Since the moment I heard about this book, I have been dying to read it! I love the cover, the synopsis sounds so good, and it’s a perfect book for spooky season. I was so excited to receive an advanced copy via NetGalley and couldn’t wait to dive in!
Thank you to Wednesday Books and NetGalley for providing me with an advance copy for review. This is a spoiler free, honest review and all thoughts and feelings are my own.
Within These Wicked Walls by Lauren Blackwood
Published: October 19, 2021
Publisher: Wednesday Books
Genre: YA Paranormal Fantasy
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.
To start off, I’ve never read Jane Eyre. I couldn’t even tell you the basic gist of the book. So, heading into this book, I had an open heart and open mind.
First things first – Andromeda (Andi) is a hardened girl who has not truly lived life, only survived. Growing up under her adoptive father and mentor, Andi has learned how to survive and keep herself alive. So when she’s lost her mentorship, and gets hired to cleanse Magnus Rochester’s home of the Evil Eye, she will do anything to succeed.
Personally, I loved Andi’s character and I could see how her past has shaped her yet doesn’t truly break her. While she had a hard life growing up, she still cares deeply for people and acts selfishly for them. Especially for the people she cares about. Her relationship with Jember, her mentor, is complicated to say the least, but I loved watching them heal their relationship over the course of this book. Every moment with Jember is a mix between comedy and violence which made his character likeable yet unlikeable. If that makes any sense.
As for Magnus, I wasn’t sure if I liked him as a character at first. But the more I got to know him and see his interactions with Andi, the more I started to fall in love with him. He doesn’t mind Andi’s bluntness or honesty – in fact, he loves it. And his goofy, sarcastic nature paired well with Andi’s serious personality. It was like they were meant to be. And then we have Saba – the quiet, well technically non-verbal, friend. Even though we never hear Saba speak, it’s clear she has much to say in this book and I loved every interaction between her and Andi. Watching their friendship bloom was so heartwarming! It brought me a lot of joy to get to know her, though I wished we could have gotten a little more of her backstory.
The characters were absolutely 10/10 for me. But the only issue I had with this story, and really it’s a small issue, is the plot repetition. We have almost the same series of actions happening back to back; the repetition was really obvious and it took me out of the story the second time it happened. And while it kind of made sense in the story the second time, it was so jarring having it happen back to back that it felt unnatural. Andi tells us multiple times that she doesn’t get scared easily and is tough, but then twice she gets scared away from the home. But, like I said, looking back it’s a small issue. The rest of the plot is excellent and well makes up for the one issue I wasn’t a fan of.
Besides that, this book was so, so good. I loved the characters, I love the world, the plot, the history, the development – everything about this story was so good! There were several scenes where I was on the edge of my seat terrified to read what would happen next. If you’re looking for a spooky book to finish out spooky season, or to read beyond then, definitely add this one to your list!