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.
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 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.
Because we all know how this story ends, don’t we? Aurora is the beautiful princess. And I—
I am the villain.
I want to thank Del Rey and Net Galley for providing me with an ARC of this book to read and give an honest review. There may be a few spoilers ahead, so reader beware!
I was very excited to have a chance to read this book. I love all kinds of fairytale retellings. And in all honesty, I am not as familiar with Sleeping Beauty as I am with other tales. So this was a nice little jump into that story line for me.
I truly enjoyed Alyce. She was definitely a dark character who carried a lot of baggage and had very low self esteem. I can totally understand how turning dark would be where she might go. Needless to say, the devolvement of her character was anticipated and not unexpected. I was hoping she might hit a low point and then turn it around. Sadly, that was not the case. This was a bit of a disappointment for me. But I can see how this book might have a sequel so I'm hopeful for something there if it comes. And I'm not sure she's truly the villain of this story if you think about the society in which she lives where jewels and baubles and looks are all that truly matters.
As for the storyline, It was totally intriguing. The writer truly developed all her characters and you saw how each one played a roll in Alyce's overall personality: the monster, the outcast, the thing. And her writing drew me in from the first few pages. Though there were some slower dips in the story and places where the author seemed to spend more time than necessary, overall it flowed well. There was some repetitiveness I would have liked not to see, though.
I did enjoy the romance but I needed more development there. Aurora was too quick to fall in love with Alyce. I would have liked to see more of a connection between the two.
The author toes the line in this book between what is good and evil. And what is good and evil will play out much differently than anyone would usually guess.
If you're looking for a fairytale retelling with a twisted ending that leaves you wondering just what happened and what could possibly happen in the future, this is the one to read.
Heather Walter has been telling stories for as long as she can remember. A graduate of the University of Texas at Austin with both English and Information Science degrees, books are--and always will be--a definitive part of her life.
As an author, Heather loves writing about what-ifs, flawed protagonists, and re-imagined history. Her favorite characters are usually villains.
When not writing, you can find her reading (duh), knitting, binging TV, and planning her next travel adventure.