Misrule is the sequel to Heather Walter’s 2021-release, Malice; a darkly creative retelling of Sleeping Beauty.
I have been highly anticipating this second book as I really enjoyed Malice. I found it completely immersive, with wonderful world-building and a fantastic magic system.
As this is the second book in a duology, I may mention some details here that some might consider spoilers. I will try not to reveal too much, but if you’re concerned, look away now.
You have been warned…
This story is set 100-years after the culminating events of the first book.
Alyce has reached her potential and become ruler over the kingdom that once ridiculed her. The Dark Grace known to the Briar Kingdom is dead and now Alyce lives as Nimara, ruler of the Dark Court.
The Dark Court has become a welcome home to creatures who were vilified and hunted by the prior kingdom. Vila, goblins, imps and demons live together within the castle walls in chaotic harmony.
For her part, Aurora remains in an enchanted sleep, locked away in a tower room. Her existence more the stuff of legend than actually memory.
Could a random human boy named Derek, washed ashore and pledged to serve Nimara, be the key to breaking the enchantment holding Aurora in her endless sleep?
There’s so much more to this story than that, including a centuries long battle against the Fae, but I am going to leave it there. If you want to know more, which I think you do, you have to pick up this duology.
Heather Walter’s writing is so readable and digestible. At times Fantasy stories can require a lot of concentration; filled with hard to pronounce names and places, as well as complex histories and magic systems to try to figure out.
While this is a detailed and multi-layered story, it is written in such a way that makes it accessible and addicting. It stands out to me in that regard.
Overall, this was a fantastic conclusion to a highly-underrated YA Fantasy duology. I look forward to seeing what Walter releases next. Personally, I am hoping she stays in the lane of retellings. She nailed this.
Frankly, I’m sad it’s over. I’ll miss this beautiful world and all of the compelling characters.
Thank you to the publisher, Ballantine, for providing me with a copy to read and review. I had been highly anticipating this release and it didn’t disappoint for a moment!