Del Rey: Ballantine. Apr. 2021. 480p. ISBN 9781984818652. $27. FANTASY
DEBUT Once upon a time a fairy cursed a line of princesses to die. The Vila, those who cursed the princesses of Briar, have all died out—all except for Alyce. Living in a Grace house, a place where those who have magic in their blood can sell their spells to the people of Briar, Alyce serves as the only Dark Grace. People who look for beauty and wisdom also look for curses and vengeance. Alyce knows she is thought to be a monster, and most of the time, she is pleased to show that side to people. But now she has found a friend: the princess Aurora, who sees Alyce as a person. Their friendship grows, but Aurora must find her true love or die, and she has less than a year to discover it. If Alyce’s ancestors were the ones to curse Aurora’s line, maybe she can discover the cure and show the truth about her power. Yet it could be that truth will destroy it all.
VERDICT Walter’s debut weaves together fairy-tale tropes into an exciting, twisted tale of friendship, love, and legacy.
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