Book Review | Malice

I have been looking forward to reading this book for a while and I have not been disappointed.

Heather Walter

Once upon a time, there was a wicked fairy who cursed a line of princesses to die, and could only be broken by true love’s kiss. You’ve heard this before, haven’t you? The handsome prince. The happily-ever-after.

Utter nonsense.

Let me tell you, no one actually cares about what happens to our princesses. I thought I didn’t care, either. Until I met her.

Princess Aurora. The last heir to the throne. The future queen her realm needs. One who isn’t bothered that I am the Dark Grace, abhorred and feared for the mysterious dark magic that runs in my veins. Aurora says I should be proud of my gifts. That she . . . cares for me. Even though it was a power like mine that was responsible for her curse.

But with less than a year until that curse will kill her, any future I might see with Aurora is swiftly disintegrating – and she can’t stand to kiss yet another insipid prince. I want to help her. If my power began her curse, perhaps it’s what can lift it. Perhaps, together, we could forge a new world.

Nonsense again. Because we all know how this story ends, don’t we? Aurora is the beautiful princess. And I-

I am the villain.

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I don’t know why I have found this review so difficult to write but for some reason when I really love a book is when I struggle the most, so I’ve been putting this off for a while knowing that it wouldn’t come easy because I absolutely loved this book. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again I love a retelling but to get it from the perspective of “the villain” of the story, and for it to be such an original take, and for it to feature two women being powerful and resilient and falling for each other, it just made Malice even more entrancing than I had expected it to be.

The world-building is incredible, I felt so immersed in the world of Briar and found it so interesting how the Grace’s came to be, how the kingdom came to have them and how this has changed Briar and its inhabitants. Of course, this knowledge grows and differs as the story unfolds and it makes the political alliances and power plays even more tense as the pages kept turning.

Alyce is a fascinating character I felt like I was taking every step of this journey with her, she is a little different to the rest of the Grace’s, always treated as lesser when in fact she is so much more. This story very cleverly mapped out how easy it is to sway people’s opinions and how our perception of villain changes depending on what information we have access to and I love that despite Alyce’s magic being more geared toward dark magic that it is more her circumstances than her will that cause the most problems.

She is a force that has been so contained that she doesn’t have any idea what she is capable of but in the end, she shows that she is resilient and strong and better than what the kingdom have perceived her as. I also love her relationship with Aurora, at first, they are working together to try to break Aurora’s curse but it was exciting to see how that changed as they got to know each other better and how they both reacted to the situation that Aurora is in, which I found quite frankly horrifying, but that made their unfolding relationship even sweeter.

Aurora was another wonderful character, where I expected someone who would be resigned to her position and to her fate, instead, she was very strong-willed and defiant and willing to try everything before accepting her fate. There are of course a cast of characters a lot of whom are intriguing and I wasn’t always sure who was friend or foe which added to the suspense of the story.

Malice is a divinely dark fairytale that weaves its magic effortlessly, honestly by the end of the book I didn’t think I could possibly read quick enough, I was desperate to know what would happen. The ending is magnificent and I was at the same delighted and a little gutted that I’m going to have to wait to see what happens next.

This is a definite for my top ten of this year and I would highly recommend it.

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