Book Reviews

Review: Misrule by Heather Walter

To be honest, I wasn’t sure what to expect from Misrule. I enjoyed Malice so much that I wasn’t sure. But Misrule is a complete departure from what you might know and it was fantastic. While the action kept me reading, what truly entranced me was the romance. Keep reading this book review for my full thoughts.


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 turning into the monster Briar believes her to be. But could Aurora love the villain Alyce has become?

Or is true love only for fairy tales?


(Disclaimer: I received this book from the publisher. This has not impacted my review which is unbiased and honest.)

TW: torture

My love for Misrule boils down to two things: the romance – and subsequent character development of Alyce – and the development of the themes. I ended up almost reading only for the question of will-they-won’t-they. To figure out if Aurora and Alyce could find a way to cover the distance between them. The time, the mistakes, and the actions. How love, in some ways, can make monsters of us. In what we are willing to do, in the feelings it can illicit.

Because love can almost posses us. And the truth that we cannot control love or posses the ones we love is a hard truth to bear. It’s one that we all need to learn. So Misrule entranced me by truly testing Aurora and Alyce. To putting even more obstacles in their way, stacked against them, and asking them – is their love enough? Are the feelings they had enough to forge something new? And the thing is, I could see both of their sides. I won’t spoil it, but this book will have your heart in pieces. We can become obsessed with an idea of someone. An escape. A getaway car. But what happens when we realize they’re only a person?


And Misrule delves deeply into the themes of power and revenge. Now that the tables have turned for Alyce, will her actions reflect justice or revenge? Or a mix of both? The intolerance and hatred from the humans and their own torture. But when does a place stop paying for the sins of their ancestors? And if we return what they did to us, do we become better? More justified?

As Walter develops this theme, I fell even more in love. Because my heart burned for Alyce. And at the same time, I could see the dangerous shadows on the path. To know that if we give in to what people expect of us – to be the monsters of nightmares – do we end up just becoming that? This cycle of violence and hatred can trap us. But what other options does Alyce have?


(Disclaimer: Some of the links below are affiliate links. For more information you can look at the Policy page. If you’re uncomfortable with that, know you can look up the book on any of the sites below to avoid the link)

Misrule is a stunning sequel to Malice. It answers the question of whether they can find their way to each other. To knowing that the ends don’t justify the means, that the people we idolize are wrong. That power isn’t always just gained by force. Or that putting those we love on a pedestal only ends up in cracks. It’s one that doesn’t sugarcoat and Walters allows Alyce and Aurora, their world, and their love, to exist in its complexity. Find Misrule on Goodreads, Amazon, Indiebound, & The Book Depository.


Do you have a favorite queer Sleeping Beauty retelling?

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