Author: Heather Walter
Series: Malice Duology #2
Length: 459 pages
Publisher: Del Rey
Release Date: May 10, 2022
Source: Publisher via Netgalley
Recommended for fans of: dark fairy tale retellings, Maleficent
Content Warnings: violence, war, death, grief, xenophobia
Does true love break curses or begin them? The dark sorceress of “Sleeping Beauty” reclaims her story in this sequel to Malice.
“Fans of reimagined fairy tales and LGBTQ+ themes will be delighted with the conclusion of this fantasy duology.”—Booklist (starred review)
The Dark Grace is dead.
Feared and despised for the sinister power in her veins, Alyce wreaks 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. And no one will escape 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 it is a love that came with a heavy price: Aurora now sleeps under a curse that even Alyce’s vast power cannot seem to break. And the 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 turning into the monster Briar believes her to be. But could Aurora love the villain Alyce has become?
Or is true love only for fairy tales?
100 years after the events of Malice, Alyce reigns the ruins of the former kingdom of Briar as Mistress of the Dark Court. She and her wicked allies conquer the Fae Courts one by one until only the High Court remains. Will ending the war bring about the new age that Alyce and Aurora once dreamed of? Or will senseless hate and killing bring about more of the same?
I loved reading about all the different creatures that made up the Dark Court. I was here for the villainy, dark side fashion, and lovers to enemies vibes. However, I was a bit disappointed in the character development. I expected more character growth from Alyce after a century as Mistress of the Dark Court, yet I found her to be a frustrating combination of stubborn and wishy washy. Her love for Aurora was borderline obsessive, blinded her to the big picture, and led to some repetitive moments.
The story kicked off at an exciting pace, slowed in the middle, but turned around for an epic and emotional ending. I didn’t love this book as much as Malice, but I overall recommend this duology for a unique villain’s perspective.