Grace and Fury

Pub Date:   |   Archive Date: 17 Jul 2018

Member Reviews

In Viridia a world where women are oppressed.  Two sister face different paths from what they excepted.  Serina has trained all her life to become a Grace.  She thought that by following all the rules and doing her duty her reward would be to picked as Grace.  She felt that was a choice she made.  While Nomi her sister was the rebel.  She learned to read and felt that her sister didn't have a choice but something she had to do.  Things  change when Nomi who is Serina's handmaiden gets picked as a Grace.  Serina finds herself in prison and realizes what her sister Nomi met about freedom.  The sisters are running out of time and the cost can be their life.

You will find deception, romance, violence, and traitors in this book.  I liked it but I could tell where the plot was going.  I liked the writing and would look forward to see how the second book will be done.
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This was a fun and uncomplicated fantasy that I'd happily hand to readers new to the genre or to younger readers looking for a longer book. I enjoyed the sister dynamic and the role reversal. Although I did see the plot twist coming, I think teens will be surprised. Very fun and I'm eager to read the next one!
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I made it about half way through the book. Unfortunately it didn't hold my attention but because I believe that is more to do with my personal tastes than the book itself, I am choosing not to post a public review.
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This book was absolutely amazing after the first couple chapters where it sets the scenes. Strong females are always going to be a favorite read for me.
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Genuinely not what I thought it was going to be! I started it thinking it would turn into some variation of The Bachelor / The Selection (which I guess I would have known it wasn’t that if I had read the summary.) The best twists are the ones included in the summary 1. Serina has trained her whole life to be a Grace which means 2. being one of the many wife-consorts to the king (or in this case the crown-prince but 3. her sister, Nomi, is a rebel who only wants to run away and live in a world where she can read and do as she pleases and not have to serve men but 4. Nomi gets chosen as a Grace instead of Serina 5. and they get caught and Serina goes to prison to save Nomi from that.

I would feel like it was toooo spoilery to say but honestly this is 1/2 Women’s Fight Club (Serina at the prison) and 1/2 The Handmaiden’s Tale and 1/2 The Selection (Nomi at the castle). OKay I know that’s 3/2s but only because Serina and Nomi get split up and have to learn how to survive. Other than that, it’s highly predictable but a pretty easy and intriguing read.

What I liked:

-The sister’s relationship! Okay so actually I’m kinda torn on this because for most of the time I found myself rolling my eyes at the sisters for not being more understanding about what was happening with the other and for taking out their frustration on each other, but at the end of the day, they were both there to do whatever it took help the other sister.

-Although the twists were mostly predictable, I do like how there were just enough clues to what was happening that it was never out-of-nowhere, or out-of-character and instead I was able to piece together the bread crumbs and it paid off in the end. (Among these I’ll include how romance unfurls in the palace...not quite the romance but how it happens)

-Girl power. Strong female characters. The blatant oppression that they’re fighting against and the strength and growth it took for them to stand on their own. 

What I didn’t like:

-The romance at the prison. Let’s just say I get really uncomfortable reading about someone falling in love with their captor regardless of whatever their role was or how tragic their back story is. I want to like the dude, and I want to feel like it’s probably a good thing there is a decent human being at the prison....but....

-The twist(s) = *highly* predictable after the first couple ones..which are actually spoiled once you find out the girls end up in the exact opposite of where they should be.
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I had originally planned to DNF this because it was not holding my attention, but I decided to pick it up again and wow I am shocked by that twist? I feel like I have been massively betrayed and don't know what to think. I will definitely be continuing in the future!
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This book is the YA equivalent of pizza rolls. You know, that frozen appetizer you get at the grocery store when you're not looking for anything high maintenance? Easy, quick, appealing - but you won't find any gourmet unique seasonings there, or plot developments here. I liked the world-building of the island that Serina got sent to and the secondary characters there were well-integrated and fleshed out. I also thought it was interesting that Nomi had to become a Grace despite not having the traditional characteristics for it. The writing was also easy to read and quickly finish. 

However, there wasn't anything else that really stood out to me and I don't think I'll continue with the series. Average, does the trick in a pinch like Pizza rolls, but not something I want to make a commitment to. Just like I shouldn't make a commitment to eating Pizza rolls regularly. 

Thank you to the author, publisher, and Netgalley for the ARC!
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Grace and Fury is the fiercely feminist fantasy series I didn’t know I needed. There’s a lot to be read between the lines (and directly), and while I had my doubts in the beginning, I was soon won over by the two heroines. Sisters Serina and Nomi Tessaro have been preparing their wholes lives the roles, Grace and handmaiden, respectively. Serina sees being a Grace, a woman groomed to stand obediently by the Heir’s side, as her ticket out of their small town and as a way to provide for her family. For Nomi, it’s just another way in which women’s rights have been taken away and she wants no part of it. But it’s time for the Heir to choose his three Graces, it’s headstrong Nomi who catches his eye and Serina who takes the fall for Nomi’s dangerous secrets. Now Nomi is stuck in palace and Serina in prison. These two very different sisters must fend for themselves in different ways and that’s what made the story so interesting. I was equally invested in both perspectives and how their new paths would play out. I did find one to be slightly more predictable than the other at times but was pleased with how it all came together in the end. It left me wanting more (in a good way!) and I’m looking forward to finding out how their stories will continue.

Do I recommend? I do! It’s definitely more about the sisters and not heavy on the romance (although there is some!), which I thought worked for this initial book.
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Orange is the New Black meets every “unwilling girl gets sent to the castle” book of the last few years.  I found mys elf equally engaged in each sister’s story, athough they were very different.  I think teen girls will scramble to get their hands on this book and its sequels.
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A solid 3.5 stars. This world angered the shit out of me. I was furious at the way the women were treated. I hated the whole lot of these people who pretended it was ok. I liked Nomi and I liked Malachi, Asa sounded Whitney and full of shit in the audiobook so from the drop I didn’t like him lol. This would have been amazing written more like an adult fantasy. More in depth but it was good and ended in a pretty hopeful way so I’ll continue to book two.
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This book was just okay for me. Not sure why I could not get into it. The story line did hold a lot of promises but I could not bring myself to get invested into any of the characters unfortunately. I do not think I will continue with the series.
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Protagonists to root for, raging against a misogynistic system that's designed to be instantly hated by the reader. The worldbuilding is somewhat lacking and the plot doesn't hold too many surprises -- especially if you're well-versed in the YA fantasy genre -- but I enjoyed this book.

One sister's palace intrigue sections aren't anywhere near as interesting as the other sister's island prison sections, but then I do love a good prison narrative cum Survivor-inspired fight to the death.
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I expected so much from this story, and perhaps that's the problem? Instead I got a half-rate story that didn't satisfy.
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This is a story of two sisters who end up with very different fates in a world where women have no rights. One sister lives in a palace as one of the many women that gets to stand by the side of the heir to the throne. The other sister is sent to a prison where women are made to fight to the death to survive. There is a strong feminist tone to this novel and it can be somewhat grating at times because it’s pushed a little too hard even when not required for the story, but overall an interesting take on the YA fantasy dystopia.
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The twist was not as surprising as it could have been. I guess it kind of took away from my reading experience, but the two characters were very compelling, and I loved them both!
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An interesting approach to the YA genre, but not a tired re-telling of the same tropes. Would recommend for YA aficionados, teens, and anyone interested in the genre. This would be a good introduction to the YA world for novices.
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My biggest complaint about this novel is also my own fault - I didn't do my research to find out that it's the first in a series. *cry* So, dear reader, this is the first in a series and ends with both sisters in a very precarious position.

The story follows two sisters, Nomi and Serena, as they travel from their poor factory-town home to the capitol for a one-night event. Serena has been training her entire life to possibly become a Grace, one of the Superior's chosen women. Three graces are chosen every three years, and the women are held on a pedestal. They must be beautiful and graceful and obedient, but are revered by the people. The allegory is strong here, y'all.

And yes, as the book continues, we see how much of the story reflects the ways women are treated in patriarchal cultures around the world. These special women are protected from the poverty and violence that wracks the world... but they're also subject to the Superior's whims and desires, including sexually. They can be beaten or jailed or worse at any time. Their position only protects them as long as the Superior wills it.

The Superior is aging, however, and this is the first time that his older son, the Heir, will choose Graces. The Heir doesn't choose Serena, though. He chooses Nomi. Defiant Nomi, who learned to read even though it's against the law. Nomi who is only in the palace to act as Handmaiden to her sister. Nomi who has been chafing at the restrictions of society her entire life.

In the blink of an eye, Serena is caught "reading" and sent to Mount Ruin, a pleasure island destroyed when a volcano erupted and the home of a prison for women. The sister who was willing to do her duty for her family, to be a Grace so that her ailing mother wouldn't have to work, is sent to a desolate and dangerous island where the women are forced to fight to the death for food and water.

Rather than lean into their strengths, Serena and Nomi are each forced to adopt those of their sister. Nomi in the palace, attempting intrigue with the Heir's younger brother, and Serena starting a revolution on the island. As feminist as this book is, I don't think it took the easy way out in creating two-dimensional characters.

I don't want to go further into the plot because there's a lot I could spoil, but I will point out that there's a lesbian Grace and not everyone is white.

TL;DR - This was a solid start to a new feminist series and I'll keep reading.
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In a world where women have few, if any, rights, Serina and Nomi Tessaro have been raised to accept their fate. All her life, Serina has dreamed of becoming a Grace...a pliant, graceful servant of the Heir. It will be an easy life, and it is expected of her. Her sister Nomi doesn't accept that it's her fate to be an uneducated, subservient woman. She hides a secret.....her brother broke the law and taught her to read. When Nomi's secret causes a role reversal between these two sisters, they both have to become strong and fight for what's on an island prison for women and the other while serving as a Grace to the Heir. 

For me, this book was just ok. While I totally understand the point -- women deserve to form their own destinies and have equal rights and opportunity with men -- the plot just seems very contrived. In the past couple of years, stories about women having no rights and being restricted from work, education and simple tasks like reading have just been over-done. I do understand (particularly since I am a woman myself) that this is a hot topic right now. I am just growing weary of the same tired story line. It took me three tries to get through this book. 

On the good side, I do like the characters. The two sisters are witty, intelligent and able to get along despite the fact that they are very different. And, the men are not all portrayed as narcissistic, sexist pigs. There are a few pigs, of course.....but some very redeeming male characters as well. I also like the fact that the book's message is that it's ok to be a smart, intelligent woman. And it's ok to choose to be pretty and graceful......or to be more studious. Either choice is powerful.....and both together -- amazing!

All things considered, I can't say I liked this book though.

I didn't hate the story, but I didn't like it either. I think in this case it's just a matter of this book not being for me. This book is written for a Young Adult audience and just felt a bit juvenile and forced to me. BUT.....I'm 50 years old and nowhere near the age this book is targeting. That being said....I think even a 14-25 year old me would have felt that this story is a bit too contrived to get it's background point across. 

Not every book is for every person. This one is just not for me. There are many, many people who have read it and loved it. I'm glad! It's an important point -- women can be strong, intelligent and live their lives unfettered. Be strong! Be amazing! And....women have a right to their own opinions.....and this time I just disagree with the majority. This story speaks to others though -- and that is always a great thing! 

**I voluntarily read a review copy of this book from Little, Brown Books via NetGalley. All opinions expressed are entirely my own.**
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Out of the frying pan, into the fire...that's pretty much where we are at the end of the book. No spoilers, so I won't say anything more. An interesting book to read in the current political climate right now, where women have no rights and are basically subjugated - no reading or writing allowed, subject to the whims of whatever males happen to choose. There are some definite parallels, and some vibes of Handmaid's Tale, but the story is interesting and its own entity. I had a feeling I knew what was going to happen before we got there, however I was interested enough to continue reading. Overall, I enjoyed the book and would certainly be interested in reading the next one when it comes out!
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In young adult fiction, strong young heroines who help save the world have been a mainstay of such stories for a decade or more. However, this does not mean that authors are overusing this character type. If anything, given the headlines these days, women of all ages need these heroines to remind us to keep fighting no matter how exhausting or painful it is. They remind us that all revolutions start small, and all it takes to grow is that one person to stand up for what is right. In this regard, Nomi and Serina are two more great examples of women fighting the good fight.

What makes Grace and Fury stand out from a crowded field of similar novels is the anger simmering beneath the surface of the story. While Nomi's anger is upfront, it is the anger underneath that fuels the narrative. As both girls gain more exposure to their new homes, they begin to understand just how angry women are at their enforced situations. They also begin to recognize the machinations that exist solely to keep women submissive. As their awareness grows, so does the antagonistic energy that surrounds each woman with whom the girls interact, until eventually, neither girl can ignore the suppressed truth.

In many ways, one can relate what happens to the sisters to current headlines. Just as the girls become more aware of the undercurrents of tension in their fictional world, there is an anger among women in the real world which is only beginning to surface. Serina and Nomi gain greater understanding and knowledge of their lack of rights, but women everywhere are fighting to maintain theirs. Both groups face a firmly entrenched patriarchy that has generations of traditions, social mores, and other insidious forms of subjugation of which so many of us have never been consciously aware. The worlds may be different, but the enemy we face remains the same.

Grace and Fury is not perfect. In fact, the story is highly predictable, and the big plot twist is so obvious that there is no surprise. However, it remains an excellent story if only because it is inspiring. In the real world, women are angry and have been since November 2016. If it takes a fictional pair of sisters to create the spark needed for women to move beyond anger and into action, then I welcome it with open arms.
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