Grace and Fury — Tracy Banghart

July 25, 2018

Grace and Fury

TITLE: Grace and Fury
AUTHOR: Tracy Banghart
SERIES: Untitled Series, #1
RELEASES: July 31st, 2018; Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
GENRE: Fantasy
AGE RANGE: YA

SYNOPSIS: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.

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This book has been fairly hyped lately, mainly for its claims as a staunchly feminist YA fantasy. You guys already know I’m here for all the feminist reads, so I was pretty excited to pick this one up. When it comes to ARCs, I usually like to go in without knowing much about the story in advance, but a lot of my friends posted reviews for this book over the last week or so, so I had to peek—and found that I ended up agreeing with almost all of them.

“You must be as strong as this prison, as strong as the stone and ocean that hems you in. You are brick and barbed wire. You are iron.”

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Like many other reviewers, I was genuinely disappointed by Grace and Fury, for a few different reasons. The first and most basic disappointment about the story was the writing voice. It wasn’t noticeably bad, it was just not impressive. There are a couple of good quotes, but if this tells you anything, I usually highlight/tab at least 10 quotes in the average book so that I can choose my favorites for my review—in this book, I only was able to find 4 that I thought were decent enough to use.

Women had ruled this country. And history had denigrated them. Erased them.

My other, larger problem with the story was the sisters themselves, Nomi and Serina. The perspectives alternate, and while they’re very different characters, 1) their “voices” feel identical, and 2) they both consistently make the worst decisions possible, and it not only harms them, but it also hurts the people around them (most of them innocent, more or less). One choice in particular is made that literally spells out impending doom for hundreds of people, yet the character who makes the decision just doubles down and refuses to show any remorse. I wanted to throw my iPad so many times out of pure frustration with these girls.

Every aspect of their world pitted women against each other while men watched.

The book does have some redeeming qualities in the sense that it is very feminist, though I’m not sure if it sets the best examples of feminism. As I mentioned before, choices are made—for the sake of the sisters’ perspectives on feminism—that actually hurt people more than they help them. I felt like they were so immature that they rushed blindly into situations without any consideration for how it would affect anyone else, because all that mattered was that they were “rebelling”.

“In all the stories, women give up everything.”

That said, the book is not a total waste of time: it’s a very fast read, and the ending put things into such a tailspin that, as reluctant as I am to sit through another 300 pages of awful choices and subpar writing, I have to know what happens next. I doubt I’ll request an ARC or purchase the sequel, but I could see myself grabbing it from the library next year just to see where things go next. All of this in mind, though, I can only truly recommend picking up Grace and Fury if you aren’t looking for anything particularly impressive and don’t mind irritating characters.

All quotes come from an advance copy and may not match the final release. Thank you so much to Little, Brown for providing me with this ARC in exchange for an honest review!

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More about Destiny @ Howling Libraries

Just a horror aficionado/geek girl trying to juggle motherhood, reading, blogging, gaming, and everyday life.

Leave a comment
    1. Oh you changed your theme! It look great, I love it 🙂
      I’m sorry that this book was a disappointment to you, I feel like this story is either a hit or miss. I’m sorry you didn’t love the characters, it’s always annoying when you get frustrated with them all the time :/
      I hope your next read will be better! 🙂

      1. I did, just last night! Thank you so much! ♥ I’d been wanting to for a while but I’m so glad I finally did, as I really didn’t care much for the old one. And thank you, I hope so too! I also think this book is hit-and-miss in general.

    1. Fantastic review Destiny and mirrors the thoughts of a few others I spoke with. I think I am holding off. Although they seemed in agreement that the pacing was good and easy. Haha about tabbing. I just said the other day you can tell how good a book is by how many tabs I place.. 4 quotes.. nope. ??

      1. Thank you! I don’t blame you. Yes, it is a very quick read, just… not super exciting, sadly! And yes, lol, you really can! Like if you look at the copies I have of the Shades of Magic or Raven Cycle books, they are FULL of tabs!

          1. LMAO! I love it. I keep them on the shelf beside my desk, and whenever I read away from my desk, I just grab a pack and take it with me. Sometimes I consider changing to highlighters so that I can just keep one in my pocket, but I like that I can remove tabs if I decide to unhaul a book.

      1. Thank you, Kaya! Haha I feel like I have mostly seen “meh” reviews, but I’ve only seen 3 or 4 reviews at all! I expect the positive reviews to start showing up in my feed soon, though, since I do think this book will work better for some readers than it did for me!

    1. Sorry you didn’t enjoy it! I’ve seen mostly positive reviews about the sister and the feminism, so I’m glad I came across your review. I can’t deal with frustrating characters, most of them impulsive and with disregard of other people, so I don’t think I’ll ever picking this up. Thanks for the review!

    1. I have requested an ARC for this but I don’t actually know if it is coming or not as I never got a reply haha. Might just turn up in my mailbox, who would know.
      But if I don’t get the ARC I probably won’t read this as most of the reviews I have seen are of a similar view to you, that the book is just disappointing! Which sucks! I was so keen for a badass feminist book!

    1. Wow your new theme is so pretty! It sucks that it disappointed you. I think I’m gonna stay away from this one because one thing I can’t stand is annoying characters.

    1. I’ve been wondering what this book is about and if it was as hyped up since I’ve seen it so often around Instagram. Really liked your honest review!

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