Long Live Evil

Long Live Evil

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Darci’s Review 

Sarah Brennan has created a fantasy that many fans of the genre will surely love to read. She asks: what would it be like to live in your favourite fantasy world as your favourite character? In her stunning debut Long Live Evil, Brennan introduces us to the main character Rae, who is living in the real world. Rae has supported her younger sister Alice’s obsession with the fantasy world Eyam from the Time of Iron series. She has even learnt the plot of the whole series through Alice’s incessant rambling. So, Rae decides to read the whole series… except the first book, which she surely knows enough about from Alice’s retelling. Right?

On her death bed at the age of twenty, Rae is offered a second chance at living by entering the world of Eyam and finding the Flower of Life and Death. She grasps this new lease on life and is empowered by the chance to return and grow into the woman she never got to be. But when she awakes in Eyam in the body of the villainess, the Beauty Dripped in Blood, and on her execution day, Rae quickly learns that every day in Eyam is one she will need to fight for. Especially because she has landed in the first book: the one she never read.

Brennan has created Long Live Evil with many layers. Her characterisation is brilliant, with Rae from our world evolving from a person who treats each character as belonging to a book, until she learns about their pasts and grows closer to them. She begins to treat them as people and grows into a character herself. Brennan skilfully incorporates the language of the 21st century into her medieval setting and immerses us in her imaginative world building. Brennan has also created a meta-story, with elements of satire, unveiling the strategies of fantasy books, and the obvious and less obvious elements of character arcs, plotlines, and relationships. Long Live Evil is my favourite book to date. It doesn’t pretend to be anything other what it is: a fun fantasy novel where it doesn’t hurt to be a little bit evil.

Publisher’s Review 

A TALE FOR EVERYONE WHO'S EVER FALLEN FOR THE VILLAIN...

When her whole life collapsed, Rae still had books. Dying, she seizes a second chance at living: a magical bargain that lets her enter the world of her favourite fantasy series.

She wakes in a castle on the edge of a hellish chasm, in a kingdom on the brink of war. Home to dangerous monsters, scheming courtiers and her favourite fictional character: the Once and Forever Emperor. He's impossibly alluring, as only fiction can be. And in this fantasy world, she discovers she's not the heroine, but the villainess in the Emperor's tale.

So be it. The wicked are better dressed, with better one-liners, even if they're doomed to bad ends. She assembles the wildly disparate villains of the story under her evil leadership, plotting to change their fate. But as the body count rises and the Emperor's fury increases, it seems Rae and her allies may not survive to see the final page.

This adult epic fantasy debut from Sarah Rees Brennan puts the reader in the villain's shoes, for an adventure that is both 'brilliant' (Holly Black) and 'supremely satisfying' (Leigh Bardugo).

Expect a rogue's gallery of villains including an axe wielding maid, a shining knight with dark moods, a homicidal bodyguard, and a playboy spymaster with a golden heart and a filthy reputation.