Published September 1, 2016 by Amulet Books
The Graces #1
I have always been upfront about my “problem” for picking up a book based solely on its cover, and honestly, I haven’t ever regretted this habit of mine.
Until The Graces made its way into my life.
I have been ogling this book on #bookstagram for the past few weeks, and skimmed the synopsis before I decided that I needed this book. I didn’t even search for a better deal on Amazon or any other online retailer, just walked into Barnes & Noble one day and bought it for full price.
Maybe I wouldn’t be so bitter if I hadn’t spent $20 on this. But then again, maybe I am just bitter because The Graces is a textbook example of the “don’t judge a book by its cover” saying.
Fenrin Grace is larger than life, almost mythical. He’s the school Pan, seducing girls without really meaning to. He’s biding his time until someone special comes along. Someone different, who will make him wonder how he got along all this time without her. Someone like me.
Fenrin’s twin, Thalia, is a willowy beauty with rippling, honey-colored hair. Wherever she goes, Thalia leaves behind a band of followers who want to emulate her. She casts spells over everyone she encounters, just like Fenrin—even if they both deny it.
Then there’s Summer. She’s the youngest Grace, and the only one who admits she’s really a witch. Summer is dark on the outside—with jet-black hair and kohl-rimmed eyes—and on the inside. It was inevitable that she’d find me, the new girl—a loner with secrets lurking under the surface.
I am River. I am not a Grace. But I’ll do anything to become one.
The main character River was extremely hard to like. In fact, I just stopped trying. Since the story is told from the first person though, she is hard to escape. She was too mold-able, even describing to the reader the multiple transformations she undergoes throughout the course of the novel. Also, she keeps secrets from the reader, which is frustrating, when she alludes to how events in her past have led her to where she is at the present, but doesn’t expand upon them. She tries to play the victim too often, but I can never look at someone who doesn’t acknowledge the “your best friends brother is off-limits” rule as a victim.
The Graces is what I would consider a ‘slow burn’ novel. The first 2/3 of the book is all character development, teenage angst, and secrets. I couldn’t figure out exactly what the plot was, or where the story was even going, because there was nothing happening. When part one ends, and part two begins, I was so confused; it seemed like the story exploded in a drunken blur. But since River is narrating, she doesn’t actually let the reader in on what happened, for no other reason that i can think of other than her love for suspense and drama.
There is a twist at the very end of the book. A twist, a reveal, however you want to describe it. And honestly, I would have thought it to be a great twist, but it just wasn’t enough to make up for all of the nothing that happened (or didn’t happen) previously.
The redeeming quality of The Graces lies in the Grace family themselves. Eve does an absolutely fabulous job of creating a mysterious and intriguing family. I kept reading because of the desire for their secrets to be revealed, not River’s. Fenrin, Thalia and Summer are all fleshed out as individual and unique characters, described in rich detail, from their clothes to their attitudes, which I really enjoyed.
If you are thinking about picking up The Graces because the magic aspect of the story intrigues you, put the book down and back away slowly. There really isn’t that much magic, just the whisper of the possibility that magic is coming. What we get instead is memories of playing “light as a feather stiff as a board” from back in high school. Tea light candles and burning pictures, that kind of nonsense. Nothing like what I expected, or honestly, what was sold to us as. The Craft? Um, no.
Apparently there is going to be a book two, and I can only hope that something actually happens in that novel, but unfortunately I don’t think I am going to be reading it. I was just expecting more, and I was let down by the cover hype and the #bookstagram popularity. Next time, maybe I will think twice. Maybe.