September 6, 2021

ARC REVIEW: Malice (Malice Duology Book 1) by Heather Walter

Malice (Malice Duology Book 1) by Heather Walter
Rating: 4 Stars
Release Date: April 13, 2021
Format: eARC
Publisher: Del Rey Books

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Merryweather who? Give me Alyce over a storybook stereotypical fairy any day! 

Malice is a dark fantasy retelling of the story of Sleeping Beauty, with more of a feminist perspective. It features a beautiful female/female romance, where you turn into one of those crowd members who start chanting “Kiss! Kiss! Kiss!”. I loved how it focused more on the “villain” rather than the princess in the story. The main character is by no means powerless, but she has been made to feel helpless by those around her. This feeling of helplessness is what turns her into a villain. 

Our main character is Alyce, the Dark Grace of the Realm. No one wants to be associated with her, yet at the same time, they require her services whenever they want to curse their enemies. Alyce goes on a journey of character development throughout the course of the story, which is fun to see. She is clearly portrayed as the bad guy or the villain in this story, but it was refreshing to get a perspective of what goes on in the villain’s head. 

Heather Walter creates an immersive world for readers to jump into. I don’t think I’ve read a book with this level of world-building in a while. The settings were all very unique. I feel that the system in the book with the Graces and the Vila was a unique idea as well.  The Graces in this novel each have their individual specialties (some specialize in beauty, others in cursing one’s enemies….). Definitely better than the forgettable fairies you see in the original Sleeping Beauty movie. 

Overall, a captivating reimagination of the Briar Rose/Sleeping Beauty story. I really hope that this has a sequel, as I can't wait to see what happens next. 

I voluntarily read and reviewed an advanced copy of this book. All thoughts and opinions are my own.

About the Book

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.

Utter nonsense.

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 a power like mine 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.

About the Author

Heather Walter has been telling stories for as long as she can remember. A graduate of the University of Texas at Austin with both English and Information Science degrees, books are–and always will be–a definitive part of her life.

As an author, Heather loves writing about what-ifs, flawed protagonists, and re-imagined history. Her favorite characters are usually villains.

When not writing, you can find her reading (duh), knitting, binging TV, and planning her next travel adventure.

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