Within These Wicked Walls by Lauren Blackwood

*Spoiler free*

Thank you so much to WednesdayBooks and Edelweiss for the e-ARC!

Andromeda is a debtera—an exorcist hired to cleanse households of the Evil Eye. She would be hired, that is, if her mentor hadn’t thrown her out before she could earn her license. Now her only hope of steady work is to find a Patron—a rich, well-connected individual who will vouch for her abilities. When a handsome young heir named Magnus Rochester reaches out to hire her, she takes the job without question. Never mind that he’s rude and demanding and eccentric, that the contract comes with a number of outlandish rules… and that almost a dozen debtera had quit before her. If Andromeda wants to earn a living, she has no choice. But she 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, the reason every debtera before her quit. But leaving Magnus to live out his curse alone isn’t an option because—heaven help her—she’s fallen for him.

I mean, with a title like that I was completely sucked in and wanting to read this book. I knew it was a Jane Eyre retelling and there would be some wicked walls, and something inside them, but if I’m being honest, that’s all I really knew haha. I know that seems like very little go on, but all the love for it I’d seen online and my own intrigue, it was absolutely enough for me to be incredibly eager to read it. Trigger warnings: parental abuse, blood, gore

This book is quiet and weird and so, so good.

It has this feeling about it, like it’s digging into something, into you. It’s incredibly eerie, with scenes full of bleeding walls and closets full of spiders. I was unsure about this book at first, because it seemed like things were a bit mishmashed. I wasn’t quite sure where the magic, the house, and the characters were going to go. But, everything has a place to slot into, and seeing those pieces fall is amazingly satisfying and makes for an incredible story.

The heart of this book is one of survival and the harsh, sharp edges it gives a person. The habits it instills and the pain it leaves lingering. It’s about a girl who longs for love, for a family, for a place to belong. It’s about love, the pain of it when it is given in terms of being kept alive, but it is love nonetheless. It’s a book that is harsh, and hard, and has edges that can cut. But that is beauty of it, and that beauty is given room to shine through.

I know when talking about characters I should start with the MC, but I want to start with Magnus. THIS GUY IS SO WEIRD. Like, the things that come out of his mouth are so bizarre sometimes! And it is brilliant. I enjoyed his character so much. He seemed naïve at times, but I think he has a good heart under the head spouts nutsness sometimes. I loved him so much, the weird weirdo.

Alright, now let’s talk about Andromeda. Holy heck does she have a fierceness to her. She is hardened by survival, but she does harbor a longing for love and to be wanted. I loved her and all her sharp edges, and how she walked into everything with her head held high and ready to conquer what needed to be conquered.

The side characters were also brilliant. I thought I was going to despise one of them all the way through, but I actually ended up liking him, in a twisted sort of way. All of them have their own stories to them, and I ended up falling in love with pretty much all of them.

Every single character felt so human. I wanted to give so many of them hugs.

Speaking of characters, relationships were another highlight of this book. The familial relationships, wrought and twisted as it was. The friendships, oh I loved the friendships. The romantic relationships were really solid too. Once they found their footing, I completely fell for them. I just felt like there was a lot of stops and starts to it that seemed kind of redundant, but that could just be me! But I overall ended up really loving it. Because banter and weird nicknames and tons of arguing make for a great romantic relationship.

Also, the setting, the atmosphere, the house. Wow, was it amazingly done. The walls bleed, fireplaces are full of soot, rooms of full of snow, people are vanishing. It’s eerie and creepy and terrifying and just downright spectacularly written. This goes for the magic of the book as well.

The writing of this book overall was something that I adored as well. It brings such heart to everything. It fills the book with a type of love and just makes everything all the better.

This is an amazing, amazing book. I loved Andromeda and her fierceness and her longing. I loved the house and all the terrors it held. I even loved the ending that left me wanting to sob. I loved Magnus because of all his weirdness. It just a fantastic book overall.

Within These Wicked Walls comes out November 9, 2021! You can add it on Goodreads and pre-order a copy in the meantime!

4 thoughts on “Within These Wicked Walls by Lauren Blackwood

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