Title: The Graces
Author: Laure Eve
Genre: YA / Paranormal / Witches
Rating: 4 / 5
Everyone said the Graces were witches. They moved through the corridors like sleek fish, ripples in their wake. Stares followed their backs and their hair. They had friends, but they were just distractions. They were waiting for someone different. All I had to do was show them that person was me.
Like everyone else in her town, River is obsessed with the Graces, attracted by their glamour and apparent ability to weave magic. But are they really what they seem? And are they more dangerous than they let on?
(Description from Allen & Unwin)
The Graces is a smart, mysterious novel that completely took me by surprise. I wasn’t expecting to be swept away by this book, but I was. At 400+ pages, this isn’t a quick read, but I ended up devouring the whole thing in one day because, well, it was really addictive. I didn’t even stop for lunch (*collective gasp ensues*). Let me tell you why:
I found myself dying to find out who the Graces were, and what they were being so darn secretive about. The Graces are a wealthy family who are well-known by everyone in their small coastal town. The three siblings; Thalia, Fenrin, and Summer, are idolised by their peers at high-school. Everyone in the family is beautiful, but they are also cold and aloof. As a family, the Graces are very cliquey, disposing of their friends as quickly as people can flock to them. It seems like ‘normal’ people are not quite good enough to get in with the Graces permanently, but River Page is determined to prove that she is worth their time.
At the start, The Graces is a little bit Twilight-esque, with mysterious families and brooding hotties, but it quickly diverges and leaves behind the brewing romance in favour of unravelling the mystery of the Graces. Although River has a crush on Fenrin, her main focus is to become part of their family (which was a relief because at the beginning the Twilight vibes unsettled me a little).
River becomes obsessed with the Graces, to the point where she severely alters her personality to try and fit in with them. Every sentence she speaks is controlled, and she calculates all of her actions in the hope of fitting in with the three siblings. Her whole life is quickly consumed with her fascination and desire to be one of them. She sees something in the Graces that resonates within her; River believes that their power may be able to help her with her own personal problems and secrets.
I loved how unreliable (and unlikeable) River was. River is quite an unusual person; she doesn’t have any friends, she has a mysterious background, and she has what she calls a ‘coal-black’ soul (a bit emo, I know, but you won’t mind once you get to the end). To put it bluntly, River is not a nice person. She is cold, calculating, obsessive, and she believes that she is somehow better than everyone else in the school (besides the Graces, obviously) even though she never really gives anyone a chance. Also, River lies. A LOT. To the people around her, and even to the reader. We don’t even know what her real name is, and we don’t find out her motivation for befriending the Graces until the end. I thought that River was a really intriguing character, her hidden motives and the mystery surrounding her true identity was captivating. I was always wondering what she would do next, and what lengths she would go to to fit in.
My only complaint is that some of the dialogue was a little cheesy. Like I said before, things got a tiny bit emo every now and again and some of the dialogue from these supposedly 15-17 year-old characters sometimes felt a little overdone. That is really my only complaint out of the entire book though, because I was much too busy being totally enthralled by the mysteries that were unfolding.
All of the mystery created so much tension and suspense throughout The Graces. Every page left me with new questions, wanting to find out more. While the pacing is actually quite slow, I never found it boring because there was so much intrigue. The truth is so cleverly shrouded in this story that I was always left wondering whether or not the Graces really were witches or if certain things were just coincidental. Whilst reading I was always guessing what the ending would be – some of my smaller predictions were spot on but I never picked the big twist at the very end… talk about a big reveal…
…And the ending was so SO good. It was exciting and super dark and twisty and I can’t believe I have to wait till September 2017 for the next instalment. I urgently need to know more about the Graces and River and where the next story will take them.
Overall I think that The Graces is an excellent read that deals with themes like magic, elitism, the pull of the ‘Other’, and most fundamentally, the idea of fitting in.
Publication Date: November 2016
Price: $19.99 AUD
Thanks to Faber and Allen & Unwin for sending me a copy of this awesome book.