Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
Summary: “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” (Goodreads).
Grace and Fury was an ARC I picked up at Comic-Con because one of the publishing companies was handing out a stack of them. I hadn’t heard of the book, hadn’t heard of Tracy Banghart, didn’t have high expectations. You know what’s good about having low expectations? You’re fantastically surprised when it’s good. And this was good. I mean, sure, it wasn’t perfect, and I have read this plot before (it was a darker The Selection on maybe 10x speed), but it was elegantly written, beautifully feminist, and strikingly strong. I loved Nomi and Serina, loved their stories, and was so very attached. I read this book in only two days (I think? It’s been awhile) and those hours I spent pouring over the pages were worth it. So worth it.
This is one of those books that sneaks up on you with how much you enjoy it. I started Grace and Fury thinking it would be just another fantasy novel, and while it was rather cliché, I haven’t truly read a young adult novel with such a feminist taste to it. It left me thinking maybe I could knock down the patriarchy too.
Now, this world is cruel. It reminds me that I am lucky to live in the United States where I have the right to read, the privilege to read. I can’t imagine having that ability taken away from me, not having words in my life. So I emphasized with Nomi hiding and cherishing her ability, despite it being against the law for women to read, to do much of anything.
Also…not to mention how totally surprising the plot twist was? I had vague suspicions, but wasn’t totally expecting that turn. I was also really pleased to see that there’s a reason behind the misogyny in the world, that it’s not just general sexism. It was also a really deep reason, too, something I didn’t foresee having so much depth to it.
Anywho, I will most certainly be reading the sequel when it comes out next year. And I will most certainly be recommending this book to anyone who found The Selection a little too light for their taste. This is the mature version of my dreams. (And by mature, I mean that it’s not for ten year-olds, but is perfectly suitable for the general audience of YA—I always considered The Selection a lower branch of YA).
Ahhhhhhh, catch me screaming now that I remember how good this book was.