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.

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