Within These Wicked Walls (2021)

by Lauren Blackwood
ASIN/ISBN: 9781250787101
Publication: October 19, 2021

**I was provided copy of the book through NetGalley. I voluntarily read and reviewed it. All opinions are my own.**

Some books take a few pages for me to settle into and then some books immediately pull me in from the first line. Within These Wicked Walls is very much the latter. Hooked by the descriptive writing, I had to keep reading even though I only intended to take a quick peek at what I was getting myself into. Blackwood’s writing is evocative but the too quickly formed relationships hindered my overall enjoyment of the novel.

Andromeda, or Andi for short, arrives at the Rochester household to rid the house of its curse. Upon her arrival, she can already feel the strength of the manifestations. The house is vastly colder than it should be, and her amulet hums at the immense amount of paranormal activity. Although she learned from one of the most famous debterras and has the necessary experience, Andi has her work cut out for her but is determined to finish it. She also doesn’t have the luxury to give up the job even if she wanted to.

First and foremost, I tend to run away screaming from anything scary, so please understand that my threshold for what is creepy is very low. Blackwood successfully creates an atmospheric read with its gothic tones and just the right amount of creepiness to make my skin crawl, even forcing a few glances behind me from time to time. Thankfully, it was not enough of a deterrent for my curiosity at what might happen next. It also helped immensely that I was reading it during the day. (I know, I know. Total wuss because the book isn’t actually very scary at all. Hahaha…)

While the writing is effective in setting the mood and tone of the novel, the romance was off-putting. It felt more like a product of the book being a retelling rather than organic to the particular story told here. It also happened too quickly for my liking, lacking the development I usually look forward to in books with romances. Andi arrives at the house and suddenly Andi starts feeling things she doesn’t normally feel. Of course, this might also be a product of me being more invested in what Andi is supposed to do at the house, which is far more interesting. On its own, if I could assess the romance separately from the rest of the book, there is a lot to like about it, especially the playful banter. I like Andi’s honesty and how she is more than willing to call Magnus out for his behavior. It’s also part of what draws him to her. However, taking into consideration the whole picture and how the romance suddenly manifests itself, it isn’t exactly welcomed even though I’m a hopeless romantic. It’s difficult to ignore how it interrupts the flow of the book at times. I understand the romance is meant to be a driving force for Andi’s decisions, but I can’t help feeling that something more subtle could have been as or maybe more effective.  Another possibility would be to have no romance at all, which may have been preferable. Much more interesting is Andi’s relationship with her mentor. I would have preferred more interaction between them and an exploration of their tumultuous relationship, although I liked what I did get of it, even if somewhat predictable.

Within These Wicked Walls is a good read, well-paced with a protagonist I liked and both mood and tone set well, but is somewhat hindered by a romance that feels all too sudden and even unnecessary (even though I liked it on its own). Pick up the book if you like unique retellings of classics and if gothic tales are a favorite. If you’ve never read Jane Eyre just like I haven’t, although I’ve skimmed a few of the movie adaptations, it won’t detract from enjoying the novel. 

Fellowship of the Ring Tag

The Lord of the Ring tag was created by Unputdownable Books, and I found it over on Shelves of Starlight.

I love the movies but haven’t read the books except for The Return of the King. I read it because I couldn’t wait for the last movie to come out. Ha… I’ve had the tag saved but all my drafts just kept pushing this tag lower until I nearly forgot about it. I’m excited to finally do this one!!

QUESTIONS

Gandalf – a book that taught you something.

There’s always something I’ve taken away from every book I’ve read. Romance novels have particularly helped me with being more comfortable in my own skin and given me different perspectives on relationships. Love Her or Lose Her, for instance, gives insight into how not all love is shown in the same way. Some individuals show their love their actions as opposed to words, and it doesn’t necessarily mean they love you any less. (My review)

Frodo – a book that left a mark on you.

How about a scar on my heart? The ending was one of many alternatives I suspected. Suspicions are one thing, but to read it, to experience it is another. I was left in shock. (My review)

Legolas – a book you finished in one sitting.

I’m cheating a bit here since this is a novella. At just under 200 pages, it was a fast read. I read a review that said this was a must read, and I have to agree. I enjoyed the novella so much, more so than the couple’s actual novel Happily Ninja After. It ends abruptly, so it’s good to have their book on hand. (Review from Feeding My Addiction Book Reviews)

Gimli – a book that features an unlikely friendship.

After Ellie’s boyfriend breaks up with her, she ends up being grouped with a bunch of boys she doesn’t really know in their home economics class. Soon, working together in the class also spills into friendships outside of the class. This is a cute, light read I enjoyed. (My review)

Merry – a book that pleasantly surprised you.

I will be posting up a review for this soon, but I needed to put it here today. This book was a pleasant surprise. I enjoyed it so much despite the pain of unrequited love. Baines made me cry. (My review is nearly done; Review from the Lit Buzz)

Pippin – a book that made you laugh.

This was my first book by Kayley Loring and solidified her as one my favorite romance authors. I was looking for Christmas books and took a chance on it. It’s hilarious! I couldn’t stop laughing when I first read it. The audiobook narrators are also wonderful. (My Mini Review)

Boromir – a book/series you think ended too soon.

I know I can’t stop shouting about how much I adore this book. The ending was fitting, but I can’t help wanting Milan to write more. I wasn’t ready to leave behind my new favorite kick ass protagonist. (One day I’ll finish my review; Review from The Last Reader)

Sam – a book with memorable side characters who stole the show.

Kayley Loring needs a second showing here because her books always contains a cast of characters who steal the show. While the book focuses on Scarlett and Dylan’s relationship, their family members steal the show through emails and text messages. (My review)

Aragorn – a good book with a bad/average cover.

The cover is unique, not a bad/average cover, and didn’t exactly entice me at the time, but the blurb was really interesting. It turned out to be such a great book! I enjoyed it immensely. (My review)

Gollum – a book that had great potential but disappointed you in the end.

In the Ravenous Dark had all the makings of an excellent book. I was hooked from the beginning but was disappointed when the pace was incredibly fast, jumping from one event to the next, without allowing me to take in everything going on. Additionally, lust and attraction was suddenly love without much development. (My review)

I TAG YOU
if your blog or your name has a “K”
and if the tag is something you’d enjoy doing.

I especially love tags like this one because I get to think of the movie and characters as I connect them with books. I must go watch the movies now. Enjoy! I hope you decide to do the tag. I can’t wait to read your answers!