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‘Within These Wicked Walls’ Is Thrilling And Chilling – Book Review

“What the heart desires, the house destroys.”

Andromeda is a debtera. What is a debtera, you might ask? Well, it is an exorcist who is charged with cleansing households of the Evil Eye. Andromeda is young, making some skeptical of her but when she gets the opportunity to work for a handsome young heir, Magnus Rochester, she agrees to the job. But what Andromeda doesn’t know is that this job will be unlike any other she’s experienced thus far.

It doesn’t take Andromeda long to realize that Magnus is hiding much more than Andromeda’s been trained for and with terrible phenomena occurring at every turn, death seems to be the most likely of outcomes. Struggling with whether to leave or stay and support Magnus while he grapples with his curse.

Within These Wicked Walls - Cover
Cover for Within These Wicked Walls. (Courtesy of Wednesday Books)

An Ethiopian-inspired fantasy retelling of Jane Eyre, Lauren Blackwood’s Within These Wicked Walls is a treat for readers. For those unfamiliar with Jane Eyre, it is not something that you will necessarily have to read beforehand. Sure, it might be a good precursor, but it is not a necessity as Blackwood creates a world that is entirely her own. There is nothing that Blackwood does not give readers in terms of the tale that plays out in Within These Wicked Walls – from the characters to the world-building, everything about this book is a reader’s dream. Without getting too much into the actual plot, there is no stone left unturned, especially as it pertains to the relationship between Andromeda and Magnus.

Andromeda and Magnus make for an intriguing pair and one of my favourite couples out of all the books I’ve read thus far in 2021. One of the main reasons for this is definitely the banter shared between the two. There are moments of wittiness, vulnerability and feeling that I wasn’t expecting, but I am glad it was part of the tale. It’s hard to delve deeper into their relationship without giving too much away, but I will say that I think you’ll be hard-pressed to find any reasons to dislike the pairing of Andromeda and Magnus. What’s even better is that each character is just as great on their own, their joining together is just a delightful bonus.

Characters and couples aside, where Within These Wicked Walls truly shines is in its uniqueness. I have never really read anything like that it and that is part of what hooked me from the very first pages. While I don’t necessarily gravitate toward eerie reads (and yes, I was definitely a little creeped out when reading certain parts of this book), I still couldn’t wait to continue the story that Blackwood beautifully wrote. I was able to get past the feelings of unease surrounding the manifestation of wicked wraiths and still enjoy the book, which is a testament to Blackwood’s writing.

With complicated relationships abound and a deep dive into the supernatural world of evil spirits, this novel is as thrilling as it is chilling. From beginning to end, it’s a true page-turner and there is so much to love about Within These Wicked Walls. If you add anything to your TBR lists for this month, this has to be one of them.

Within These Wicked Walls is available to purchase now at Barnes & Noble, Indigo, your local independent book stores, and in ebook format now!

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