Blogtober Book Review: Within These Wicked Walls by Lauren Blackwood

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.

Book Cover

Thank you NetGalley and the publishers for this advanced copy. Here is my honest review. Within These Wicked Walls is pitched as an Ethiopian-inspired fantasy retelling of Jane Eyre. I haven’t read Jane Eyre, so I won’t be sharing anything regarding that aspect of this story. I’m going to review it more as a regular fantasy story.
The story follows Andromeda, or Andi, a debtera that’s been hired to exorcise the Evil Eye in Magnus Rochester’s house. She creates different amulets to get rid of the Manifestations. But it’s a dangerous job. She must seek out her old mentor for help, which he might not give, if she wants to succeed in removing the Evil Eye from Magnus’ house.
There were some aspects of this story that I really loved and others that I didn’t like at all. So, I’m going to start with what I liked. The world building and the magic were really well done. The setting of the Rochester house was a really good one. It’s huge, and creepy as hell because each room has its own weird magical issues because of the Evil Eye. But the weird magical things were fascinating. The library had a ghost that would communicate with passages from books. There was one room that was covered in ghost spiders. I was fascinated by all the different Manifestations. The debtera aspect of the story was really interesting too. I liked learning about her past and her training with Jember (the previously mentioned mentor).
I liked Andi. She had an interesting backstory. She was amazing because despite all of the bad in that backstory, she was still mostly an optimist. There were some really well-done emotional parts of this story involving Jember. I loved their relationship. It wasn’t traditional and they both had their issues, but they loved each other. I really liked Andi, right up until she and Magnus pledged their love to one another.
The romance is the only thing I didn’t like about this book. I was coming up on 40% of the way through the story and thought their relationship was developing really well and naturally when all of a sudden, they’re making out in the hall and pledging their love to one another and that just came out of nowhere. It didn’t feel like they were anywhere near that point in their relationship, when suddenly, it happened. And in the next chapter after they’ve pledged themselves to one another, there’s a huge betrayal revealed. I felt like I was getting emotional whip lash and I didn’t care for it at all. I felt like I couldn’t get invested in their romance again after all of that because it genuinely made me mad.
Overall, I really did enjoy parts of this story. I loved the setting and the magic. I liked the relationship between Andromeda and Jember. I liked all of the characters as individuals. I just really didn’t care for the romance between Andi and Magnus after the halfway point.

Keep on reading lovelies, Amanda.