It’s been a while since I’ve read a young adult book. And even longer since I read one that I liked. But, for some reason, Tracy Banghart’s Grace and Fury caught my eye, and I decided to give it a try.
(All reviews are spoiler-free unless otherwise noted.)
(From Goodreads) 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 mixed feelings about this book. While it was exciting and kept me reading (I finished the vast majority of it in a single sitting), there were still a few things I didn’t love. I’ve read enough YA fantasy to know this wasn’t exactly the most original book out there. It reminded me quite a bit of Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard. It’s pretty much what you’d expect from a dystopian fantasy. It was pretty predictable. I think there was one twist I might not have expected, but the synopsis gives it away. I also don’t like when first books in a series ending on huge cliffhangers, and this one definitely does. It kind of forces readers to pick up book two, which isn’t out yet.
The world in this book is a weird mix of The Hunger Games and a royal court fantasy. It was definitely creative, but I really wanted more of the history. We get a brief glimpse, and it’s not enough. Beyond that, though, the society in this book is like a fancy version of The Handmaid’s Tale. The dynamic between men and women honestly made me very uncomfortable, and it took me a good half of this book to stop cringing. I know that fighting against that is the point of this story, but I just wasn’t a huge fan of how the society in this book was structured.
I did like the characters, despite them being somewhat predictable. I went in thinking Nomi would be my favorite, but Serena surprised me by upstaging her sister. Nomi’s half of the story was a bit more fun to read – maybe because I have a soft spot for outrageously fancy gowns, but I liked Serena better as a character. I can’t really discuss the others much without spoilers, but they weren’t bad. I want to see more character development, though.
This book was definitely entertaining, and I absolutely flew through it. While I don’t think it’s anything groundbreaking, it’s a good addition to the genre.
★★★☆☆ – I might not have loved Grace and Fury, but I did enjoy it quite a bit. I think this series has a lot of potential. I’m not totally sold on the sequel (I’ll see how I feel about it when it’s released), but there’s a good chance I’m going to continue this series. If you liked Red Queen, this is one you should check out.
Grace and Fury will be available in bookstores starting July 31. You can preorder a copy on Amazon now.
To get the audiobook for free, use this link to sign up for a free trial of Audible and choose Grace and Fury as one of your two free books.
This book was provided to me by NetGalley and the publisher. All opinions are my own.
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