Within These Wicked Walls #BookReview

Lauren Blackwood | Oct 2021 | 336 pages

Hola fam…I know, I know…I’ve been gone for a minute – this year has done the whole most. But, though writing has been hard to fit in, reading has remained my savior. I’ve read some great books and can’t wait to share my thoughts. I’ve also DNF’d some surprises and in Im really thinking about sharing those as well! Ugh…some one could love them, if not me. Anyways, hope all is well and you too are finding good books to escape into! 😘

I’m not sure why, but, it always intrigues me to read negative reviews of books I’ve enjoyed. It’s like experiencing how the ‘other side’ lives 😂. This book is a great example. Goodreads lists the book with 3.5 stars, which arguably isn’t bad, but, having read it, I get t. It wasn’t a 5 star read for me, only because the imagery got kind of deep and unrecognizable in parts which made for some draggy bits, but it was certainly close! I think part of the reason for the negative reviews online is bad marketing and ruined expectations. Let me help you manage expectations.

Andromeda is a debtera – an exorcist by training. She is a young one, just branching out from her ‘mentor’ of sorts. She is searching for a bg job and finds one with Magnus. In spite of her inexperience she is hired to do the job. But the young lady finds out quickly, it may be too large for her and goes back to her mentor for help. He is equally as reluctant and even tells her to walk away, but it too late, Andromeda has been pulled into to an attraction with Magnus and refuses to leave him. The house and Magnus’ guests are is creepy af and lovers of Mexican Gothic will love this book! If MG was more about the creepy family, this one brings the family and the house alive.

Pros: I enjoy horror and romance but, Ive rarely found both in one book. This is likely as close as I’ll get. The banter between Andromeda and Magnus is entertaining and I enjoyed reading as they found one another. The books summary describes a triangle love thang here but, Im not sure if it was flushed out well. Andromeda seemed fairly secure in her place with Magnus and I didn’t get the vibe that she was threatened. I was on the edge of my seat a bit trying to figure out what was happening and why and if ol’girl would leave him.

The magic described in the book is interesting. In order to cleanse the house, the girl needs to visit each room and as whatever entity is present makes itself known, she constructs an amulet to capture the energy. Her mentor believes she isn’t strong or quick enough to do this alone and she eventually illicits his help to cleanse the home. The mentor comes with his own hang ups and traumas and all though Andromeda seems sure of his allegiance, he gave me scammy vibes.

Cons: After completing the book I realized there was very little world building or backstory around most characters. Im not even sure we ever learn where and when the story is happening. I guess it doesn’t matter but, it was disorientating. Again, compared to Mexican Gothic, I would have appreciated half of the world building put into that story, in this one. The magic is poorly explained as well – what’s with the amulet? Is it gold, silver, ruby stones or what? For all the deep imagery about the house, so much more could have been added in describing the magic system. Like, come on sis give me more! Its a shame as well, because there is a LOT of talk about and I wasn’t even sure until over 50% of the book what was actually expected to happen, in order to cleanse the rooms. Just an overall idea that she doesn’t feel strong enough to go it alone – yet here we are!

About the draggy bits – not as draggy as Mexican Gothic, for sure. But, I would have enjoyed more time with Andromeda and Magnus and less time with the weird side story of her and her mentor. The revelation of what the house was actually doing came slow. I needed to reread those pages a couple of times to get it.

This is sold as an Ethiopian-inspired Jane Eye retelling. I notice most negative reviews mention that and the fact that it has almost no relation to the story. I think the author attempts a ‘love’ triangle between Magnus, Andromeda and another girl but, it really didn’t give. Also the class/social dynamic between Magnus and Andromeda wasn’t really developed. Yes, she’s strapped for cash but he’s a whole cursed dude living in a haunted house…if that doesn’t even things out, I don’t know what does.

It’s weird to me the publisher or author would go that route. Its a fun standalone romantic horror I don’t regret reading! If you are a fan of gothic stories, light on the romance, with some diverse characters, this would be a good choice. Good Read – S.


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