Review: Malice by Heather Walter

Author: Heather Walter
Series: Malice Duology #1
Publisher: Del Ray
Released: April 13th, 2021
Received: NetGalley

4 kitties

Are you looking for a dark retelling of Sleeping Beauty? (Well, the Disney version of Sleeping Beauty, that is. The original is pretty dark on its own). If so, then look no further! Malice, written by Heather Walter, is the book for you.

The story starts, as all fairy tales do, with a ‘Once upon a time…’ The rest of the story refuses to follow that tradition. Once upon a time, there was a witch, and she cursed the royal line. Every princess was doomed to die, but for the most part, people didn’t care. It was just the way things were.

For her whole life, Alyce didn’t care either. She’s never had any reason to care about the royalty, or really anybody else. That is until she met Aurora. Aurora changed the way she saw the world. She treated Alyce with kindness when everyone else treated her with fear and disgust.

Now Alyce is racing against time, desperately seeking to find a cure to save Aurora. She stands a better chance than most, since it was a similar magic that created the curse in the first place.

“New patrons are always so grateful when I offer suggestions. I think it makes them feel less the villain.”

First, can I just say that I love novels written from the perspective of the ‘villain?’ Especially when their perspective forces us to look at them through a different light. That is only part of the reason why I enjoyed Malice so much, but it certainly didn’t hurt.

Malice is, at the start, a bit of a slow-burning read. It takes a while to really understand and appreciate what Alyce is trying to tell us. It takes even longer before Aurora comes onto the scene. But once everything falls into place…that is where the story really starts picking up.

The best part of this novel is that it subverts so many different classic fairytale elements. Since I’m pretty sick of those themes, it was such a delight to see! And I know I’m not the only one out there that will feel that way.

“Dragon’s teeth, she’s even worse than the others. And I once had a man tell me his own rose garden smelled too nice and was attracting bees.”

The whole concept of Graces/Dark Graces was really fascinating. It helped to explain the motivations of many different characters – not just the main ones. It’s actually a concept I wouldn’t mind seeing explored in further detail.

Malice is the first installment of what will be a two part series. I have no idea what is going to happen next, but I can tell you that I’m looking forward to finding out!

Thanks to Del Ray and #NetGalley for making this book available for review. All opinions expressed are my own.

About Liz (AKA Cat)

I am an avid animal lover, photographer, reader, and much more. While my photography blog is feeling a bit neglected at the moment, the other sites I'm involved in are going strong. ✧I review books, comics, and basically anything else in the literary world over at Quirky Cat's Fat Stacks (of Books). ✧I review comics and books, as well as write content for Word of the Nerd. ✧I review comics for Monkeys Fighting Robots. ✧I write content for Screen Rant and CBR. ✧I write book reviews for The Review Crew.
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