Title: Grace and Fury
Author: Tracy Banghart
Publisher: Little, Brown and Company
Format: Hardcover (Owlcrate edition)
Goodreads review: here
In a world where women have no rights, sisters Serina and Nomi Tessaro face two very different fates: one in the palace, the other in prison.
Serina has been groomed her whole life to become a Grace – someone to stand by the heir to the throne as a shining, subjugated example of the perfect woman. But when her headstrong and rebellious younger sister, Nomi, catches the heir’s eye, it’s Serina who takes the fall for the dangerous secret that Nomi has been hiding.
Now trapped in a life she never wanted, Nomi has only one way to save Serina: surrender to her role as a Grace until she can use her position to release her sister. This is easier said than done. A traitor walks the halls of the palace, and deception lurks in every corner. But Serina is running out of time, imprisoned on an island where she must fight to the death to survive and one wrong move could cost her everything.
I have very mixed feelings.
To start off, I liked the Italy-inspired world. It was slightly different than your typical YA setting – however, the actual world building was debatable. There were a few words in there that didn’t fit a fantasy world and seemed very modern (but maybe I was just being picky).
In the beginning, I disliked Serina’s chapters. I think that’s partly because I connected with Nomi more. Serina wasn’t a fighter and her attitude annoyed me until the climax, when she ended up more like Nomi. Basically, she was the Hufflepuff to Nomi’s Gryffindor. So I ended up zoning out and not really paying attention during her chapters.
The side characters seemed to be following a lot of stereotypes, but then they all got more depth around the climax, and it started to be a lot more interesting to me. I actually started to care about what would happen to them.
The ending wasn’t a complete surprise to me, but there were aspects that I never expected. I started rooting for people I had hated from the beginning, and everything happened so fast. Not unrealistically, though.
It’s hard to describe my feelings because I don’t really like fantasy books that have blatant sexism in their social system. I’m not entirely sure why – literally any other serious topic I don’t mind. Let’s discuss it. But I guess sexism hits too close to home? I’m not entirely sure.
Plus the beginning of this book made me feel like there was no hope for our main characters. It felt so oppressive and like nothing would change. By the end that feeling had shifted, so I guess the author is really good at playing with readers’ emotions (which,as a writer, I commend. But as a reader… it’s not fun).
I will say that it’s a short read, and I did enjoy the ending. Enough so to make me want to read the next book.
Basically, the first half = 3 stars. Second half = 4 stars
What did you think of Grace and Fury?