I have, unfortunately, had a few months of disappointing sequels, so when I got sent the absolutely stunning physical ARC of Misrule, I was equal parts excited and scared. I loved Malice the first time I read it, and when I reread it in preparation for Misrule, I loved it even more. And Heather Walter? She knocked it out of the park. This sequel absolutely stuck the landing.
Thanks to Del Rey for the ARC of this book. It has not affected my honest review.
About the book:
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 descending into the monster Briar believed her to be. But could Aurora love the villain Alyce has become?
Or is true love only for fairytales?
What did I think?
There’s a fairly significant time jump in Misrule, which matches the original Sleeping Beauty myth, and I think it suited this book very well. I loved getting to explore the Dark Court and the ruins of Briar after the ending of Malice. It was an absolutely fascinating world and developed on the world we saw in Malice in a really interesting way.
Ultimately, the best part of this book was Alyce’s relationships with the people around her. As opposed to book one, in Misrule we get to see Alyce surrounded by her own people – her court comprised of all sorts of people from shifters to demons – and I loved seeing her try and handle coming to terms with the fact that the beliefs she was raised with are wrong. I also loved the members of her court. Her whole council were lovable in their own ways, we got to see Alyce with a complicated relationship with her best friend.
And, of course, there’s Aurora. Aurora and Alyce’s relationship has been heavily complicated by the events of Malice and the subsequent sacking of Briar. And the hundred years that Aurora was in a cursed sleep. I was absolutely obsessed with the way that Alyce and Aurora circled each other, trying to find middle-ground between the love they feel for each other and the way they both feel wronged by each other’s actions. I loved the fact that the political intrigue felt well balanced with the romance, and Aurora surprised me in the best ways possible as she developed from the Princess of the first book into a strong and outspoken woman fighting for right in every way she can.
The plot is hard to talk about without spoiling it, especially as I felt like it built on Malice in a fantastic way, but I really enjoyed it and I felt like the ending was incredibly satisfying and tied everything up in a very complete way. I continue to adore duologies, and Heather Walter books are an insta-buy for me now.
Release Date: 10th May 2022
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