By Heather Walter
Rating: 4/5 Stairs
Which starts like this:
The golden bell above my doorframe bobs twice.
I roll my shoulders against the needling ache that settles at the base of my neck whenever that damn thing sounds. After nearly a decade of hearing it, I’ve come to despise the bell’s shrill, tinny clang almost as much as the message it carries: a patron is coming. When it was first installed, my bell gleamed like those the Graces use in their parlors. But now, seeing as the servants conveniently forget to polish it, a mottled green tarnish clings to the thing like a scaly skin. Fitting, I think, that I should have the ugliest bell in Lavender House when I am by far the ugliest creature living inside it.Malice
I really enjoy a fairy tale retelling, and Malice tackles one of my favorites – Sleeping Beauty. (And a times it felt like a smidge of Cinderella thrown in for good measure.) Malice started a little slow for me, (necessary to introduce the reader to the kingdom of Briar and the Grace system) but once I got into it, Alyce’s story turned into a page turner.
Alyce is known as the Dark Grace – she is not a true Grace, but part Vila and gifted with a darker magic than the traditional Grace’s gifts of things like beauty and wisdom. Ms. Walter turns the Sleeping Beauty tale on it’s head, telling the story from Alyce’s perspective. She’s not the villain that everyone thinks – she’s lonely, isolated, and used by people throughout the kingdom for her “evil” gifts – and it turns out Alyce doesn’t understand her true powers.
This was a fun tale to read, and it ends on a bit of a cliffhanger. Looking forward to finishing up Alyce’s story in the sequel!
Many thanks to NetGalley for providing me with a copy of this book for review.