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Malice de Heather Walter
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Malice (edició 2021)

de Heather Walter

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A show of hands, who else instant click after reading that incredible blurb? I was immediately intrigued by the premise and though I expected this to be a bit darker since we are approaching the story from the 'villains' point of view, I was overall pleasantly surprised by how much I liked this.

Starting from the world-building―unexpected―, the unique and refreshing concept, noteworthy dynamic between the Dark Grace Alyce and Princess Aurora, and the writing style that brought to life the 'villains' thoughts and real feelings―what a debut! Despite my raves, there are a few notable plot holes that I wish the author flesh out which unfortunately I can’t bring them to light since they'll spoil the story, endless amount of miscommunication between the main characters that was continuous throughout the read that could of been cut or shorten, and lastly, the very very predictable plot twist towards the end. Ugh. I wish I could get into it but once again: spoilers!

Nonetheless, this queer retelling of "Sleeping Beauty" was magical and even with its rough edges, well worth the read. ( )
  ayoshina | Oct 13, 2020 |
Thank you Penguin Random House for sending me a free eARC via Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.

In the delightful tradition of "Wicked" and the flipped fairy tales of Margaret Atwood, Heather Walter's debut novel is "Malice." A spin on "Sleeping Beauty," "Malice" is full of imagination and intrigue. As with "The Hunger Games," there are districts dividing the poor and the wealthy. Districts have Graces assigned to them (enslaved, really) whose blood has special powers. Only one House for Graces, Lavender House, has a Dark Grace: Alyce, who is the equivalent of the bad fairy, or if you're talking Disney, Maleficent. Alyce's blood can curse people, and her skills are in hot demand, because once the Graces have given you an advantage with their blood potions (sexiness, beauty, wisdom) the only thing left to do is to disadvantage your rivals with foul curses. That's where green-blooded Alyce comes in. She can make your enemies break out in warts or hives, or make their hair fall out.

Walter tosses in a Cinderella angle at the beginning, in which Alyce doesn't get to go to the ball because she's not beautiful enough and the other Graces in the house mostly dislike her. She manages to go only because it's a costume ball. Then she meets a mysterious stranger in a ruined castle, who starts to tell her the true history of her kind, the inconvenient history that was not written by the winners.

There is indeed a Princess Aurora in the Kingdom of Briar, and a magic spindle that enchants Aurora with sleep, but the relationship of Aurora and Alyce couldn't be much more surprising, and it turns out that blood potions are not where Alyce's true power lies.

I was not as immersed in Alyce as I like to be with a first-person narrator, and I felt that Aurora was rather flat (personally I wanted her to be super naughty and bratty). Nevertheless, I enjoyed the book up until the last few chapters, in which a very predictable plot twist finally occurred and then it seemed as though the author was rushing, losing control over the pace, and adding too many different kinds of powers to Alyce. The ending was so abrupt that surely there must be a sequel coming. It didn't feel like an ending at all. ( )
  jillrhudy | Oct 9, 2020 |
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