Thank you to Hodder & Stoughton for the review copy in exchange for an honest review. This does not change my opinion in anyway.
Book: This Vicious Grace (The Last Finestra 1) by Emily Thiede
Release Date: June 28th 2022
Tags: Fantasy | Young Adult | Romance | Sharing Gifts | Italian Inspired
Trigger/Content Warnings: Seclusion | Forced Marriage | Discrimination
Three weddings. Three funerals. Alessa’s gift from the gods is supposed to magnify a partner’s magic, not kill every suitor she touches.
Now, with only weeks left until a hungry swarm of demons devours everything on her island home, Alessa is running out of time to find a partner and stop the invasion. When a powerful priest convinces the faithful that killing Alessa is the island’s only hope, her own soldiers try to assassinate her.
Desperate to survive, Alessa hires Dante, a cynical outcast marked as a killer, to become her personal bodyguard. But as rebellion explodes outside the gates, Dante’s dark secrets may be the biggest betrayal. He holds the key to her survival and her heart, but is he the one person who can help her master her gift or destroy her once and for all?
This Vicious Grace has a similar kind of start to another book I read earlier this year. But where that book left me dissapointed, this book I truly enjoyed reading.
Alessa is attending a third funeral of her third husband in a short time. She’s killed them all three because of a lack of control over her gift. A gift that is meant to enhance the others gift. Not kill. It makes her the Finestra of their island. Each time a Finestra is born who will chose a partner. Together they will fight the demons that come each generation to destroy them. But this generation doesn’t seem to be working quite so well yet. Alessa has to choose a fourth husband, but there are very little candidates left and few that wish to volunteer. Even worse, someone is trying to kill her. She needs a bodyguard.
I think what drew me the most to this book was the slow build up of the relationships between Alessa and the others. Not just her romantic interest but something grows with the others as well, a weird friendship as one says. Where they all were very guarded from them, as they saw more of her they realized she wasn’t some murderer. And even the asshole was a great character by the end of it all. I love when that happens. It gives so much more depth to characters.
Not just that but that Alessa starts trusting herself more and diverting from the set rules, and surprisingly is even allowed to. She had to fight for it but it still happened. It gave her room to work and to trust herself more in her own choices. I also loved seeing bits and pieces about where there magic and mythology come from (and even more so the point that only a few things were set down by their Goddess and the rest was thought up by the humans to create control). Clearly we are going to learn a lot more of this world in the next book and I can’t wait!