Wednesday, June 30, 2021

Review: Within These Wicked Walls by Lauren Blackwood

I'm ending this month with a dark...almost horror but not, which doesn't hit the world until November. But it is worth waiting for. It's for the young adult audience and sinks deep into the gothic, dark end of the paranormal world. It does slide right into the intended audience, however, and even throws in a romance to meet the lines.

Ready to take a peek at this haunting tale?  

by Lauren Blackwood
Wednesday Books
Young Adult Paranormal / Gothic Retelling
336 pages

NOVEMBER 21st!!!

What the heart desires, the house destroys...

Kiersten White meets Tomi Adeyemi in this Ethiopian-inspired debut fantasy retelling of Jane Eyre.

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.



Darkness and evil form a hauntingly, deadly background for a young woman, discovering the world beyond the walls of what she's known.

Kicked out by her adoptive father and trainer to survive on the streets, Andromeda sees a job at a mansion in the middle of the desert as her only hope to finally find footing in her future as a debtera (an exorcist, who cleanses houses of the Evil Eye's influence). All other experienced and older debtera have failed, but she knows she was trained by the best. The horrors, however, are stronger and more deadly than any she ever even dreamed to be possible. She should give up before the house destroys her, but her one fault keeps her from leaving. She can't leave an innocent victim to fall prey to the evil, especially when her heart won't let her.

In some ways, this house reminds me of the one in The Amityville Horror but with a few major twists, since the evil isn't the house but connected to a cursed person. The horrors are terrible and dangerous, but still, it doesn't have the same scary atmosphere. Andromeda and those living in the mansion are well aware of the horrors surrounding them and try to deal as best they can. So, I don't see this one as horror or really even a real thriller. It slides more into a gothic or dark paranormal realm. And it does this masterfully.

Andromeda is a trained exorcist and a talented one. She knows her skills but also realizes when she might be in over her head...something which made me like her more. Her harsh past does add a bit of sympathy, but more so, it gives a solid basis to understanding her personality, which is packed with corners and sharp edges. And yet, she does have a soft side and a yearn for the one thing she never had, friends. It makes her likeable while still allowing the basis for her hard exterior.

I did almost lay this one down about half-way through (but am so glad I didn't!) There are horrors, which she has to extinguish but this started to get lost in the background of the romance and seemed to be losing the plot. But luckily, this lull was really only a couple of pages (for me) because it immediately swooped in with an unexpected twist and shot the action back up along with the plot. So, this hiccup (and it may have just been a personal thing) was cleared up so fast that it didn't hurt the read really.

Gore, death, and paranormal evil are unforgiving in these pages, which may not be the best for more sensitive readers. It is a dark story...not horribly cruel, though, either. Just lots of haunting, brutal (but not overly graphic) deaths, and violence. Anyone who enjoys dark paranormal tales with a young adult romance are going to enjoy this one quite a bit.

1 comment:

Natalie Aguirre said...

Glad there was only a few page lull for you and that you enjoyed it overall. It sounds a little dark for me.