I gave this FF romantasy a 4.9/5 stars. I loved the fairytale mixture of a Cinderella story turned Sleeping Beauty. And the fact that it was all from a villain’s point of view was excellent.
Here are my thoughts love while reading:
Chapter 1 was pure perfection. Alyce concocted an illegal “ugly” potion for a patron who will give it to an unexpected nemesis. The sinister vibe was superb and I’m already completely entranced. Ar this moment, I wish every book was THIS book. PLEASE, Malice, please don’t let me down. Keep this up.
Well. Chapter two introduces 5 new characters right away, which is a bit much for a couple paragraphs.
The invitation to the ball reminds me of Cinderella, especially how Rose is treating her. But the “masqued” ball reminds me of Phantom of the Opera. And the way Alyce is described reminds me Elphaba from Wicked. I’m curious to know what her pet looks like.
Is there more than one Dark Grace?
In chapter 4 there’s a bit too much history lesson of backstory and royalty education given. I’m hoping when writing my work-in-progress, A Crimson Oath, that I can somehow manage the story without having to lay the groundwork of leadership and politics that don’t matter as much to the story as the relationships between the main characters.
I love the creepy, crumbling fortress she investigates. Is the man imprisoned there a ghost or real? Is Kal her father? I wasn’t expecting this to be a shifter book. Part of this reminds me of Girl, Serpent, Thorn.
Now that they’re at the Princess’s birthday ball event, this Cinderella-esque story has transitioned a bit to Sleeping Beauty. I don’t understand if royal sons aren’t allowed legally or aren’t possible scientifically. I’m worried that if Alyce and Aurora become intimate, then it’ll feel like a “default” for Alyce because Aurora is basically the one and only person who has been nice to her. How would she know she actually loves her if she has nothing pleasant to compare it to?
This book reminds me of so many of my favorites blended together like Music of the Night, This Poison Heart, and Sing Me Forgotten. I’m just loving it.
At the halfway mark I’m unsure if she can trust Kal. Also, why did she see her in the mirror? New revelations keep getting added on which makes the story more complex. But the world building of the legends and different sides is starting to get a little confusing since some is rumored and we don’t know what’s true. So we’re not just getting a history lesson but possibly an inaccurate one.
When we move into Part 2, I can feel Alyce’s hesitation if which side to pick since she has made friends on both sides of the ancient feud. I love that she’s taking things into her own hands more in chapter 31. I’ve been pleasantly surprised throughout the story that it’s been unpredictable.
The ending was fabulous and I wouldn’t change a thing and immediately need to go read the sequel, Misrule!