Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for the review copy in exchange for an honest review.
Book:Grace and Fury (Untitled 1) by Tracy Banghart
Release Date: July 31st 2018
Tags: Fantasy / Young Adult / Female Oppression / Trigger Warnings / Implied Rape / Attempted Rape / Murder / Death / Animal Death / Animal Abuse / Violence
Possible spoilers for the previous books in the series
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.
There was quite a bit of pleasant buzz surrounding Grace and Fury that made me want to pick the book up. Unfortunately it didn’t manage to move away from average for me but I can see why others might like it so much. I am certainly a bit of an odd one out here.
Grace and Fury focuses on two sisters, Nomi and Serina. Serina is a grace in training, hoping to be chosen by the heir as one of his graces and Nomi her handmaiden. In Viridia it is normal for the king to have various graces by his side if you catch my meaning… There doesn’t seem to be a queen. I hadn’t really read the synopsis so the twist at the start caught my attention. I quite liked that. But after that the plot sunk in a bit of mediocrity. Not the message the book tries to send. But why does Serina need a man along for the ride during the rebellion? I think her piece could have felt a lot stronger had we not had Val there. The love triangle and the twist at the end were too obvious, and for how smart the girl is, she fell into it way too easily.
“It isn’t a choice when you don’t have the freedom to say no. A yes doesn’t mean the same thing when it’s the only answer you’re allowed!”
Like I said, I admire the book for what it tries to do with the message about standing up for yourself, to take your life into your own hands. That your worth as a woman isn’t determined by men. It doesn’t walk around issues and it doesn’t hide the brutal parts of the society.
I loved how there was such a clear sisterhood between the two that felt realistic. They don’t see eye to eye, and yes they get angry at each other for situations they don’t have control over. But sibling relationships aren’t perfect. They will fight for each other though. I also enjoyed how there are other female relationships like Nomi and Maris or Serina and Jacana.
However, as another reviewer pointed out on goodreads, why do we have so many females, and there barely being any kind of lgbtq+ relationships? There is only the mention of one side character who had a relationship with a female. With so many females in one place that spend years together you are telling me nothing developed there? And it being illegal really isn’t a good reason. They already weren’t coming off the island anyway. Some other world building regarding society and history is also a tad shaky.
But even though I loved the sisterhood, I hate that they are separated for most of the book. I really enjoyed the scenes where they were together, with Renzo too. It had a sense of family. I love that. Separately I think both characters are fine and, especially Serina, has good character development. However I don’t turn hot or cold for either of them. I just don’t care about them as separate characters.
I do however have hope for the sequel. A lot of this was about setting up a new situation and in the next book they will be moving on from that. Hopefully we are getting the sisters together and some of these other characters. I think that would be great to see.