ARC Review: Malice by Heather Walter

Star rating: 4/5 stars

Synopsis: via Goodreads

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.

General information: This book is set to come out on April 13, 2021 from Random House Publishing Group.

My thoughts:

I loved this book! The whole concept of an F/F fairytale retelling is amazing to me. I love fairytale retellings in general, and this one did not disappoint. I could barely put it down. I love the worldbuilding of Briar and the Graces specifically. This book had a really original take on Sleeping Beauty. I sped through the last 50 pages trying to find out what would happen and the ending was soul-crushingly good. It was angsty in all the best ways. Many of the characters really stood out in good ways; I even really felt for Rose by the end.
Some more negative thoughts: there was a lot of exposition in the beginning of the book, some of it in chunks delivered to the reader. I understand the necessity of it, but there might be a better way to sprinkle it throughout the book. The appearance of Kal felt kind of random and very convenient. I had some issues with one of the reveals in the end, but I won’t go into spoiler territory on here.

Other than that, this was a great read! I highly recommend it, especially for fans of fairytale retellings. Definitely request a copy from NetGalley or pick one up when it comes out in 2021. Thanks to NetGalley and Random House publishing for my copy!

Have you read this book? Is it on your TBR? Let me know in the comments!