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.
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What I Loved
Within These Wicked Walls is a gothic dark fantasy thriller that mesmerized me from page one. It held me in its thrall so successfully; I forgot that I was reading a story that would have usually scared the bejesus out of me. I loved this the most about the story as not only the story but its effect on me kept me eternally fascinated.
The story is an incredible example of a gothic tale. The setting is so immersive and claustrophobia-inducing that you experience it with every one of your senses. I walked the halls with Andromeda as she explored what she needed to do to rid this haunted house of everything that goes bump in the night. And I suffered each horrific event right beside her, thoroughly captivated by the sights, sounds, and feels each new event held.
I loved the fantasy elements of a world with Debteras, which are people hired by the church to get rid of evil, and the amulet magic they control. The world-building in this novel is so subtle and so complex, it is easy to forget you are reading a fantasy story. Instead, it feels as natural as if you stepped outside your own home.
I also found myself intrigued by the relationships in this story. The father-daughter story is particularly moving as the story about how they came to be a family is unraveled and each minute detail explored. Also, the romance between Andromeda and Magnus, on the one hand, was hard to buy into, but on the other hand, it made perfect sense. Their need and reliance on each other to get through the ordeal couldn’t end up any other way.
What I Wish
I can’t imagine any wish I could have for this story that would make it any better than it already is.
I would say that this is essentially a character-driven tale, and I loved that about it too. Unlike many gothic tales I have read, I found that the characters in this story are exquisitely developed. Each one holds immense scars from the past, and they all work together to get over them and move on to a better place.
Reminds Me Of
Many reviewers said they didn’t see any of Jane Eyre in this story, which is supposed to be loosely a retelling, but I did. The relationship between Andromeda and Magnus in particular, not to mention the tone, gave me instant flashbacks to Jane Eyre, which I haven’t read in a very long time.
To Read or Not to Read
If you are looking for a story that will blow you away with its imagery and characters, then look no further. Within These Wicked Walls is that and so much more and should not be missed!