Within These Wicked Walls by Lauren Blackwood #BookReview #Gothic #Paranormal #Fantasy #YoungAdult #Retelling

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!

Rating: 5 out of 5.

23 Replies to “Within These Wicked Walls by Lauren Blackwood #BookReview #Gothic #Paranormal #Fantasy #YoungAdult #Retelling”

    1. It’s classified as YA but I didn’t take note of any YA attributes, so I think there is a good chance that you’d enjoy this one. I know you’d love the haunted house setting.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. This sounds good but I always shy away from anything with exorcism. If it’s just ghost fiction I’m fine, but demonic things freak me out. Could I handle this? I’m intrigued.

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    1. That usually is what scares me too but this book mesmerized me to the point where any scared feelings were very fleeting. Something about the way it’s written. And, it’s the best example of gothic that I’ve read in a very long time.

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  2. Sounds really good. Will have to keep any eye out for it at my local library!! Great review!!❤

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  3. Wonderful review Tessa, this sounds so good, I haven’t read a gothic story in a very long time.

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  4. It’s been so long since I’ve read Jane Eyre, I couldn’t tell you if there were similarities. All I can say is that I sure enjoyed this book.

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  5. Every time I visit your blog not only does your review leave me wanting to read the book immediately but I’m always blown away by your amazing graphics and layout! I’ve not read Jane Eyre but I do want to read this book.

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    1. Thank you so much! I love playing with the aesthetics ❤️. This is a very good example of a gothic story, I think. And those are very hard to find. Most that are written today have main characters that are lacking or are so slow it’s like trying to walk with a gale force wind blowing against you. This book has a nice quick pace and an extremely complex main character ❤️

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  6. Excellent review Tessa. The writing must be amazing to pull you in the way it did. Sounds like a great October read for those who are looking for that creepy, immersive read.

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