Title: Grace and Fury
Series: Grace and Fury, #1
Author: Tracy Banghart
Publisher: Little Brown Books for Young Readers
Publishing Date: July 31st 2018
Number of Pages: 320
Genre: Young Adult Fantasy
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.
When the synopsis dropped the 3B (bold, brutal and beautiful) bomb plus the fierce, action, political intrigue words, they are telling the truth. This is not as bold and brutal and full of political intrigue as what I expected and like what the synopsis tell it would be. Quite underwhelming at first, I was disappointed. Reading the first page, I felt like I wouldn’t get enough of this (you know, in a good way) but as I turned the next pages, I really couldn’t get enough. Not because of how good it was but because it simply literally wasn’t good enough. For the first few chapters, the writing felt ineffective. I couldn’t feel emotions for most of the time even though I know I was supposed to feel something. The characters felt flat at first, phasing was also inconsistent. It’s also trope-y. It reminded me of other fantasy books such as Red Queen and The Selection. I thought I’ll be disappointed all throughout. However, some aspects improved, my disappointment slowly subsided.
The characters slowly felt more real. Nomi, the rebellious one. Defiant, she’s that I-want-to-change-the-system type of girl. I expected so much from her but she’s gullible and not as strong and fierce as she appeared to be. I thought she’ll be my favorite. She’s the defiant one at first but almost didn’t do anything. Such a let down but still not a bad character. Serina, she’s that the-system-is-already-rotten-but-I-have-to-survive-so-I’ll-just-get-along-with-it type of girl. I didn’t expect anything from her at firsto ther than to be irritating. But this girl was a surprise. She’s the tougher one and proved that she can be and do more. She’s the submissive one but was proven to be a fighter. Their characters took a sudden reversal. Their character development was hella on point. I also love their complex relationship. How they always argue about almost everything and holds different beliefs but still love and care for each other. A relationship full of conflicting feelings which I all felt. It says so much about the complexity and reality of sisterhood. I also loved the altering of their POVs.
Asa, Val and Malachi, the love interests wrecked me. One of them appeared to be pure, made me fall in love but is the real evil, one is mysterious and scary but actually deserves everything good in the world, one didn’t disappoint and really has that pure soul amid rotten ones. My heart is split regarding them because they remind me so much of Red Queen’s characters, yet, they are still effective and a good aspect of the story.
The spotlight remained focused on Nomi, Serina and their society’s oppressive system and not on the romance despite its existence and ability to my heart skip a beat or beat faster. There were some deceptions in court as well and I was also a victim, but only for a short matter of time. Hence, the twist didn’t shock me anymore because I saw it coming right in the middle but it still had an effect on me. As for the world-building, it was okay. It was there yet, I wasn’t completely immersed in it. The end and events leading up to it were heart-pounding and made me emotional. I definitely love how it ended despite the fact that it reminded me, again, of Red Queen’s.
I love the message Grace and Fury delivers. It was undeniably significant in the real world. Hence, despite failing to deliver what the synopsis promised, this is still nonetheless empowering. It also gave the message that in a world where men oppress women, there are still a few of them who doesn’t want that kind of system and wants women to have equal rights and power as them which applies to reality as well.
Grace and Fury is a beautiful story of sisterhood and empowerment. It is not one of the greatest feminist fantasy books out there, it is lacking in some aspects, but it sure is promises a great sequel that might probably be one of the best sequels of 2019. I’m certain it is worth anticipating for. I’m keeping my hopes high for the next installment!
Tracy Banghart grew up in rural Maryland and spent her summers on a remote island in northern Ontario. All of that isolation and lovely scenery gave her the time to read voraciously and the inspiration to write her own stories. Always a bit of a nomad, Tracy now travels the world Army-wife style with her husband, son, cat, and sweet pupper Scrabble.
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Have you read Grace and Fury? Are you going to read the sequel? Do you like Nomi and Serina? What are your favorite feminist fantasy books? Share your thoughts below!