I received this book via Netgalley. This does not affect my opinion of the book or the content of this review.Within These Wicked Walls by Lauren Blackwood
Published by Wednesday Books on 2021-10-19
Length: 330 pages
Reviewing eARC from Netgalley
What the heart desires, the house destroys...
Andromeda is a debtera—an exorcist hired to cleanse households of the Evil Eye. When a handsome young heir named Magnus Rochester reaches out to hire her, Andromeda quickly realizes this is a job like no other, with horrifying manifestations at every turn, and that Magnus is hiding far more than she has been trained for. Death is the most likely outcome if she stays, but leaving Magnus to live out his curse alone isn’t an option. Evil may roam the castle’s halls, but so does a burning desire.
Kiersten White meets Tomi Adeyemi in this Ethiopian-inspired debut fantasy retelling of Jane Eyre.
“Ethiopian-inspired debut fantasy retelling of Jane Eyre” is a perfect description of this book. Within These Wicked Walls by Lauren Blackwood is a fantastic, often times dark fantasy that I did not want to sit down. Following a young woman trying to make a name for herself, the story unfolds in the cursed mansion of handsome Mr. Rochester.
The story begins with Andromeda, a debtera (exorcist), being hired to cleanse a house of the Evil Eye. I really like Andromeda. At a young age, she was sold to a house of ill-repute by her parents and bought by a highly skilled, highly bitter debtera. Her life hasn’t been kind. The old man was cruel, but he made a point to make sure Andromeda could care for herself. She is brave, empathetic, and determined. What she isn’t prepared for is to fall in love.
Magnus Rochester is the wealthy, handsome owner of a cursed mansion. Every night the walls of the house come alive with evil spirits, killing servants and haunting Rochester every moment. He is like a child at times, naive and joyful. But at others, he is haunted by the things he has seen and heard in his house.
I’m not familiar with Ethiopian culture so I had to do a fair amount of looking things up, but that was my own curious nature. The author does a fabulous job of explaining through the characters what some of the words I was unfamiliar with meant. The blending of this culture is done seamlessly with the classic Jane Eyre. I loved being able to link one of my favorites to this story. The haunting nature and gothic tones from the classic work well with the story Blackwood weaves.
Overall, I really enjoyed Within These Wicked Walls. Both it’s haunting nature and gothic-style romance added a bit of mystery and suspense to the story. I loved the paranormal elements of the Evil Eye and how the curse brought the two characters together. If you are a fan of fantasy retellings, you are in for a treat. I highly recommend this one!