Misrule follows Alyce centuries after the events of Malice, continuing the fantastical LGBTQ retellings of Sleeping Beauty.
Misrule opens up soon after the events of Malice; Alyce is trying to wake up her Sleeping Beauty, and what comes afterward is a kingdom of the Vila.
So many things have changed since the last novel. Alyce is now Queen of Briar, a land that has become a haven for the Vila, a race so hated by the elves and humans that they tried to wipe them out. Alyce has rescued many, but her many tormentors who hated her for being different still linger, even if it is as servants.
Walter did a fantastic job in the way she evolved the story of Malice. The world has changed, but Alyce still faces those prejudices. What worked well was how all the pieces of the story just fell into place perfectly. We read it and think that maybe the story will go in one direction, that it will evolve in a certain way. However, Walter’s imagination shows an entirely different way to develop and retell Sleeping Beauty. That is what makes the story wonderful. It has this unpredictability to it, plot twists, and shifts in dynamics that keep the reader engaged.
There is also world-building. The Vila, this race that was thought to have been wiped out, has come back with a vengeance, with a mind full of openness and power at their fingertips. They are a cast of strong characters that each add something to the world and court that Walter is building here. Moreover, what they also do is serve to show how Alyce has grown and changed since the previous novel.
Alyce has changed over the centuries, and become more confident in herself. But there is a darkness that has always lingered from the first book. That rage she felt for being emotionally and physically abused at a young age, tormented throughout her life for being different, bubbles just beneath the surface. I love that about her; it makes her more realistic. Yes, centuries have passed, and she now has a new family, people who respect, love, and challenge her.
However, the scars from that abuse linger. The sting of betrayal and pain it has affected the way she acts, and how she rules her kingdom, and that is something anyone can relate to. We can move on from the pain, but we can’t ever truly get over it.
This adds to the plot development and the tension mounting in the story. It is such an incredible and well-told story that develops Alyce into such a formidable story, giving life to the relationship between Princess Aurora and her dark grace.
Misrule is an excellent novel. As masterfully told as its predecessor, Misrule is a brilliant conclusion to a brilliant duology that brings new life to the tale of Sleeping Beauty.
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|Pub Date: May 10, 2022||Page Count: 480pp||Age Range: 16 & Over|
|ISBN: 978-1-9848-1868-3||Publisher: Del Rey||List Price: $27.00|