Katherine has moved away from her shattered family to start afresh in Sydney. There she keeps her head down until she is befriended by the charismatic, party-loving Alice, who brings her out of her shell. But there is a dark side to Alice, something seductive yet threatening. And as Katherine learns the truth about Alice, their tangled destinies spiral to an explosive and devastating finale.
If anything, this is not a lighthearted read. It is 1 cup of darkness, 2 cups of psychological thriller and 1 cup of twisted - which makes up to a 4 star Beautiful Malice.
Katherine moved away from home to live with Aunt Vivien, changing her name from the original Katie Boydell in order to escape the tragic history that broke her family apart. She is constantly consumed by grief, guilt, regret and self-blame. She closes herself up and becomes a quiet girl in the new school, until she meets Alice. Wild, fun and charming, Alice quickly becomes Katherine's best friend. But underneath her seductive charm, there seems to be another side to Alice, which makes her unbelievably cruel and uncaring towards others. Katherine dismisses these as bad hair days, but she slowly realizes that Alice is not who she thinks is.
Katherine is someone we can sympathize with - she is not without blame, for it was she who indirectly caused the tragedy. But we cannot exactly put the blame on her because it was not her doing in the first place. She merely did what a normal person would do - running away, although it was a cowardly thing to do. But even if she didn't, it wouldn't have changed much.
Alice is one really messed up character. She is someone devoid of love, she is cruel and plays others' around her fingertips. A real psycho, if you ask me. But again it's not entirely her fault she's like this. Rebecca James is a master at creating characters that we hate but sympathize with at the same time, it seems.
Beautiful Malice is pretty good for a debut novel, and fans of Shift would find this book interesting.