ARC Review: Malice

Title: Malice
Author: Pintip Dunn
Release Date: February 4, 2020
Publisher: Entangled Publishing
Genre: Young Adult, Sci-fi
Pages: 400
Rating: ★★★


What I know: a boy in my class will one day wipe out two-thirds of the population with a virus.

What I don’t know: who he is.
In a race against the clock, I not only have to figure out his identity, but I’ll have to outwit a voice from the future telling me to kill him. Because I’m starting to realize no one is telling the truth. But how can I play chess with someone who already knows the outcome of my every move? Someone so filled with malice they’ve lost all hope in humanity? Well, I’ll just have to find a way—because now they’ve drawn a target on the only boy I’ve ever loved….


Malice follows Alice who is just living her life of holding her family together. She makes sure her prodigy smart brother, Archie, eats his meals and is still dealing with the grief of her mother walking out on their family under suspicious circumstances. Her father hasn’t talked to her or even looked at her in years so it’s up to Alice to take care of everything in her and Archie’s lives. An ordinary girl who has a food instagram even though she can’t cook and an inspiring photographer that wants to travel the world. Then one day it all goes to hell in a handbasket basket when a voice suddenly arrives in her head, bringing a crap ton of pain and threatening her life unless she tells popular boy Bandit that she loves him. There’s something more going on though and the voice, which turns out to be a future version of herself, refuses to tell her anything beyond someone in her class will create a disease that wipes out a significant portion of the world population unless Alice steps up and does exactly what future her tells present her to. Easy right? Plus in a school full of geniuses how hard could it be to figure out who is behind such malice?

Alice was such a bada**. She strode up to Bandit, told him that she loved him and then peaced out. That first task would have done me in. She was a brave girl who started out doing what she was told, but then started questioning everything. There are a few betrayals along the way but she stays strong and sticks to her guns. Alice starts out as this quiet and under appreciated sister of her smart brother, but really grows up and takes control of this bizarre position she’s been put in.

Romance. Bandit was so sweet, cute and extremely frustrating. There was a bit of insta-love on Alices’ part but who doesn’t want a bad boy that’s good only for you? I’m willing to slightly overlook it. I was constantly questioning if he was a different kind of bad though. Just like Alice though I tried really hard to overlook my doubts, no matter how guilty he seemed.

Solving the mystery behind the creator of the virus was full of twists, turns, and time travel that I was just not expecting. We get to dive into time travel, but in a way that wasn’t overtly simplistic or complicated. We really never get to know how exactly it all works and I liked that. I wanted to focus on the story more than the science behind it all. The story of Alice, her family, friends, and Bandit was a good one and I think trying to explain the science behind every little thing would have ruined it. What we do get though is the effects of time travel on past and future scenarios which was interesting.

It took me about halfway through the book to start making guesses on who could be behind the virus and even then I was still second guessing myself until the very end. I don’t think I would have had this book on my radar if it weren’t for The FFBC introducing it to me. It was a quick and fun read that kept my attention. It has everything you could want in a story; a mad scientist, a cute and maybe bad boy, time travel and friendship. If you are looking for a sci-fi that doesn’t dive too far into the science behind everything and gives you a mystery, I highly suggest picking up Malice when it hits shelves on February 4th!

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