Sleep Like Death / Kalynn Bayron / Book Review


Eve has trained all her life to take down the Knight. Crackling with dark and violent magic, Eve knows this is the task she was born to do. She has to avenge her mother, whose desperate wish the Knight twisted. Just like he twists all the wishes of those who dare to seek him.

Only the desperate--and foolish--would seek out the Knight. An ancient evil wandering the countryside as long as anyone can remember, any wish he grants gets twisted into a dark curse instead. All across the land, families bear the scars he leaves behind.

So when Eve gets wind that the Knight and his corrupt bargains have made their way back into her borders, she knows it's time to act. But even though Eve has been training all her life, her mother, Queen Regina, doesn't want her to go. And when Queen Regina starts acting strangely, Eve knows that the Knight's dark tendrils have stretched farther than even she could have guessed.



This book... was so incredibly disappointing to me for a book that isn't really all that bad. I've just seen so much love for Bayron's other books from readers I respect that this book was quite a let-down. I'm hoping it's just a fluke, because I'd be sad to find out I don't jive with Bayron's writing in general. This book was, unfortunately, a fairly generic fairytale that lacked any of the bite it reads like it is supposed to have.


Devilish Dealings The follow-through might not have been up to my (particularly gory) tastes, but I'm always a sucker for a Mephistophelian deal. Who doesn't like a good deal-with-the-devil premise? Sure, everybody knows they really shouldn't be making these wishes, but... sometimes it's hard to resist, right?

Cool Powers Bayron doesn't hold back from giving her heroine some really wicked magic powers. She can summon the power of the heavens. She can create a cloak of the night skies. Lightning, fire, and ice come to her call, and she's trained to use it all, too. And I appreciate that.

Fresh Take You know what's usually a bland fairy tale? Snow White. Don't come at me for saying that if you love Snow White. Everybody's got their own tastes, and even if it isn't my favorite tale, I'm always a sucker for retellings. (I did write a whole thesis about feminist fairytales, after all.) I appreciate that this book weaves a bland tale into something inherently new. It's got all the familiar playing pieces, but the story unfolds in a way that's hard to predict, even when you know the plot beats in advance. And there's something to say about that.


As wicked as Eve's powers might be... she did feel a little "not like other girls," if you know what I mean. She's tough, prickly, and standoffish. Oh, and she's not a fan of babies. This is a sort of classic twist on a fairytale princess, and honestly, I'm kind of tired of it. Not all girlbosses need to above-it-all tough, you know? Girlbosses can be strong and independent and also like kids, dresses, dancing at balls. Why make a girl choose? It's not necessarily a Bayron-specific problem. This "strong female character" archetype has become all too common, and I'm just kinda tired of it. She's Not Like Other Girls

The worldbuilding here is particularly fairytale, in a bad way. In a way that doesn't make sense in a full-fledged novel. Why do we have somebody with a title living in a cottage? Titled nobility doesn't usually, you know, live in a cottage. This sort of thing happens in fairytales without explanation. In a full-length book, I really do need to know how this came about. And when you're dealing with devilish wishes as a plot device, the twists do need to be unpredictable and dark. Every one of the unexpected "twists" on the wishes in this book just felt like something anybody with common sense would have seen coming. We need a touch more logic if I'm committing to 350+ pages. In a fairytale, you can get away with a lot more than in a book, and there were just a lot of loose ends here that I couldn't get past. Bland Fairytale Worldbuilding

If I was supposed to care about the family that takes Eve in--father and seven sons--well, I really didn't. I mean, we spend hardly any time getting to know them. The characterization was nonexistent except where it was nonsensical, because there's no way a 17-year-old girl is thinking of a 16-year-old boy like a little brother. Not when she's just met him. And she does kind of treat all the boys like little brothers, even when some of them are pretty close to her in age. [MILD SPOILERS AHEAD!] This family also comes with a tragic backstory which, yeah, is regrettable because it stems from a stupid wish made. But also, in the history of history, motherless children aren't really all that uncommon. Do we really need dark magic to explain the tragedy of dying in childbirth? [END SPOILERS] Anyway, the dynamic was off. I was obviously meant to care about them, and when I didn't, the impact of the last quarter of the book just didn't land like it should. Which is, you know, unfortunate. Family Matters



Fans of Rosamund Hodge's Cruel Beauty will like this new fractured fairytale featuring devilish dealings. Those who enjoy a fresh twist on Snow White like the one found in R.C. Lewis's Stitching Snow will love diving into this new world of compromises and queens-next-door.


Publisher: Bloomsbury YA
Date: June 25, 2024
Series: N/A
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Note: I was provided with an ARC by the publisher through Netgalley in exchange for an honest review. All opinions here are my own.


  1. Sorry this one ended up being such a letdown. The premise sounded fun.

  2. Sorry this one was a disappointment.

  3. Sorry to hear this one didn't live up to the expectations you had for it.

  4. Oh no.. sorry to hear it wasn't as good as you had hoped. Hate when that happens.

  5. Ha, some of your thoughts reminds me of this kid´s show my child watched. Where they went all girlbosses and changed to pants to go on adventure. And I was all, you can do that sure, but hey you can wear that dress and still rock that world too

  6. I can totally understand your disappointment, especially when you were expecting so much based on Bayron's previous books. It's a bummer when a promising fairytale retelling feels too generic and lacks the expected bite.

  7. Sorry that this one was somewhat disappointing ER.

  8. Sorry to hear this was a disappointment! Hope you love your next read!

  9. The plot makes it seem like the book is going to be a great fantasy, so it is disappointing to hear that you thought it was a letdown and a bland fairytale retelling.

  10. I'm sorry to hear this was a let down, it definitely sounded like it had potential. Great honest review, ER.


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