her belief of mythology, which she largely imagined as the stories present in certain Disney movies. Briseis is an intelligent and resourceful young lady, so sooner or later she would be able to uncover other myth-turned-fact facets of the Colchis line herself. However, I greatly appreciated that as Bri began learning more and more family history, Bayron used Bri’s relatives to relay nearly all the information through their own ties and knowledge to help her.
Briseis herself goes through quite a bit throughout the book, especially with her grief about her mom and her anger about Karter’s part in her mom’s death. It was so interesting to read how Briseis refuses (rightly so) to forgive Karter for his betrayal yet watch her have brief moments of sympathy for him. Bayron uses that to showcase how Briseis handles the death of her mom, with a grief that’s always there but not necessarily always at the forefront.
Moreover, Briseis also sees wonderful moments of both power and tenderness. Something that remained in my mind while reading this is how, to me, Hecate showing herself to Briseis is a testament to how truly powerful and remarkable she is, and readers get to see that manifest as Bri learns the scope of her powers and how akin to magic they are. Readers see how Briseis begins to trust Circe and view her as family as Circe teaches her. Additionally, while Briseis and Marie’s relationship in TPH was more about getting used to each other’s company, this time around Bayron shows how well-suited the two are and the big and small ways in which they care for each other.
With This Wicked Fate, Bayron once again brings an enthralling story to the table. TWF bursts with just as much magic as its predecessor, if not more. It’s rich with mythology that readers will revel in, and Bayron cleverly uses her world to explore generational trauma and mortality and the fragility of life. Her main cast of characters are a delightful and well thought out group with so much depth (Marie is a personal favorite). Every area in which This Poison Heart excels, This Wicked Fate carries to the next level. It’s the perfect conclusion to Bayron’s duology.