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We love a sapphic fairytale retelling!

Alyce is the Dark Grace, a young woman with nefarious heritage in a city that relies on the magic of the Graces to thrive. When she makes an unlikely friend in the Princess Aurora, who has a year until a curse on her bloodline kills her like it did her sisters, Alyce decides to risk everything to help the Princess.

I really only had one big issue with the book. There were a few side characters that were important enough to be mentioned a few times and given whole personalities and stuff, but then were just…shuffled off at the end there? It irked me that there were scenes and sections devoted to these characters (like Hilde, for instance) and then we’re not told of their fate, or Alyce doesn’t even deign to think of them in the end. It bothered me, and it felt a lot like Walter just yadda yadda’ed them. If that was the plan, what was the point in putting energy into these characters?

Luckily, that was really the only major issue I had. I really loved Alyce as a character. I’m a big supporter of women’s wrongs, and I think Alyce should’ve done what she did long before she did it.

I also liked how complex the characters are. Rose was the fucking worst, but I understood her motivations. The Grace Laws sucked, and that’s why she did what she did, but in the end it doesn’t give you the excuse to be a raging, racist bitch.

I also really disliked Kal. I hated that, just because he was kind to Alyce, he was immediately trusted. Again, I understand the motivations, but I just felt so bad for her. His death, though, was deliciously ironic.

There’s nothing wrong with the writing or the story, but I really didn’t like Aurora. She was so sheltered, and doesn’t understand the way things are, and I get the feeling she’s going to hate what Alyce has done with or without the memory alters. She loved her country, despite all of its faults, but I agree with Alyce on this one. Burn it down to rebuild, because clearly the corruption was far too embedded in the culture to change anything the way Aurora wanted. Honestly, Alyce can do better, and I hope she does in the next one.

I look forward to reading the next one, and I hope Alyce continues to be the baddest bitch in town. Also, let it be known that even though this is tagged as smut, it’s more euphemistic than on-page.

Trigger warnings: addiction, drug use (fantasy drug), animal cruelty, classism, grief, lesbophobia (implied), sexual content (euphemistic, on page, fade to black), body horror, abandonment (perceived), blood (multiple mentions, on page), bullying (towards Alyce, throughout book), confinement (on page), death, murder, self harm (in the form of drug use)

Did I like? Yes.

Recommend? Yes, especially for people that enjoyed the Lunar Chronicles, but wished it was gayer.


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