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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)

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What listeners say about Malice

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  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars

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.

7 people found this helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

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.
🥀
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.
🥀
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.
🥀
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.

2 people found this helpful

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awful narration average story, characters and romance

although it is definitely worth a read the first 2/3 of the book is incredibly boring, the romance falls short of my expectations and the plot is now where near developed enough to compensated for that. there is a strong lack of something throughout this book the ending was not satisfying for me and it did not leave me excited for the next one it left me confused and disappointed. although i love aurora and alyce and i love that alyce hates everyone except her and wants to destroy everything and get revenge but always look after and protect aurora.

the narrator good lord were we reading the same book? there was such unnecessary accents for characters and exaggerated tone in places that did not require it. the narrator was overall really annoying and took me out of the reading experience.

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.

1 person found this helpful

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Great story, poor narration

Really enjoyed the story, however felt the narration let it down. Fairly frequent odd pronunciation of common words and the British accents (I am a British listener) were executed poorly, which was jarring. I persevered until the end because the story was entertaining.

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Predictable but gripping

Even though I guessed every twist, I was still tense waiting for it to happen. Really great take on a classic story, and one which I’d never seen adapted before

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Awesome

The performance for this book was amazing! I really enjoyed Ann Marie Gideon. Little things like doing the scoffs or chuckles along with the lines when they called foe it in text. She really puts a lot of emotion into the reading.
The story is great as well, took a darker turn than expected. But I am now sitting here counting down the days until the next volume. I need to know what happens next. I am also immediately going out to buy this on physical copy because I really enjoyed it and want to support the author fully!

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Blood ties and fairytale

I loved this book it was amazing, it has everything you want in a fantastic book, their’s plenty of action with magic, fantasy and finding true love.

Alyce the only Dark Grace has life hard, as everyone has been scared of her from the moment she was born, you feel sorry for her as she is trapped. Aurora is the princess and she needs to lift the curse before she is 21 or she will die, she has to find the right person to kiss for the curse to be lifted.
I love fairytales and books like these are rare, especially when the main characters are lesbian.
I will say the ending shocked me and I was like where is book 2, I need to listen to book 2 NOW, so I can carry on the fairytale of the story.

The book was written from Alyce’s point of view.

I look forward to listening to book two, and I can’t wait to listen to more books from this author and narrator.

Please do other fairytales with lesbian main characters.

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Amazing, a little annoying tho

This book was amazing, one of the best I read in fact, an extremely pleasant twist to the traditional fairytale however I hated the narrator you will frequently hear words mispronounced. Not just one either, many words like palm, calm, warrior ect are pronounced in the strangest ways and will drive you crazy at times.

If I have 1 negative to say about the story it takes forever to really draw you in around half way through. Firstly you will hear about a historical event for many chapters during the start, I won't lie it's incredibly boring. I do recommend this book despite its flaws, its engaging in the second half, always has you guessing, and takes you on a journey.

I hope more people give this book a chance, even if you persevere through the first half I promise its worth it, otherwise you will miss a splendid adventure of pain, pleasure, ups, downs, loyalty and a bitter betrayal.

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Wow!

I tend to stay away from Fairytale retellings but I’m so so glad I gave this one a shot. I’m not a huge fan of first person narrative books but again, so glad I gave this a go.
This was a rollercoaster of emotions. I fell in love with Alyce from the start! Her shyness and awkwardness with Aurora was adorable.
Aurora pretty much sleeping beauty was cute.
Kal - I couldn’t decide what way he’d go but I had a feeling it would end up like it did.
So so good! Would highly recommend! Cannot wait for book 2!