Title: Grace and Fury
Author: Tracy Banghart
Published: August 2018
Publisher: Hachette Children’s Books
Readership: Young Adult
Genre: Fantasy, Dystopian
I received a copy of Grace and Fury from Netgalley in exchange for a fair and honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.
Bold, brutal and beautiful, this is a must-read with the glitter and romance of The Selection and the thrilling action and intrigue of Red Queen.
In a world where women have no rights, sisters Serina and Nomi face two very different fates: one in the palace, the other on an island prison where women must fight to survive.
Serina has spent her whole life preparing to become a Grace – selected to stand by the heir to the throne as a shining example of the perfect woman.
But her headstrong and rebellious younger sister has a dangerous secret, and one wrong move could cost both sisters everything.
Can Serina fight? And will Nomi win?
Grace and Fury was one of my book club’s book pick for August, and I confess to knowing little-to-nothing about it to begin with. As with all books like that I just tend to start reading and see where it takes me.
Nomi and Serina live in a world where women have been treated as less than for generations, forced to conform to certain roles in life with little room for growth in additional rights. The only way to rise in status in this society is to become a Grace, one of three women who stand beside the heir to the throne as the epitome of womanhood – put out on show, more as accessories than anything else.
So you know something’s going to give, because even a fictional world like that doesn’t fly any more.
Despite Serina having trained her entire life to be selected as a Grace, she suddenly finds herself a prisoner who needs to learnt to fight and defend herself while Nomi finds herself in the one place she loathes – the palace, attending to the whims of the heir.
There are a lot of things to like about Grace and Fury – it has strong female characters in its’ protagonists, and more than that, they’re sisters and (for the most part) good friends. Nomi, in particular, is quite a fierce young woman for her world, having learnt to read and understanding that the way their world works is an injustice.
I also really liked the scenes set on the island, with the women who are forced to learn how to fight to survive and to build bonds where they never thought they would, and stand up for themselves when the time comes.
What I struggled with with the supposed ‘twist’ in the story, which was less of a twist and more of a repeated riff on a common pattern in young adult fantasy books that I saw coming the second the girls set foot in the palace and was just waiting for it to play out (which it didn’t until the very last chapters) so the climax was more of a fizzle than a bang. I am hoping that the next book in the series will take that reveal and doing something different with it, because it’s honestly not my favourite thing.
Overall, Grace and Fury is a solid book – it’s fast-paced, easy to read and has a strong focus on female strength and is an alright beginning to a series of books. I gave it 3.5 out of 5 stars.