Title // The Graces (The Graces, Book 1)
Author // Laure Eve
Publication Month // November, 2016
Publisher // Allen & Unwin
Australian RRP // $19.99 AUD
Genre // Young Adult, Magical Realism, Fantasy
Everyone said the Graces were witches.They moved through the corridors like sleek fish, ripples in their wake. Stares followed their backs and their hair. They had friends, but they were just distractions. They were waiting for someone different. All I had to do was show them that person was me.
Like everyone else in her town, River is obsessed with the Graces, attracted by their glamour and apparent ability to weave magic. But are they really what they seem? And are they more dangerous than they let on? This beautifully-written thriller will grip you from its very first page.
The Graces is an interesting take on magical realism in young adult. It begins out like any other young adult book, but once the story got going I was hooked and couldn’t stop turning the pages fast enough to find out what would happen next.
Part of the charm of magical realism is the close-relationship between the fictional world in The Graces and our own. Laure Eve has written a story about high-school students that feels real – the elite groups of students, those who hang off their every word and those that fall out of the realm of the elite and thus lose favour with the rest of the student body. While the school is merely one setting, it helps set the tone for many of the characters. Likewise, Eve has helped create the divide between the lives of the Graces and River, building up descriptions of their homes, and the places they frequent to help weave together a picture of who each of these characters are.
The protagonist, River, is an interesting character to read. At first, she comes across as quite immature – the outsider looking to be a member of the inner circle of the Graces, the mysterious but popular family of three siblings – and desperate, and the whole way through the book, there’s an undercurrent that she’s running from something. At times, she could also be quite irritating as a character – although that is perhaps symptomatic of all of the above.
The Graces, by contrast, are cool and controlled on the surface – they flit through their high school and town, virtually untouchable simply by virtue of their family heritage. They’ve been raised to believe that they are better than everyone else and that they are destined for great things, and that comes across in the way that they treat others and how they deal with situations that paint them in a less-than-perfect light.
With all the characters in The Graces, there’s a level of mistrust as a reader, because I knew that everyone was hiding something, and the mystery is in unravelling which secrets belong to which characters, and as I approached the climax of the story, I was definitely held in a tight grip of anticipation.
The system of magic – or the ‘is it real/is it not real?’ internal debate as a reader – was really curious. There were elements of the storytelling style, and events that transpired, that gave reminded me of The Craft. I was very pleasantly surprised with the final reveal.
Overall, I found the first half of the story to be a fairly typical set-up, but once River becomes embedded with the Graces’ family the intrigue and pacing of the story picked up and Eve wrote one hell of a plot twist at the end, while leaving readers with a lot of questions that will hopefully be answered in the next book.
I gave The Graces 4 out of 5 stars.
(This book was sent to me by Allen and Unwin for a fair and honest review. All thoughts are my own.)