I am delighted to share my review today for Malice by Heather Walter. This is a fab read and my thanks to Random House UK for approving my request to read this e-book via NetGalley.
I love the cover for this book!
The princess isn’t supposed to fall for an evil sorceress. But in this darkly magical retelling of Sleeping Beauty, true love is more complicated than a simple fairy tale.
Once upon a time, there was a wicked fairy who, in an act of vengeance, cursed a line of princesses to die. A curse that could only be broken by true love’s kiss.
You’ve heard this before, haven’t you? The handsome prince. The happily-ever-after.
Let me tell you, no one in Briar actually cares about what happens to its princesses. Not the way they care about their jewels and elaborate parties and charm-granting elixirs. I thought I didn’t care, either.
Until I met her.
Princess Aurora. The last heir to Briar’s throne. Kind. Gracious. The future queen her realm needs. One who isn’t bothered that I am Alyce, the Dark Grace, abhorred and feared for the mysterious dark magic that runs in my veins. Humiliated and shamed by the same nobles who pay me to bottle hexes and then brand me a monster. 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.
Because we all know how this story ends, don’t we? Aurora is the beautiful princess. And I—
I am the villain.
I really enjoyed this re-telling of the fairy tale Sleeping Beauty. It is the story of Alyce, or as she is nicknamed Malyce! She is a Vila, known as a Dark Grace. The Grace’s are the fairy’s if you like, and are admired, revered and people visit it them for the charms they make. Alyce doesn’t make charms like wisdom, beauty, intellect, she makes curses such as warts, forgetfulness and other inconveniences.
The story is how the “wicked witch” in the tale of Sleeping Beauty comes into being. The author has taken Alyce and adapted her story giving this young woman a backstory. Alyce does not fit in, she is considered an abomination and is bullied and looked down upon. All she wants is to be like the other Grace’s but her skin is dry, her hair lank, her blood green and is so different from the others. The Grace’s make charms for money, it gives them a purpose and a way of making a living and people do come to see Alyce as well.
The story takes a route that sees a friendship form, it unlikely and also frowned upon. Alyce discovers more about her villa heritage and how she is different from the other Grace’s. The author has then expanded on this difference in several ways and gradually bring Alyce up to the story we know concerning Princess Aurora becoming the Sleeping Beauty.
I found this to be a really enjoyable story and it did have a teen or young adult feel to it, and for me, this made it an easy book to read but one that did have a really captivating storyline. After finishing the story I did think that it felt right. There was a good amount of information, some history and also a general feel of Alyce being bullied and almost forced into becoming what she does.
While it is aimed at a teen or young adult market I really enjoyed escaping into this fantasy novel. It was interesting and I really enjoyed the route the author chose. One I would recommend if you are looking for a bit of escapism and also for returning to a childhood classic.
Malice is due for Publication on 13th April 2021
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