Book Review: The River Has Teeth – Erica Waters

Book Review: The River Has Teeth – Erica Waters


Release Date:
July 27th 2021
Publisher: HarperCollins
Pages: 400
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
Rating: 2.75/5 stars

Synopsis

Her car was found abandoned on the edge of a local nature preserve known as the Bend, but as the case goes cold, Natasha’s loss turns to burning anger.

She’ll do anything to find answers.

Della’s family has channeled magic from the Bend for generations, providing spells for the desperate. But when Natasha appears on her doorstep, Della knows it will take more than simple potions to help her.

But Della has her own secrets to hide.

Because Della thinks she knows the beast who’s responsible for the disappearance — her own mother, who was turned into a terrible monster by magic gone wrong.

Natasha is angry. Della has little to lose.

They are each other’s only hope.

Review

The River Has Teeth is a dark fantasy story that follows Natasha, a young girl whose sister is missing. Natasha will do anything to discover what has happened to her. Della lives near the place where her sister was last seen and her family have harnessed the magic of the area for generations, but the magic is acting strangely and Della has secrets of her own. Will the two girls be able to overcome their differences and discover what’s really happening on the bend?

This is one of those books that had so much potential but just didn’t really work for me. The story felt a bit messy at times and I wanted more of an explanation around the magic. I liked the alternating viewpoints of the two main characters because it was interesting seeing the story from different perspectives but I found Natasha to be a bit on the irritating side.

This is my first book from Erica Waters and I did like her writing style. The story had lots of atmosphere and an interesting setting, but the story just didn’t grab me the way I was expecting. There were a few twists and turns but the reveal at the end was a bit on the predictable side and I saw it coming quite early on. I would have loved to learn more about Della’s family and the magic they create rather than Natasha trying to find out what happened to her sister. I did think the romance was well done and fit well within the story. Overall this book just wasn’t a hit for me, but if you’re looking for an atmospheric mystery story with lots of atmosphere, this could be just the book for you.

Blog Tour: The Path and the Way – Michael S. Jackson

Blog Tour: The Path and the Way – Michael S. Jackson

Series: The Ringlander #1
Release Date: April 27th 2021
Pages: 484
Find it on: Goodreads. Amazon.
Source: The author kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
Rating: 5/5 stars

Synopsis

Holes between worlds are tearing through Rengas. Firestorms are raging as multiple realities battle for control of the elements. Even the Way, the turbulent channel that separates Nord, Határ and Kemen, the lifeblood of the city of Tyr, has turned.

Kyira’s search for her missing brother draws her away from the familiar frozen lines of Nord and south into the chaotic streets of Tyr where games are played & battles fought. As reality tears Kyira must choose between her family or her path before the worlds catch up with her.

Review

When I first heard about Ringlander: The Path and the Way I was immediately intrigued – partly because of that stunning cover – but also because it sounded like such a unique and engaging tale. In a world in which holes are beginning to tear between worlds, we follow Kyira, a young girl trying to find her missing brother. Her search will take her away from everything she knows – her home in freezing Nord to the bustling streets of Tyr. As Kyira fights to find her brother and stay alive reality begins to tear, forcing her to choose between the things most important to her: her family or her path.

The thing that struck me most about this book was how much I was torn between reading it slowly, savouring the fascinating world and magic system or racing through it because it was so compelling and I just had to know what was going to happen. This is an exceptionally addictive read, one that is well-paced and excellently plotted. The story kept me engaged throughout and as soon as I finished it I was desperate for more. The Path and the Way felt like such a fresh take on this type of story and despite it being a thicker book I read it in only a few sittings.

Jackson really excels at creating multi-layered characters and I find it rare to read a multi-POV story where I’m captivated by all of their storylines. There’s usually always one or two I am less fond of but each one was fascinating. Kyria is a particularly compelling character, battling to find her brother and succeed despite the odds being stacked against her. If you’re someone who loves books with plenty of action, this book definitely has you covered. From the very first page, there is tons to keep you hooked and turning pages late into the night.

The Path and the Way is an impressive tale and one that I did not want to end. If you’re looking for a fantasy read with detailed worldbuilding and incredible characters, this one is a must-read. The Path and the Way is absolutely one of my favourite fantasy reads of the year and I can’t wait to read more from Michael S. Jackson.

Blog Tour: The Wisdom of Crowds – Joe Abercrombie

Blog Tour: The Wisdom of Crowds – Joe Abercrombie

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Series: The Age of Madness #3
Release Date: September 14th 2021
Pages: 560
Publisher: Gollancz
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
Rating: 5/5 stars

Synopsis

Chaos. Fury. Destruction.

The Great Change is upon us…

Some say that to change the world you must first burn it down. Now that belief will be tested in the crucible of revolution: the Breakers and Burners have seized the levers of power, the smoke of riots has replaced the smog of industry, and all must submit to the wisdom of crowds.

With nothing left to lose, Citizen Brock is determined to become a new hero for the new age, while Citizeness Savine must turn her talents from profit to survival before she can claw her way to redemption. Orso will find that when the world is turned upside down, no one is lower than a monarch. And in the bloody North, Rikke and her fragile Protectorate are running out of allies… while Black Calder gathers his forces and plots his vengeance.

The banks have fallen, the sun of the Union has been torn down, and in the darkness behind the scenes, the threads of the Weaver’s ruthless plan are slowly being drawn together…

Review

The Wisdom of Crowds is the third and final installment in Joe Abercrombie’s The Age of Madness series. Picking up after the events of The Trouble With Peace, this story is full to the brim with chaos and revolution. A magnificent conclusion to an incredibly gripping trilogy, this final book was everything I wanted and more.

Joe Abercrombie is one of my favourite authors and going into this book I had the highest of expectations, but even with that Abercrombie still managed to blow me away. Abercrombie does a brilliant job of wrapping things up and creates a heart pounding finale that I did not want to look away from.

I won’t say much about the plot as it is the third book in the series but there is an excellent mix of action and political intrigue in the story. Abercombie has a real knack for writing dynamic and engaging battle scenes. The Wisdom of Crowds is the kind of book that hooks you in from that very first page and doesn’t let you go till the very end.

The Age of Madness trilogy has felt like a fresh prospective on the typical fantasy story and Abercrombie has created some truly incredible characters. There are so many complex and fascinating characters but throughout the series Rikke and Savine have been my favourites. This has been such a compelling trilogy and The Wisdom of Crowds is an absolute must read. Though I am sad to see the series completed, I cannot wait to see what Joe Abercrombie writes next.

5 Stars

Blog Tour: The Winter Garden – Alexandra Bell

Blog Tour: The Winter Garden – Alexandra Bell


Release Date:
2nd September 2021
Publisher: Del Rey
Pages: 528
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
Rating: 4.75/5 stars

Synopsis

Welcome to the Winter Garden. Open only at 13 o’clock.

You are invited to enter an unusual competition.

I am looking for the most magical, spectacular, remarkable pleasure garden this world has to offer.

On the night her mother dies, 8-year-old Beatrice receives an invitation to the mysterious Winter Garden. A place of wonder and magic, filled with all manner of strange and spectacular flora and fauna, the garden is her solace every night for seven days. But when the garden disappears, and no one believes her story, Beatrice is left to wonder if it were truly real.

Eighteen years later, on the eve of her wedding to a man her late father approved of but she does not love, Beatrice makes the decision to throw off the expectations of Victorian English society and search for the garden. But when both she and her closest friend, Rosa, receive invitations to compete to create spectacular pleasure gardens – with the prize being one wish from the last of the Winter Garden’s magic – she realises she may be closer to finding it than she ever imagined.

Review

The Winter Garden is the magical new book from Alex Bell and the story follows Beatrice, who receives an invitation to a magical garden on the night her mother dies. She spends seven days exploring this strange and beautiful place, but when she returns no one believes it was real. When eighteen years later Beatrice is arranged to marry an English Duke, someone her father very much approved on. Beatrice cannot face the idea of being married to him and cancels the wedding, heading off in search of the mysterious garden. When Beatrice and her friend Rosa receive invitations to compete in a competition to create the most brilliant pleasure gardens, they discover the prize is a wish from the last of the Winter Garden’s magic.

The Winter Garden is my second time reading a book from Alex Bell. I read Music and Malice in Hurricane Town on a whim and completely loved it, so I have been really intrigued to pick up more from this author. I sat down to read The Winter Garden one night and ending up sitting there many hours later. Bell completely sucks you in with her beautiful writing style and I was completely captivated by the vivid descriptions of the gardens. The story was so easy to get swept up in and while it was on the chunkier side, I completely raced through this fast-paced story. I loved the Victorian setting of the book and the story is definitely one I still think about long after turning the last page.

The Winter Garden is a brilliant, engrossing read, one I think fans of The Night Circus will completely adore. If you love stories with that fairytale-like feel to them I think this is definitely a must-read. I really liked Beatrice as a main character and I loved the way she made the decision to follow her dreams rather than end up in an unhappy marriage. There is quite a lot of character growth within the story and it does focus quite a lot on the theme of regret. The Winter Garden is a captivating and moving tale and if you’re looking for a magical, wintery story to keep you entertained over the Autumn, this is definitely one to order now.

Blog Tour: The Hand of the Sun King – J. T. Greathouse

Blog Tour: The Hand of the Sun King – J. T. Greathouse


Series:
Pact and Pattern #1
Release Date: August 5th 2021
Publisher: Gollancz
Pages: 367
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
Rating: 5/5 stars

Synopsis

My name is Wen Alder. My name is Foolish Cur.

All my life, I have been torn between two legacies: that of my father, whose roots trace back to the right hand of the Emperor. That of my mother’s family, who reject the oppressive Empire and embrace the resistance.

I can choose between them – between protecting my family, or protecting my people – or I can search out a better path . . . a magical path, filled with secrets, unbound by Empire or resistance, which could shake my world to its very foundation.

But my search for freedom will entangle me in a war between the gods themselves…

Review

The Hand of the Sun King is a vivid and engrossing epic fantasy debut from J T Greathouse. The story follows Wen Alder, or Foolish Cur who is torn between the two sides of his family. There is the legacy of his father, who can trace his ancestry to the right hand of the Emperor. Then there is his mother’s family, staunch objectors to the Empire and part of the resistance. Wen finds himself torn between protecting his family or his people, but his path could lead him to something much greater – a place of magic and secrets away from the influence of the Empire or the resistance. But taking this path will entangle him in a war greater than he could possibly imagine.

The Hand of the Sun King is such a well-executed story and one I completely fell in love with. The world-building was well crafted and I was completely fascinated by the world Greathouse has created in this story. I also thought the magic system was really intriguing, particularly as the story progressed and we learned more. Greathouse has a really vivid writing style and the setting was really brought to life in the story. I raced through this book in a matter of days and I cannot wait to see where the story goes next. This coming of age tale will appeal to so many readers as it’s full to the brim with magic, action-packed battle scenes and well-crafted characters.

One of the things that really shines in The Hand of the Sun is the complex characters. Wen is a really fascinating story and there is so much character growth as the story progresses. He isn’t always the most likeable of characters as he goes on his journey, but he was certainly a compelling protagonist, dealing with conflicting loyalties and searching for his path in life. The Hand of the Sun King is a brilliant read, one with absolutely beautiful writing and an intriguing world. The book has already been getting lots of hype and it’s easy to see why. This will definitely be in my top books of the year and I cannot wait to read more from J T Greathouse.

Blog Tour: Deepwater King – Claire McKenna

Blog Tour: Deepwater King – Claire McKenna


Series:
The Monstrous Heart Trilogy #2
Release Date: June 24th 2021
Publisher: HarperVoyager
Pages: 400
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
Rating: 4/5 stars

Synopsis

Since losing her great love to the Queen of the Sainted Isles, Arden must fulfil an impossible promise before she can return home – she must complete the dangerous Rite that will return Jonah’s spirit to the abyssal Court of the Deepwater King.

This sets her off on a journey far out at sea to find believers of the old religion on the oil-slick and mysterious islands beyond the horizon. But such a responsibility will not come without sacrifice, for the Deepwater folk who worship the King require the most desperate payments the soul, and with one man Arden may have to pay the greatest price of all…

Astonishingly original, with world-building to rival the depths of the ocean, McKenna has drawn a rich tale of longing and courage – penning the perfect oceanic steampunk fantasy.

Review

Deepwater King is the second instalment in the beautiful Monstrous Heart trilogy by Claire McKenna. Monstrous Heart is a book that’s been on my radar for quite a while and I ended up reading both books back to back. Deepwater King picks up immediately after the events of Monstrous Heart and I found it so easy to get sucked back into the story. We are once again following Arden as she heads out on her journey to complete the rite and return Jonah’s spirit to the court of the deepwater king.

While I really enjoyed Monstrous Heart I enjoyed Deepwater King even more. The world is so unique and – it’s a Victorian-style world full of mysterious sea creatures and fascinating abilities. The blood magic was something that I was particularly intrigued by and the way McKenna incorporated that into the world. I liked that we got the opportunity to learn more about it as the series progressed. It took me a little while to get to grips with the world in book one so I found it much easier to understand what was going on in book two. McKenna has an absolutely beautiful writing style and the vivid writing really made the story come alive.

Arden is an interesting protagonist – she’s the light mistress and in this second instalment there is danger wherever she turns. She’s quite a strong-willed main character and she will do whatever she can to fulfil her promise. She has been on such a journey since the first book and I really enjoyed seeing the character development. I also liked Jonah who is much more than we first suspect in Monstrous Heart. Deepwater King is definitely a book I found myself thinking about when I wasn’t reading it and I was always desperate to get back to the story. I ended up reading the last hundred pages of the book in one sitting, and I am desperate to see how it all ends in the final instalment. If you’re looking for a captivating fantasy story with plenty of twists and turns, this is definitely one to check out.

Book Review: The Wolf and the Woodsman – Ava Reid

Book Review: The Wolf and the Woodsman – Ava Reid


Release Date:
June 8th 2021
Publisher: Del Rey
Pages: 448
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
Rating: 5/5 stars

Synopsis

In her forest-veiled pagan village, Évike is the only woman without power, making her an outcast clearly abandoned by the gods. The villagers blame her corrupted bloodline—her father was a Yehuli man, one of the much-loathed servants of the fanatical king. When soldiers arrive from the Holy Order of Woodsmen to claim a pagan girl for the king’s blood sacrifice, Évike is betrayed by her fellow villagers and surrendered.

But when monsters attack the Woodsmen and their captive en route, slaughtering everyone but Évike and the cold, one-eyed captain, they have no choice but to rely on each other. Except he’s no ordinary Woodsman—he’s the disgraced prince, Gáspár Bárány, whose father needs pagan magic to consolidate his power. Gáspár fears that his cruelly zealous brother plans to seize the throne and instigate a violent reign that would damn the pagans and the Yehuli alike. As the son of a reviled foreign queen, Gáspár understands what it’s like to be an outcast, and he and Évike make a tenuous pact to stop his brother.

As their mission takes them from the bitter northern tundra to the smog-choked capital, their mutual loathing slowly turns to affection, bound by a shared history of alienation and oppression. However, trust can easily turn to betrayal, and as Évike reconnects with her estranged father and discovers her own hidden magic, she and Gáspár need to decide whose side they’re on, and what they’re willing to give up for a nation that never cared for them at all.

Review

The Wolf and the Woodsman is the dark and captivating tale of Évike, the only woman in her pagan worshipping village without magic. When the king demands a pagan girl as a blood sacrifice, the village offers Évike up. En route to the capital with the deadly Woodsman, they are attacked, leaving only Évike and the captain left alive. She soon learns he is more than he seems and the two must reluctantly team up to stop an attempt to seize the throne that will have catastrophic repercussions for both the pagans and the Yehuli people.

I’ve been trying to find a book that will fill the hole left by Katherine Arden’s Winternight Trilogy and this is absolutely it. With beautiful writing and a wonderful fairytale-style story, The Wolf and the Woodsman completely sucked me in and stole my heart. This book has immediately catapulted to one of my favourite books of all time. I loved everything about this book. Reid has a really lyrical writing style, the world she has created practically leaps off the page and I was completely fascinated by the magic in this story. There is lots of body horror and quite a bit of gore in the story, but it’s an incredibly well-executed story, and one I did not want to end.

One of the things I loved most about this story is the incredible characters Reid has created. Évike is a really compelling protagonist, attempting to understand where she fits in the world being half pagan and half Yehuli. Gáspár is similarly a really fascinating character and I loved watching the relationship between the two develop as the story unfolds. The story is steeped in Jewish folklore and mythology, which I found completely fascinating. The story also very much focuses on the horrors of religious persecution and ethnic cleansing, inspired by events in Hungarian history.

The Wolf and the Woodsman is the sort of book that I was completely torn between racing through to see how it ended and taking my time to savour every moment. This is an incredible debut, and I cannot wait to read more from Ava Reid. It’s definitely the kind of book that stays with you long after you’ve finished reading. This book has already been getting quite a bit of hype and it is absolutely well deserved. If you’re a fan of books by Katherine Arden and Naomi Novik, this is a must-read.

 

Blog Tour: The Blacktongue Thief – Christopher Buehlman

Blog Tour: The Blacktongue Thief – Christopher Buehlman


Series:
Blacktongue #1
Release Date: May 27th 2021
Publisher: Gollancz
Pages: 416
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review

Synopsis

Kinch Na Shannack owes the Takers Guild a small fortune for his education as a thief, which includes (but is not limited to) lock-picking, knife-fighting, wall-scaling, fall-breaking, lie-weaving, trap-making, plus a few small magics. His debt has driven him to lie in wait by the old forest road, planning to rob the next traveler that crosses his path.

But today, Kinch Na Shannack has picked the wrong mark.

Galva is a knight, a survivor of the brutal goblin wars, and handmaiden of the goddess of death. She is searching for her queen, missing since a distant northern city fell to giants.

Unsuccessful in his robbery and lucky to escape with his life, Kinch now finds his fate entangled with Galva’s. Common enemies and uncommon dangers force thief and knight on an epic journey where goblins hunger for human flesh, krakens hunt in dark waters, and honor is a luxury few can afford.

Review

The Blacktongue Thief is the first in an all-new fantasy series from acclaimed horror author Christopher Buehlman. I have long been intrigued by Buehlman’s horror books, but when I heard about this epic fantasy tale I knew this was going to be a must-read. The story follows Kinch Na Shannack, a man trained by the Taker’s Guild to lock-pick, steal and a whole host of other useful skills. Kinch owes the Taker’s Guild a great deal of money for his education and has no choice but to steal from those travelling through the old forest road. When Kinch chooses the wrong mark, he ends up tangled up with Galva, a knight and warrior from the goblin wars, who is on an epic quest to find her missing Queen in a far off city that has been ravaged by giants – what could possibly go wrong?

The Blacktongue Thief is one of those books that sit down to read a few chapters of, it sucks you in and before you know it it’s 3am and you’ve finished the book. This is a fast-paced story, full to the brim with magic, action and adventure. Buehlman has created an absolutely fascinating world with a detailed history and intricate world-building. I loved learning about the goblin wars and I was completely fascinated by the magic in this story. Kinch’s magic centres on luck and this felt like a really unique idea.

The Blacktongue Thief has some of my new all-time favourite characters and if you love stories that are equal parts dark and hilarious, this is definitely a book for you. There are tons of funny moments, particularly as Kinch and his crew get further in their quest to find the Queen. I definitely found myself laughing out loud at some of the situations they end up in. There are plenty of complex characters and while Kinch was my favourite I really liked Galva and Norrigal too. I definitely found myself rooting for these characters and I can’t wait to see where Buhelman takes them in the next instalment.

This story is full of detailed action scenes and features so many things fantasy fans will love. If you want a shadowy, scheming guild, flesh-eating goblins, krakens, giants, witches and a whole lot more, you’re going to love what The Blacktongue Thief has in store. This will absolutely be one of my favourite books of 2021, and I can’t wait to read more from Christopher Buhelman.

Blog Tour: The Lore of Prometheus – Graham Austin King

Blog Tour: The Lore of Prometheus – Graham Austin King


Release Date:
November 30th 2018
Publisher: Fallen Leaf Press
Pages: 287
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: I was kindly sent an e-copy of this through The Write Reads
Rating: 4/5 stars

Synopsis

John Carver has three rules: Don’t drink in the daytime, don’t gamble when the luck has gone, and don’t talk to the dead people who come to visit.

It has been almost five years since the incident in Kabul. Since the magic stirred within him and the stories began. Fleeing the army, running from the whispers, the guilt, and the fear he was losing his mind, Carver fell into addiction, dragging himself through life one day at a time.

Desperation has pulled him back to Afghanistan, back to the heat, the dust, and the truth he worked so hard to avoid. But there are others, obsessed with power and forbidden magics, who will stop at nothing to learn the truth of his gifts. Abducted and chained, Carver must break more than his own rules if he is to harness this power and survive.

Review

The Lore of Prometheus is the dark story of John Carver, a soldier struggling with memories of his time in Afganistan. Struggling to pay off his debts, he agrees to take a security position in Kabul. When he returns to Kabul the memories come flooding back of the event he has so hard to forget – the day he felt magic stirring within him. But Carver isn’t the only one with these magical abilities, and some people will stop at nothing to get them.

Urban fantasy isn’t something I would typically read but the premise for this story really intrigued me. This fantasy standalone packs a punch and from the get-go I was hooked. This is a fast-paced story and one that you won’t want to look away from. I really enjoyed learning about the magic and the different kinds of abilities and this story was unlike anything I’ve read before.

Carver is a really interesting protagonist and I liked him more and more as the story develops. He’s very stubborn, determined to survive. The story focuses a lot on PTSD and the guilt Carver feels about surviving when his regiment did not. I similarly liked Mackenzie though I preferred Carver’s storyline to hers. The last half of the book when the two come together was the part and I enjoyed most and I thought the author wrapped the story up really well. I don’t read standalones all that often so it was nice to have a story concluded in one book. There was also lots of snarky and witty humour which was unexpected, but something I really enjoyed and I thought worked really well in the story.

The Lore of Prometheus is a brilliant read and one that really gives a fresh perspective on military fantasy. If you’re a fan of dark stories, full of action and magic this is definitely one to pick up.

Blog Tour: Malice – Heather Walter

Blog Tour: Malice – Heather Walter


Release Date:
April 13th 2021
Publisher: Del Rey
Pages: 496
Find it on: Goodreads. BookDepository. Waterstones.
Source: The publisher kindly sent me a copy of this book to review
Rating: 5/5

Synopsis

Once upon a time, there was a wicked fairy who cursed a line of princesses to die, and 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 actually cares about what happens to our princesses. I thought I didn’t care, either. Until I met her.

Princess Aurora. The last heir to the throne. The future queen her realm needs. One who isn’t bothered that I am the Dark Grace, abhorred and feared for the mysterious dark magic that runs in my veins. 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.

Review

I am an absolute sucker for a fairytale retelling, so when I heard about Malice – a sleeping beauty retelling where Princess Aurora falls in love with the villain – I was immediately desperate to get my mitts on it. This story was everything I wanted and more – it was an incredibly dark and compelling read.

The story follows Alyce – the one and only Dark Grace. Feared and shunned for her powers, Alyce has very few friends and knows almost nothing about her Vila heritage. Meanwhile the kingdoms last remaining heir – Princess Aurora – has turned twenty, meaning she only has one more year to find her true love before she dies. Can Alyce find a way to lift the curse – even though she’s the villain and we all know how that story ends?

As soon as I picked up Malice I was completely hooked and I was swept along in this gorgeous story. I loved the world Walter created for this. It was beautifully imagined and there was plenty of well-explained world-building to allow the reader to get to know the world more. The story is pretty fast-paced but I found that just kept me turning the pages quicker and quicker because I didn’t want to miss anything.

Our main character Alyce is a really fascinating one. She’s the ‘wicked villain’ but she’s so much more than that. I really enjoyed seeing her learn more about her powers and there’s tons of character growth. I found myself quickly becoming sympathetic towards Alyce and I was rooting for her from the get-go. I love morally grey characters and it was such a fascinating exploration of the evil sorceress character.

Malice might be inspired by Sleeping Beauty but I felt like this was such a unique story that brought a fresh perspective to a familiar story. I loved the slow burn romance in this story too, it was well executed and I loved seeing Alyce and Aurora’s relationship develop. Malice was an incredible read and one I know fantasy fans are going to absolutely fall in love with. This has been one of my favourite books of 2021 so far and I cannot wait to see what Walter writes next.