Book Review



  • Author: Heather Walter
  • Genre: YA Fantasy
  • Publication Date: May 10, 2022
  • Publisher: Del Rey
  • Series: Malice Duology #2

Thank you to NetGalley and Del Rey for providing me with an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review.

CONTENT WARNING: gore, blood, murder

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Did they break the curse, or begin one? Sleeping Beauty’s dark sorceress reclaims her story in this sequel to Malice.

The Dark Grace is dead.

Feared and despised for the sinister power in her veins, Alyce has spent 100 years wreaking her revenge on the kingdom that made her an outcast. Once a realm of decadence and beauty, Briar is now wholly Alyce’s wicked domain. No one escapes the consequences of her wrath.

Not even the one person who holds her heart.

Princess Aurora saw through Alyce’s thorny facade, earning a love that promised the dawn of a new age. But that love came with a heavy price: Aurora now sleeps under a curse that even Alyce’s vast power cannot seem to break, and their dream of the world they would have built together is nothing but ash.

Alyce vows to do anything to wake the woman she loves, even if it means descending into the monster Briar believed her to be. But could Aurora ever love the villain Alyce has become?

Or is true love only for fairy tales?

I have seriously been waiting to get my hands on this story since the second that I finished Malice. I fell in love with the story of Alyce and Aurora, and how we get a completely different view of the Sleeping Beauty fairy tale. And let me tell you, this completely lived up to every expectation!

The story picks up a century after the events of the last book. Briar has changed so much that it is unrecognizable, but Aurora is still under the influence of the sleeping curse, and Alyce is still pining for her lost love. And while Alyce has had 100 years to come into her power, she’s still learning more about herself and how to build and effectively rule a kingdom. 

I loved seeing the land that Alyce, now called Nimara, creates—a haven for all of her fellow misunderstood creatures. She’s still heavily influenced by Mortania, who provides some intriguing self-examination on Alyce’s part. In addition, the people that she’s surrounded herself with are incredibly amazing additions to the story. Instead of the bullying Graces, she has assembled a court and council that represents all of the different groups within the Dark Court. 

We get answers to some questions that were percolating since the last book, as well as some that come up in this book. There’s action, intrigue, romance, and betrayal all throughout the book, and it kept me hooked right from the start. This was the perfect ending to an incredible duology, and I hope that I get to see more work from Heather Walter, because her style is amazing.

People who have sat around with me while I’m reading, especially when there’s a surprising reveal, a shocking plot twist, or an unexpected event often look up in alarm when I gasp audibly. The gasp factor is directly related to the number of times I audibly gasp during a reading, and there isn’t an upper limit.

Gasp Factor: 8

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