I won a proof copy of Malice from giveaway on Twitter – and ohmygods I was so excited. I was planning on writing an unbiased review. Which I can’t do. Because I am biased. Because this book is EVERYTHING. More seriously though, I am really excited to talk about Malice because Heather Walter has written a stunner of a book.
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.
Let me start by saying that when I was growing up, I didn’t care about princesses. I wasn’t bothered about happily ever afters, only coming to care for them more in romance novels as I’ve grown up. But this Aurora, this version of a princess, a princess who wants to forge a better world with someone she cares about and who cares about her in turn? That I care about.
Alyce is a brilliantly crafted character, and reading about how cruelly she is treated simply for being different was genuinely painful at times. The author has done an excellent job of bringing not just empathy out, but also making you consider the world from the perspective of an outsider. I know a little of this myself, being disabled and registered blind, but nevertheless I wanted to reach through the pages and squeeze Alyce into a hug. I wondered, how would I have treated her, if I was a Grace, or a commoner? And if I was Aurora?
Aurora herself is equally beautifully crafted, and she and Alyce find that they have more in common than it would initially seem. Both different in their own way, Alyce treated as cursed because of her Vila blood, and Aurora literally cursed, approaching the age she will die at without finding her true love. The connection they have is forged in a genuine and lovely way, and morphs into a powerful love that allows them to find some happiness.
The prose itself is written in a delicious way, full of vivid images and conversations that seem plausible as well as magical. The author has done a stunning job of conjuring up real magic with her words, and the twists and turns she takes us on through Alyce’s eyes could be shown on a screen they are so clear.
My thanks again to both the publisher and the author for bringing Alyce, Aurora and the cast of characters into my life. I can’t rave about this book enough. Malice is due out 13th April, and you can find it on Amazon here, and on Book Depository here.