Cover Image: Within These Wicked Walls

Within These Wicked Walls

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Member Reviews

Thank you Netgalley for the E-Arc in exchange of a review.
I started listening this one but didn't hold my interest. I thought the concept was good but I wish I could have connected with the characters and plot more.

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I thought this was going to be more creepy than it was. It mostly ended up being emotionally detached people being lonely and sad. And the flirting was cringe. I like Jane Eyre but this story didn’t capture that feeling for me.
Full review on YouTube

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DNF @ 40%

Unfortunately I REALLY struggled with this book. I wanted to like it so much because of the unique premise and the world. I did like the world, or at least the promise of it but I never got to like the book. I especially dislike the characters, especially Andromeda, especially her voice. And the audiobook did not help at all, it made me dislike her voice even more. Then the interactions, and therefore dialogues, were incredibly awkward especially with Magnus and because romance is a big element here it contribute to my not connecting to the story at all.

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After purchasing the hardcover edition (which is absolutely stunning), I listened to a sample of the audiobook and knew I had to have it as well. I don't care if audiobooks aren't normally your thing; this one is fantastic. In any case, I heartily endorse this book. Magnus and Andromeda's love story is beautiful, and I can't get enough of the gorgeous, adorable disaster boy that is Magnus. Also, the home added just the right amount of fright for those who like a little horror with their fantasy (don't worry, you don't have to be very daring).

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I decided to read the actual book for this title. I was too thrown off by having a non-African narration for a book set in Ethiopia.

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This is a fantastic YA book inspired by Ethiopian practices. Andromeda, a debtera, is hired to clean the Evil Eye from Magnus' home.

The story is full of details that are chilling and will keep you wanting more. This unique world created by Blackwood is both full of love and danger. The book is full of creepy surprises, but also a love story that transcends beyond the limitations of class or being. You are given hope that LOVE can conquer all.

4 stars

Thank you to @netgalley and for a copy of this book in exchange for my honest review.

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The pitch for this book felt like it didn't quite land. A spooky Ethiopian-inspired Jane Eyre retelling sounded like a perfect read for spooky season. I am still trying to pinpoint exactly what didn't work for me in the end, because I didn't hate this book. It just wasn't quite what I was hoping for in the end. That could definitely be a me problem, as this has happened more recently with young adult books :). Things that worked for me: the atmosphere was nice and spooky, the main character and her relationship with her mentor/father figure, the world-building was strong. Thins that didn't work for: Rochester, the romance, the narrative dragged at times.
Overall, it was a decent debut and I have hopes for a sophomore novel to be even better.
Thanks to Netgalley and the publisher for an ALC in exchange for a fair and honest review.

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Telling me a story is a retelling of Jane Eyre will almost always have me reaching for it. Its one of my favorite classics but also the one I love to see how each author takes this dark and brooding story, twists and turns it, and makes it even more haunting. That is precisely what we get from Lauren Blackwood's utterly chilling rendition, Within These Wicked Walls.

Andromena is such a great character. Having had such an uncertain life filled with harshness and discipline and a lack of affection, she sets out to prove herself by cleansing a cursed house where so many debtera (a kind of exorcist that neutralizes evil with amulet magic) have fail before. She is unflinchingly determined and clever, and the banter between her and her new employer, Magnus, is so irresistible.

Blackwood's writing is so engaging, she has truly crafted a retelling thats calls upon the haunting feel of Jane Eyre, but with even more terror, a more likeable Rochester, a really unique take on amulet magic, plenty of swoonworthy moments, and a gothic atmosphere and violent curse that will definitely send chills down your spine. Andi's brave story is driven by her need for real human connection, whether it be her beautiful friendship with Saba, her tumultuous bond with Magnus, or her complicated and wanting relationship with Jember, the man who not only trained her, but was the only father-figure she knew from a very young age. I truly loved every stunning page of this book.

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Within These Wicked Walls by Lauren Blackwood is considered a modern retelling of Jane Eyre, but this comparison is very loosely based to me.

Andromeda is a debtera sent to work at the house of Magnus Rochester to rid him of the evil eye and the manifestations that are in the house. But, the house and Magnus is filled with secrets that Andromeda may not be qualified to handle especially since she is not licensed.

A haunted castle and potential romance will make for an excited read for many who enjoy this genre. However, this story fell short for me and I felt myself losing focus and not as excited to continue reading. I did push through and felt that the story was creepy at times but I could not connect with the characters.

The narrator, Nneka Okoye was a great fit for the audiobook.

Thank you to NetGalley and Macmillan Audio for this copy in exchange for an honest review.

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Andromeda has been trained in the art of cleansing and getting rid of manifestations that haunt houses. She is on a mission to make a better life for herself which makes her a little desperate. She takes a job that others have all turned down, even her somewhat beloved mentor. She finds herself in over her head in a complete horror-ridden house. Every turn and corner presents a new manifestation and a new horror. Bodies keep dropping and time is running out. Can Andromeda cleanse the house in time or will the curse claim Rochester once and for all?

This story has Jane Eyre vibes, but it also has the haunted house vibes of every spooky horror story ever. If you are in the mood for a spooky, haunted, murder mystery - this novel is for you! Fair warning, monsters lurk behind every corner.

Warning: the ending is intense.

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*received for free from netgalley for honest review* Interesting and different book, liked it a lot at first and lost me a bit towards the middle but not bad, liked the MC

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Within These Wicked Walls is a standalone Ethiopian historical fantasy retelling of Jane Eyre, where the protagonist, Andromeda, is hired to exorcise a manor house of the Evil Eye. However, she soon discovers that both the house and its young master, Magnus Rochester, are not what they seem, and the house staff keep disappearing. Andi is an engaging protagonist with equal parts spunk and humility, a vast improvement on her classic literary archetype. The prose is engaging and perfectly balances deep character moments with necessary worldbuilding. While Magnus didn’t appeal to me personally as a viable love interest, other readers may find his interactions with Andi to be romantic. I really enjoyed the narrator of this one, and it was great to listen along with reading the book itself.

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I really, really wanted to love this book! It was originally marketing as an Ethiopian-inspired Jane Eyre retelling, which had me so excited to get my hands on the ARC. That being said, after reading the first few chapters, this book has sat on my DNF (Did Not Finish) shelf for months.

The atmosphere of the novel was appropriately creepy and brooding from the start, which made for an excellent October read. However, I just didn't get invested enough in the characters or plot to stick around to finish the book. I've been trying to think what exactly about the book failed to hook me. Overall, neither the mystery behind the haunting nor the characters themselves succeeded in hooking me into the story.

The main character seemed like a strong and resilient young woman--I hope she vanquishes the darkness behind the curse of the house. Unfortunately, I don't think I'll bear witness to her victory or failure.

I did enjoy the narrator and believe she was a good fit for the audiobook version of this novel.

I would still recommend this book to YA readers who enjoy horror novels. The multicultural aspect of the book and the strong lead character also make this a valuable addition to any library YA shelf.

As for myself, I don't think I'll be returning to finish this one.

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This book seemed really interesting but I didn’t get a chance to download it before time ran out! Definitely plan to read in the future!

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DNF @ 20%

Was really intrigued by the premise, but couldn't really get into the vibe of the story or the characters. The magic seemed cool though! I think the issue I had with this book was purely personal, starting to realize books set solely in a house aren't really my things :(

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This was good, not great. I LOVED the premise but it made me realize that I don't like the original Jane Eyre, but I loved the spin Lauren put on it.

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I was pretty much instantly captivated by Within These Walls. It’s a powerful fantasy novel, with lyrical prose, vivid imagery, romance, discussion of topics like race, gender, and class, while being situated in a historical world where power and magic are central themes.

Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for this e-arc!

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3.5 stars for enjoyment

What the heart desires, the house destroys...

Andromeda is a debtera—an exorcist hired to cleanse households of the Evil Eye.
She is hired by a young heir with a haunted house problem. She takes the job but soon feels that she bit more than she can chew - the manifestations are pretty horrifying and Magnus might have hidden some things that would have kept her from keeping the job. She wants to go as she might not survive this exorcism, but her heart and ethics play a bigger role in her decision.

This is sold as an Ethiopian-inspired debut fantasy retelling of Jane Eyre.

Within These Wicked Walls is a great gothic YA novel, and with it comes a lot of YA tropes including Insta-love and rash decisions. I wish it hadn't been sold as a Jane Eyre retelling, because I kept reading it and looking for more similarities that never came. It is a great gothic novel on it's own, though.

I received the book as a Once Upon a Bookclub title and will be re-reading it soon with adjusted expectation.

The things I loved about WTWW were the atmosphere and the world building. I also really enjoyed Andromeda as a character. I can honestly say that I would love it if Lauren Blackwood allowed us to continue to follow Andromeda as she grows and matures in future books, I hope this isn't a stand alone because the world and the main character have a lot more potential.

The plot is intriguing and the supernatural elements really deliver heartpounding suspense at times.

I listened to WTWW as a Macmillan Audio production from Wednesday Books narrated by Nneka Okoye. Her narration really helped bring the story to life, especially the tension, suspense and Andromeda's mood swings and teen angst.

Disclaimer: In exchange for an honest review, I am thankful to Macmillan Audio, and NetGalley for providing me with a copy of Within These Wicked Walls.

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DNF @ 65%

This book hasn't been holding my attention for a while now and its finally time to call it quits.

It feels way too insta-love with Andi and Magnus for me to even care. I don't feel like I know anyone as a character. The plot is confusing me, I'm not following along easily enough and I don't care to bother to go back and reread.

I've been listening to the audiobook and the narrator is all right, not my favorite but not bad, but I'm just not following along and keep zoning out, so its time to move on. Sad because I've heard good things about this one and really wanted to like it!

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Within These Wicked Walls is exactly the book I hoped it would be. There's some instalove and a couple of plot holes, but between the excellent audio narration, the nuanced, skillful character work (especially the heroine) and plot points I love, I was all in.
I don't think it's quite right to call it a Jane Eyre retelling, but perhaps inspired is the right word. There are notes here and the gothic WTFery is definitely present, but it's something entirely its own. The messy relationship between the main character and the man who raised her is complicated but compelling, even if I still disliked him by the end. The Ethiopian-inspired magic and setting were richly described, almost cinematic in the telling.
This is a story about finding of the self, falling in love with a monster, and seizing freedom on your own terms.

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