Cover Image: Within These Wicked Walls

Within These Wicked Walls

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Member Reviews

A little Jane Eyre inspiration, but make the walls bleed.

Within These Wicked Walls is a YA Ethiopian fairy-tale-inspired, very loose retelling of Jane Eyre.  There is horror and romance; there is gore and there are flying books.  There is also self-discovery and complex relationships.  

The story is based on Andromeda (Andi) who has taken a job as a debtera in the house of Magnus Rochester.  The evil-eye has ahold of Magnus' castle.  There are manifestations all over the home and the ten previous debteras haven't been able to fully cleanse the home.  Andromeda was raised by a fellow debtera, Jember.  He provided her debtera training, but put her out on the streets before she could be license.  This leaves her only chance at making it to cleanse the castle and earn a patronage.  Jember raised her to focus on survival over love with a basis in cruel, real world prep training.  Can Andromeda turn this training into survival for those she has come to care about?

I loved the narration by Nneka Okoye and would not hesitate to listen to another by her.


Thank you to NetGalley and Macmillan Audio for an advanced listening copy of this book in exchange for an honest review.
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Within These Wicked Walls is a gothic fantasy retelling of Jane Eyre set in Ethiopia with a heroine who has been hired to cleanse Thornfield Hall of evil spirits.

As a big fan of Jane Eyre, that premise immediately hooked me and I liked a lot of how this reimagined elements from the original in a way that makes sense for a modern YA novel. (for instance, while there are dark secrets they don't include a mad wife in the attic) I adored the first half of the book with this creepy house, determined heroine surviving an abusive childhood, and inventive magic system involving the creation of amulets to ward off the evil eye. We have a plain young heroine in Adromeda and a dark, forbidden romance (though this Rochester is only a year her senior, not more than a decade) I think this is really where you see the strongest points of retelling and reimagining the story. It was cool to see how the mythology and superstition surrounding the Evil Eye was woven into the narrative, one way the author really made this her own.

The second half of the book wasn't bad, but it felt much more conventional, in line with your typical YA action meets angsty romance with a side of dealing with complicated family relationships. It didn't quite deliver the plot arc and emotional impact I was hoping for, partly because it really begins to diverge from the original Jane Eyre. And the plot threads involving Andromeda's guardian wrapped up a bit too neatly for my taste. I think for many readers this departure will be less of an issue and I do think this portion is fairly well-executed, it just didn't elevate the book to the level of a new favorite as I was kind of hoping. And that's partly on my own expectations. That said, I think this is a very strong debut and a great introduction to the gothic romance genre for younger readers. The audio narration is a pleasure to listen to and I enjoyed reading along with the ebook. I received an advance audio & e-book copy of this book for review via NetGalley. All opinions are my own.
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This was a fun retelling. I listened to the audio book, and I enjoyed the narrator. She did a great job bringing this to life.
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As much as I love me a morally grey/villain love interest, the soft bois still get me every time. That being said, I think the relationship between Andromeda and Magnus really carried this book for me. That plus the novel magic system and the original storyline. The concept of the evil eyes and using amulets to defeat it isn't like anything I've ever quite seen before!
The only downside to this book is that the abusive father-figure got a redemption arc... and didn't exactly deserve it.
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Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for an AudioARC in exchange for an honest review.

Within These Wicked Walls is a tale of curses, redemption, and survival. Andromeda has been called to essentially preform and exorcism on a house, a house where many have tried and failed. Andi, now out of options, sees the job as a chance for a new beginning for herself as well. But can her strength of will be powerful enough to break a curse? Or will the curse devour her whole?

This tale is an absolute masterpiece. Practically flawless from start to finish and with an epic conclusion that envelops the reader, body and soul. Andi is the heroine we need, even if she does go a little boy crazy at times in the book. It fits her though, her constant need to feel loved and therefore is more of a tool from the author rather than a troupe-ish snore. The manor is as glamorous as it is dangerous with rooms that boast of it's former victories against the living. Our love interest/master of the manor Magnus is haunted and yet not stuck in feeling sorry for himself. My one wish was that we got more of Andi experiencing horrors in the house as well as the magic mechanics she used to expel them. Even so, this was a damn near perfect read and will be one I recommend during many spooky seasons to come.

I recommend this for all readers of a good spooky tale 14+ as some of the imagery portrayed could seriously spook a younger group. If you're looking for the perfect read to get into the Halloween mood, look no further than Andromeda and this creepy castle.
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I enjoyed the narration for this fantasy novel. This is touted as a re-telling of the Jane Eyre story, and it does have the romance set-up similar to Jane Eyre.  Unfortunately, it's the romance aspect of the narrative that doesn't quite work for me.  On the other hand, I am totally here for the gothic fantasy ghostbusters aspect of the story.  On balance, I would recommend the audiobook with the caveat that it is slow in places.
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