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Summary

Brought to you by Penguin. 

The princess isn't supposed to fall for an evil sorceress. But in this darkly magical retelling of Sleeping Beauty, true love is more complicated than a simple fairy tale. Perfect for fans of Naomi Novik and Holly Black. 

Once upon a time, there was a wicked fairy who cursed a line of princesses to die, and 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 actually cares about what happens to our princesses. I thought I didn't care, either. Until I met her. 

Princess Aurora. The last heir to the throne. The future queen her realm needs. One who isn't bothered that I am the Dark Grace, abhorred and feared for the mysterious dark magic that runs in my veins. Aurora says I should be proud of my gifts. That she...cares for me. Even though it was a power like mine that 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.

©2021 Heather Walter (P)2021 Penguin Audio

Critic reviews

"Malice is the dark and wicked heart of a fairytale carved into a book. This story is beautiful, vicious magic." (Tasha Suri, author of Empire of Sand)

"A truly original and clever retelling of a classic that had me racing to the end - you'll never look at Sleeping Beauty the same again." (S.A. Chakraborty, author of City of Brass)

"The story grows deliciously darker at every turn [...] Fairy tale lovers of all ages will be thrilled." (Publishers Weekly, starred review)

What listeners say about Malice

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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Reasonably entertaining but grating narration

I enjoyed the story well enough. It’s a relatively easy listen which it’s fairy tale narrative which inevitably makes it somewhat predictable. Unfortunately I almost had to stop listening due to the utterly bizarre pronunciations by the narrator. It may be less grating to a non British listener, but being British I found so many words were pronounced in such an incredibly odd way that it became infuriating. The narrator is actually American, and whilst she makes a good attempt, I feel that she has been coached very badly in British pronunciation. For some reason she reverses the pronunciation of every letter ‘e’ and ‘a’ which is beyond infuriating and just odd. Many words she just can’t say - ‘warriors’ being the worst, which she pronounces ‘Wor Yars!’ I persevered to the end but would very much recommend either getting a British narrator to read this book or just letting the narrator use her own accent as in its current state it makes it a very difficult listen.

2 people found this helpful

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Beautifully Dark and Loving

You know those books that speak to you on a soul level; where are you read at some point, whether it be the beginning, the end, or a scene in the middle, you have that spark in your soul that connects you to this book on such a deep level that you feel like this book was written for you. Malice was this book to me.
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It is rare that a book lives up to its cover and blurb, but for sure Malice did. From page one I was in the story, connecting with the Alyce, feeling, and seeing everything she did. The more you read, the more the story drew you in like you are gifted (not cursed) to journey through this with Alyce. I myself battle c-ptsd due to serious bullying from a young age and with Heather's amazingly flowing and intricately brilliant writing style, I felt Alyce's pain, her self-esteem problems, her hate for herself as if it were my own soul. I understood her hate for them, but her care for wanting to be a better person than them. Her need to escape it all. Her shame of the monster she thought she was because of others treating her with hatred.
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This is not just any fairy-tale or inspired retelling, in my eyes, this is a journey of love and hatred, but above all.... of a girl who was not at heart the monster they said she was. I will say no more to not spoil the ending, but what I can say is that the ending surprised, delighted, shocked, and had me needing the sequel in my hands as soon as I finished the last word.
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Thank you, Heather Walter, DelreyUK and Rachel Kennedy for this amazing arc, you will definitely be receiving an email from me when the sequel comes out to see the light of day so my emotions can journey with Alyce again.

1 person found this helpful

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Amazing

For a first novel, it's amazing, and I am can't wait for the next book.

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not bad at all

I must admit I was about to rate this book below average given the cowardice of the protagonist and the Disney Princess / anime character stile choices of most other characters, but the second half of the book it's so good I found myself just staring at my phone and listening to the book, ignoring whatever I was doing. Great listen, totally recommended ;)

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Masterful

This retelling of several fairytales is masterful and highly satisfying. I loved every minute of it. The narration is splendid as well.