Cover Image: Malice


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Member Reviews

I got an ARC of this book at a conference, where several speakers talked up this title.  I was not disappointed!  This is one excellent read.  If you like retold fairy tales and learning why the villains in fairy tales did what they did, this book is for you.  This book speaks to anyone who has felt like they don't belong, to anyone who has been treated poorly because they were different, for anyone who dares to dream of finding a home somewhere other than they are.  I loved seeing the budding romance and seeing Alyce learn to use her power.  That said, the book is not perfect. I felt a bit lost in the first few chapters, where I wish more of the world building had been explained earlier.  But I hung in there, and by chapter 4-5 or so, I felt fully immersed in the world, and I'm glad I did, because it was a satisfying, emotionally fulfilling ride after that.  My other complaint is that I didn't realize the book was the first in a duology when I started reading.  I so wanted to see the happily ever after in this book! Alas, I have to wait for book two, which I hope will come out very, very soon.
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I have received this ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.

Oh man, Malice was a great fairy-tale retelling! Give me evil sorcerers any day and I will be happy. After meeting Alyce, I honestly felt so bad for her. Her living situation wasn't easy and everyone within the Lavender house treated her like shit. She did have one friend but I had a suspicious feeling about her..

Along the way, she meets Princess Aurora. Now stopping here, I was getting some Cinderella meets Sleeping Beauty vibes. Just because the house that Alyce lived at basically treated her as a servant even though she actually worked with clients as well. Ugh, Rose was the worst person in that house and I despised her. As for the Sleeping Beauty.. well Aurora - duh!

Everyone within this kingdom was an asshole. A selfish asshole. Well, everyone but Aurora. Her dad just wants her to be married and her curse lifted.. and she just doesn't want to marry anyone. Basically these guys all suck.

Once these two formed a friendship, I loved them together. Then feelings grew between them and I was even happier. I loved them together but of course, I knew my happiness was going to be taken away. Rather swiftly too.

All I'm going to say is.. everyone in this kingdom should be afraid. You created a monster and now you have to live with her revenge. I hated how she was betrayed but damn - I loved the evilness. Definitely look forward to another book by this author!
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Woooowww twisted!! This story is a fantastic fantasy, LGBTQ, and feminist representative. Plus, it’s dark and twisted and evil in all the right ways. That being said, it was a bit long... some parts just weren’t necessary. Similarly, while several twists or revelations felt brilliant, a few felt obvious or a little too convenient. Overall, great story, good romance, decent writing. A much better Sleeping Beauty retelling than I ever expected to read!
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Heather Walter's "Malice" is a dark, sapphic re-telling of Sleeping Beauty but I also saw shades of Cinderella and Beauty and the Beast.  I would recommend this book to fans of the ACOTAR series,  Maleficent or The Lunar Chronicles. 

From what I had heard from others, I expected Malice to be heavy on the romance but really, this is Alyce's story.   Of course, her relationship and subsequent romance with Princess Aurora is a part of her story, but the biggest part of the plot revolves around Alyce learning the true scope of her powers, how to use them (and how not to use them!) and discovering her own sense of self. . She went through extraordinary character development.  She was easily my favorite character.   She is such a fully fleshed character that I felt her embarrassment, humiliations and frustrations.  

I really liked the fact that she had a kestrel as a companion pet (and a little frog too).  The kestrel is named Callow and he is like a kindred soul to her because they are both damaged in their own ways and suffered abuse at the hands of others. But Callow has found a safe home with Alyce and I love the pureness of that!

The cover of this book is stunning! I would love to see this book in subscription boxes like Owl Crate or Fairy Loot.  The cover and the imagery n the book would inspire gorgeous merchandise. 

My sole complaint was that it started off a little slow.  However, once it got going I could not put the book down!

Thank you so much to NetGalley and the publisher for an ARC in exchange for my honest review.
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Happily ever after has to start somewhere and Heather Walter’s Malice depicts a familiar thorny tale well before those classic words might come to pass.

Long ago a curse was placed on the females of the royal family of Briar, with the only respite coming from true love’s kiss, which is the current effort during Princess Aurora’s last year before her potentially fatal birthday. Alyce, known as the Dark Grace, is feared for her unique heritage that manifests in darker magic than the other Grace’s, though she is still sought out by nobles who seek to exact revenge against others through her magic; however, Aurora isn’t put off by Alyce’s differences and believes strongly in Alyce and her power. Their unlikely bond leads to working together to try to find a better solution to the curse as well as shifting the way Alyce perceives those around her, for better or worse.

Featuring familiar aspects of Sleeping Beauty and adding in somefrom other talesand new ones, this imagining of how the classic tale began was intriguing and portrayed some fierce, strong female characters, though they had their fair share of flaws, which created more realistic gray areas versus a fairy tale’s more typical black and white delineation of good versus evil. Some of the early narrative and plot as it and the characters were being established moved slowly but the latter portion of the story moved much quicker and was generally more enjoyable as a result. Though the world is well-built and has unique aspects to it to deepen the magic and lore, the characters have a good base that they begin from, but they could have benefitted from further development to aid in greater, more satisfying, growth, especially with the amount of miscommunication between them that the story relies upon.

Overall, I’d give it a 3.5 out of 5 stars.

*I received a copy of this book from the publisher via NetGalley in exchange for an honest review.
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A creative reimagining of the fairytale of Sleeping Beauty. What if the villain was also the one to break the curse? After all, can’t villains fall in love too? A must read for anyone who loves and unconventional relationship.
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Thank you, NetGalley for providing me with an ARC in exchange for an honest review. 

I was SO excited for this book, a sapphic, dark, re-telling of a classic fairytale?? Count me in! I loved watching Alyce on her journey of growth and self-discovery. She was morally grey and I love seeing that in a woman MC! The anti-hero/protagonist love story is always one of my favorite tropes. I enjoyed Aurora too, she wasn’t my favorite but I still liked her! Overall there were some pacing issues and it took me longer than I anticipated to finish. I still enjoyed this, and it was a nice read!
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Such an interesting retelling of Beauty and the Beast. I really enjoyed following Alyce as she learns and grows into what I think is best described as an antihero. Heather Walter does a fantastic job creating a new and unique world that really grabs your attention. The worldbuilding is excellent and none of the characters are one dimensional. Looking forward to seeing where she takes this story next.
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I'm a big fan of re-imagined fairy tales, and this one kept me turning the pages.  I thoroughly enjoyed it.  At first, I was disconcerted by the ending .... but as the dust of reading settled, I became comfortable with how "Malice" fits  in well with the already-published "Sleeping Beauty" body of work.  Kudos to a well-imagined and well-executed tale!
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Thank you so much to NetGalley and the publisher for an ARC!

I wanted to love this book so badly. Dark retelling if a fairy tale, and making it sapphic?? That’s my jam. As soon as I’d heard of this book, I’d had it on my to-read list and I was thrilled when it was on NetGalley and even moreso when I was accepted for it.

However, the book starts off with Alyce, the Dark Grace as very much another NLOG (Not Like Other Girls) trope that was popularized in mid-2000s. Unlike most versions of the trope, she doesn’t have good relationships with boys instead, thankfully. She has fairly shallow and negative relationships with her fellow Graces, nearly all who despise and look down upon her throughout the book for her Vila blood. Her most positive relationship with another women who isn't Aurora is a woman she buys supplies from. While I know that this is certainly meant to be a darker take with morally grey protagonist, I would have hoped that Alyce might have at least a few female acquaintances who were feminine, to balance out Alyce's many rivals who were very feminine themselves. There are some minor plot holes having to do with magic

There are certainly concepts that I liked-- a rose-and-brair-crown dipped in golden fae blood that can only be worn by those of a certain bloodline, how families might take matters in their own hands to avoid passing down bloodline curses, how to deal with curses that can only be broken by a "true love's kiss", discussion of how not all "true love kisses" are good, how power can whittled away through generations, and what happens after fairy magic might fade. There's an intriguing sequel hook that I'll likely be reading!

I wish I liked this book more. I really do.
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This book is well written and has good character development I just couldn’t personally get into the story and found it a little bit of a struggle to keep reading. Either way it just left a little lacking for me personally. I received an advance review copy for free, and I am leaving this review voluntarily.
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Malice is a dark retelling of the classic fairytale trope: an evil spell has befallen a beautiful princess and it can only be broken by true love’s first kiss. Well what happens when this beautiful princess befriends the evil villain the entire kingdom despises to try and break the curse her own way? What happens when the evil villain begins to fall for said princess? Oh, how the tangled webs do weave.

What really set this book off for me was the writing. It’s written just beautifully so in an eloquent language that I had to read slowly in order to savor. This book took me so long to finish because I read each line painstakingly slow, letting every word and carefully crafted sentence fully sink in. I was shocked that this was the author’s first book and really hope that a sequel will be released because I couldn’t get enough of this one.

I already knew the general plot of it so I was expecting all the twists and turns, but what made it so great was how refreshing it felt. Rooting for the bad guy and the queer love story made for an awesomely different and welcome change in a romance. It was a slow and steady build that felt natural and gave all the good feels.

The whole magic and fantasy side of the book were also done really well. Graces and their magic blood, the phrase “dragon’s teeth,” Shifters, and Vilas, it was a wonderful world to dive into. I loved how the whole village seemed to revolve around magical elixirs. To be honest beauty elixirs reminded me of the way people get filler nowadays–temporary beauty fixes that fade away. I couldn’t find anything I didn’t like about this book and for that reason I give it a solid 5 ⭐’s.

Thank you to the publisher for granting my wish with an early reader’s copy!
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I was really loving this book because of the gorgeous cover and the main character’s sassy attitude. I guess I would recommend it to my library but only as an ebook purchase. I don’t see it circulating very much as a paperback or hardback. Fairytale retellings are a tough sale. I only know one author succeeding at it. Did I mention how obsessed I am with the cover?
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Omg this book! 

I love retellings but this one was very original and I have never read anything like it. This book definitely has some dark Maleficent and Wicked vibes.  Alyce is part Vila and because of that she has green blood and is known as the Dark Grace. The Graces are gifted with magic that they can only use by mixing their golden blood into an elixir and eventually the magic wears off. Their elixirs bring about beauty,  grace, etc.. Alyce's gift brings about curses and misfortune because of her Vila blood. A long time ago, a Vila cursed the Briar royal line so that the Queens could only produce female heirs and those princesses had until there 21st birthday to find true love or die. When Aurora,  the last of Briar line befriends Alyce, they decide to try and break the curse without true loves kiss soo that Aurora can rule by herself.

This story was beautifully written and with every page I got sucked deeper into the world and politics of Briar. I enjoyed Briar's rich history, the world itself and the characters who truly made this story come to life. I love the f/f romance and that this story is told from Alyce's (the villain) POV.
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This exceeded my expectations!

Most fairy tale retellings are hit or miss. This one was a hit for me! The LGBTQ themes felt real and not like a forced relationship to include same sex relationships. This book hit all the right marks. A twisty story where you realize the villain may not be the villain you thought. There's romance, slight gore, slight steam, and a great story where you just hope the MC makes the right moves.

There were a few plot holes near the end which is why I'm knocking a star off. I'm looking forward to the next book to hopefully clear up those holes. WILL THERE EVER BE A NEXT BOOK?

For fans for ACOTAR, The Lunar Chronicles, and Nevernight (possibly)
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Review for malice

(P.S. I usually suggest reading the book first before reviews but in this case I really can’t do that. But keep in mind if you get this book and you wind up not liking it. That’s fine cause we all have different tastes in books)

First, I would like to say that I was shocked to be accepted a Netgalley Arc for this book. So thank you for that surprise! Secondly, I’m going to try to put no spoilers in here at all. 

CW:(if there’s more please reference at other reviews to be sure.) blood, violence, mention of suicide, mentions of past traumatic events,bleeding of person, descriptive kissing scenes( it’s mostly mine but I wouldn’t let that stop me from enjoying this.), descriptive sensual scenes (same as the last one )

Now this retelling is very different and I like that. Like we’re dealing with faes, shifters, blood magic and more that right there is amazing. Also it’s a queerlit who doesn’t want more of those. Anyway , there’s no maleficent ( I mean not in the way we expect ) but there’s an Aurora. Heck at times it seems like a bunch more along the line of certain other princesses retellings with the MC. 

Let’s start off with the writing for a debut novel of this author. I am truly loving it . It’s so poetic and enchanting. It has really hooked me in very well. I’m really surprised that I really was invited to read this.

The main character is actually a vila , ( ‘ a type of fae with green blood like that right there caught my eyes. Also I believe she is the last.) named ‘ Alyce.’ One interesting character and no one can tell me otherwise. Who’s not really accepted in the world of the Graces cause of her being a vila. Like they’re so rude and the mistreatment is like Cinderella level.( you’ll get it once you read it) But she’s still so strong willed in her own way and her personality is just amazing. 

Then there’s Aurora, who’s the most realistic princess I have ever seen. Like just she’s much more spunky and overall a joy. She’s cursed just in the original sleeping beauty. On her 21st birthday if she’s not kissed by her true love , she will sadly perish like her other sisters  Let me mention we’re not dealing with 15/16 year old Aurora. Which is amazing in itself. 

Now onto topics mentioned in the plot. ( I swear still spoiler free) like racism,l( or something like that) with alyce and her being a vila. Especially as we learn the true history of the war.( which I hope stays in the finish copy) it shows how much years of misinformation (especially in print)can twist a entire group of people judgment. Even how people suffer differently even if someones life seems perfect. I think that’s an important one and it’s highly talked about here.

Overall I just really loved this book. Holy shxt that twist at the end dang , I really didn’t notice it but events of the past led to this . That just blew my mind. I can’t get over it.  But the ending is nether good or bad just gray if you get what I mean 

I definitely recommend it to anyone who loves retellings that aren’t like copycats, fantasy , interesting magic systems, the apparent slow burn romance( which I didn’t care for), lgbt + books, dark fantasy, faes, and so much more.
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A fun retelling of a classic story. I love the inclusion of LGBTQ history in classic fairy tales!
It was a bit too info-dumpy for my tastes, however. I was getting a bit confused keeping everything straight and found myself skimming those passages, but a more patient reader might enjoy that aspect of the story. I also was a bit frustrated with how often the main character was described as gross. I know the writer was working to create a main character that doesn't have to be beautiful and saved by a man, but if she was so gross, how did Aurora fall in love with her? I just wish she'd been. clean at least. The oily hair passages skeezed me out a bit. 
Overall, though, a fun read and a new addition to a long-standing genre.
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Alyce and Aurora's relationship was a nice slow burn, and I loved Aurora's character, especially at the beginning of the book. I was a little surprised when I got to the end of the book, since I was expecting this to be a retelling, when in reality it felt like a prequel. I
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Book Review for Malice by Heather Walter
Full review for this title can be found at: @fyebooks on Instagram!
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Loved the premise of this book. The characters were really intriguing and compelling. I enjoyed the world building and the detailed descriptions.
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