Friday, July 09, 2010

REVIEW: Beautiful Malice by Rebecca James

Beautiful Malice 
Author: Rebecca James
Pages: 272
Publisher: Faber and Faber
Publication Date: 1st July 2010

From Amazon
"So. Were you glad, deep down? Were you glad to be rid of her? Your perfect sister? Were you secretly glad when she was killed?"
Following a horrific tragedy that leaves her once perfect family devastated, Katherine Patterson moves to a new city, starts at a new school, and looks forward to a new life of quiet anonymity. But when Katherine meets the gregarious and beautiful Alice Parrie her resolution to live a solitary life becomes difficult. Katherine is unable to resist the flattering attention that Alice pays her and is so charmed by Alice’s contagious enthusiasm that the two girls soon become firm friends. Alice’s joie de vivre is transformative; it helps Katherine forget her painful past and slowly, tentatively, Katherine allows herself to start enjoying life again. But being friends with Alice is complicated – and as Katherine gets to know her better she discovers that although Alice can be charming and generous she can also be selfish and egocentric. Sometimes, even, Alice is cruel. And when Katherine starts to wonder if Alice is really the kind of person she wants as a friend, she discovers something else about Alice – she doesn’t like being cast off. Shocking and utterly absorbing, Rebecca James’s strong narrative will grip readers from the very first page. BEAUTIFUL MALICE has become a publishing phenomenon, sparking numerous auctions worldwide, selling to 27 countries, and launching a previously unknown writer into the centre of the international book market.

I just have to say that I literally finished reading this in my PE lesson yesterday (Not-feeling-very-well + book-in-bag = Happy Reading!). UPDATE: For some reason my post didn't post, so actually I finished it last week! When it was over, I sneezed, LOL, but it was so incredibly hard to keep myself from crying.

I want you all to know that Beautiful Malice is by far the most gripping book I've read all year, or ever, actually. I've been impressed by quite a few books this year already, you know, but Beautiful Malice just took it to the next level. I was lucky enough to get this for review from the fab Laura at Faber, and this is (nearly) the most excited I've ever been about a book.

The story begins with, "I didn’t go to Alice’s funeral.", when an older Katherine is narrating the novel, unfolding the traumatic events that changed her life. All grown-up and with a child of her own, Katherine retells the story of the life she left behind.

Following the death of her sister, Katie decides to move away from her parents to start a new life in Sydney with her Aunt. A fresh name along with her fresh start, Katherine has a total personality change, quiet and reserved; until she meets Alice. The enchanting and charismatic Alice, who is content with living for the present.
   But Alice has a malicious, edgy side to her that Katherine is struggling to understand. And when it's time for Alice to really unleash herself, it's too late for Katherine to prevent yet another heartbreaking disaster.

Alice made me feel really uncomfortable from the moment we met her. What scared me the most, was that I knew that there was something wrong, that she couldn't just be the enchanting, fun one. There was just something really suspicious about her. She was quite random and unbelievably intimidating at times. And her stalking abilities were just downright creepy. The cracks were beginning to show.
   James has created such a chilling villain in Alice, that even though she makes you tremble with fear and shake your head with disgust, you can’t help but feel utterly mesmerized by her. 
Whilst reading this I was gasping out loud, in shock, in fear, in worry. I smiled, I cried and I laughed. I couldn’t believe some of Alice’s actions, how far she could actually go, her behavior was tested thoroughly throughout the novel..and there was just a point where I felt so sick, but somehow strangely fascinated. Alice is of the most outrageous female villains I've ever read.

I am *actually* speechless. I've been hearing that this is the must-read of 2010, and that Rebecca James is the next JK Rowling. In my eyes, she is, so if you choose to read only one book this year, let it be this one, because, I believe this is the psychological suspense novel of the year, sophisticated and evocative, Beautiful Malice is a novel that will always haunt me.

That is all.

Buy this book.
Visit the author's website.
Visit the book 's website.


  1. Great review!! I really want to read this now. Alice sounds creepy but when I read your review, I wanted to ask you for a spoiler. I can't wait to read it now!

  2. Wow!
    Anything that you say is one of the best books you've read, must be good!
    Your blog looks so professional [btw :P]

  3. Great Review... I've got this on the TBR and I've heard nothing but amazing things about's definitely going to be my next read!

  4. Great review! I totally agree - I thought this was amazing. It's been my favourite book of 2010 so far!

  5. I love villains that frightens you yet takes your breath away. I should change my mind now and put this on my TBR. Thanks for the review Iffath!


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