Book Highlight: Malice by Heather Walter

Malice by Heather Walter

Title: Malice (Malice #1)

Author: Heather Walter

Publisher: Del Rey

Publication Date: April 13, 2021

Genre: Fantasy

Once upon a time, there was a wicked fairy who, in an act of vengeance, cursed a line of princesses to die. A curse that could only be broken by true love’s kiss.

You’ve heard this before, haven’t you? The handsome prince. The happily ever after.

Utter nonsense.

Let me tell you, no one in Briar actually cares about what happens to its princesses. Not the way they care about their jewels and elaborate parties and charm-granting elixirs. I thought I didn’t care, either.

Until I met her.

Princess Aurora. The last heir to Briar’s throne. Kind. Gracious. The future queen her realm needs. One who isn’t bothered that I am Alyce, the Dark Grace, abhorred and feared for the mysterious dark magic that runs in my veins. Humiliated and shamed by the same nobles who pay me to bottle hexes and then brand me a monster. Aurora says I should be proud of my gifts. That she . . . cares for me. Even though a power like mine 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.

-from Amazon

Why This Book

Malice is the first book in the Malice duology. A retelling of Disney’s Sleeping Beauty, this first book definitely embraces its source material. As a matter of fact, I felt it trying this so hard that some things just confused me. Especially since this is the story of the villain, named Alyce in this book, and Disney didn’t really invest any time in fleshing out the villains. But this offered an interesting spin with a story greater than that of Sleeping Beauty. The world it creates is fascinating and deeply detailed, and the princess is anything but a typical fairy tale princess.

Why have I chosen this one? It’s a sapphic romance between the villain and the princess. It’s not supposed to happen, it’s not supposed to work, and it’s definitely not supported by, well, anyone. But you can’t stop loving who you love, right? This is exactly what happened in this book. The princess and the villain fell in love while working closely to try to break the spell on Aurora, and everyone else tried to tear them apart. The romance was the highlight for me, being front and center. It was sweet to see them together, but they were boxed in by their source material.


My review: “As a retelling, it was, actually, quite delightful. I loved getting Alyce’s villain origin story. Her romance with Aurora was sweet, and her life a complete mess. The world bent her no matter how hard she tried to fight it, and it really gave her no option”

Suzanne from Love in Panels had this to say: “Malice lived up to my expectations, which is to say that it isn’t a genre romance but rather a retelling with a sapphic love story and a morally gray protagonist”

Annie from Dreaming of Cats wrote “MALICE is an incredible fantasy debut novel that ticks all the right boxes – compelling protagonist wrestling with her darker impulses, lovely sapphic romance and creative world-building that takes what we know from fairytales and gives it a unique twist”

Megsbookrack gave this 4 stars, saying “I also thought the relationship between Alyce and Aurora was well done. It felt natural. The stakes were really high and it definitely pushed the drama of the story”

Brooklyn from Brooklyn.the.bookworm gave this 5 stars, saying “Their chemistry was absolutely gorgeous throughout, I felt myself absolutely itching to read more scenes with the two of them, wondering, ever so curiously, how everything would develop – and oh, it was all just absolutely, wickedly epic! Everything about Malice is nothing short of perfection”

Mandy from Devouring Books gave this a 4.5, saying “The world building was fantastic, the characters were well developed and the plot was an emotional roller coaster. I’d recommend this book for fans of retellings, morally grey characters and forbidden romance”

Art from Inkandplasma gave this 5 stars, saying “They have this incredible slow burn relationship that builds so naturally that I fell in love alongside them. I’m usually, to be brutally honest, incredibly critical of relationships in fiction but Alyce and Aurora just felt pitch perfect”

Purchase Links

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Penguin Random House | Books-A-Million | Bookshop | Hudson Booksellers | IndieBound | Powell’s | Target | Walmart | High Five Books | Audible | Waterstones | !ndigo | Booktopia (Australia) | Book Depository | Google | McNally Robinson ( Canada)

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book highlight malice heather walter

Check out all the other books featured this month on The Curated Bookshelf.

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