ARC Review: Malice. ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️

Malice by Heather Walter

My rating: 5 of 5 stars.

A princess isn’t supposed to fall for an evil sorceress. But in this darkly magical retelling of “Sleeping Beauty,” true love is more 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. 

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 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. 

Malice

Malyce in fairytale land

The following ratings are out of 5:
Romance: ❤️💙💜💛💘
Heat/Steam: N/A
Story/Plot: 📕📗📘📙📔
World building: 🌎🌏🌍🌎🌏
Character development: 👤👤👤👤👤

The setting: Fairytale Land (Briar)

The Hero(s): Alyce – has dark and incomprehensible powers and is ostracized for being a monster. Alyce has no friends due in part to her affinity towards hexes and curses.

The heroine: Aurora – The crown princess who has a curse. She must find a prince and get true love’s first kiss or she will be dead within a year.

The Love Story: A slow burn sapphic romance between the cursed princess and the one person who has the blood of the people that cursed her family. The Villain is not a standard fairytale villain and the good and bright people are fake and catty. Quite the turnaround in fairy tale land…

Alyce lives in Briar where there is magic in the form of Graces. Graced children are born with half fae blood that is golden. They use their gold blood in addition to enhancements procured at an apothecary to create potions or tinctures that can do things for their customers like add beauty, change eye color and hair color. However, Alyce is not half Fae but half Vila (monster) and she has the green blood of the Vila which is a race that was eradicated.

Alyce has a dark grace and can combine her blood with enhancements to curse people, give them warts, and make bad things happen to them. Her customers come to her for potions/hexes because they are jealous or angry and want bad things to happen to people they use them on. Alyce lives in Lavender house and the other Graces she lives with have nicknamed her Malyce.

I have to say, that I am a lover of the fairytale retelling and this one is certainly a fun one since it turns just about every fairy tale stereotype around. I love that the shiny happy people are so tarnished and that the “villain” is the protagonist. Also, though the princess is named Aurora and has a curse, this one has elements of a bunch of other fairy tales.

For example, Alyce lives with other graces and due to her Vila blood, she is delegated to the basement area and gets stuck running errands for the other graces (almost like cinderella). Though she is allowed to go to the ball in a gown that miraculously appeared for her. Also, we associate Sleeping Beauty with the names Aurora and Briar Rose and in this book, Aurora is the princess of Briar. I really enjoyed this story. I won’t give away any more, but to say Alyce’s tale is terrific.

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

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