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.
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.
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.