“My father used to say that oppression isn’t a finite state. It’s a weight that is carried until it becomes too heavy, and then it is thrown off. Not without struggle, not without pain, but he believe the weight would always, always be fought and overcome.”
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Spoiler Free Review
Here I am, obviously thankful that I received an ARC of this but also really, really depressed that I now have to wait over a year for the sequel…which isn’t even up on Goodreads yet.
Anyway, Grace & Fury is easily my favorite read of 2018…which says quite a lot, seeing as ACOFAS was released earlier this month and I’m one of the few that loved it. Forever grateful for the lovely people over at The Novl for sending me an early copy! Let’s break down what I loved about Grace & Fury.
Strong female leads
Do you love female main characters who fight the patriarchy? Do you just want to find a female main character who actually uses her brain and makes intelligent decisions? Who doesn’t get caught up in crushes like “ohhh look cute boy I’ve suddenly lost all ability to reason!”? Hi, meet Serina and Nomi. I was so impressed through this entire book by how solid and fierce these sisters are. Do they make mistakes? Sure. Are they perfect? No, but they manage to maintain their level of intensity and fierceness even when they slip-up in their decision making. And Serina and Nomi are just the main characters…I’m not even elaborating on the supporting female characters! Who, believe me, are equally fierce and terrifying…in the best possible way.
While I obviously disagree with the way women are treated in this society, I thought the social hierarchy was fascinating. It very much reminded me of how society used to be (and sadly, how it still is in many countries around the world)…where men went to school and were educated, but women were forbidden to attend school. In Grace & Fury, women are forbidden from going to school, learning to read and write, and are ultimately fated to a life of hard labor working in factories or as servants. A select few women, however, are groomed for a different fate: becoming a Grace in the Superior’s palace. While on the surface, it appears that Graces live a life of luxury, it quickly becomes apparent that the life of a Grace is not as idyllic as it may seem. I won’t say more on that because I don’t want to go into further detail and spoil anything, but just know that this world is seriously messed up, but that makes for a really good story…plus, it certainly raises questions that apply to our world today. I’m so excited for the discussions that Grace & Fury will inspire!
This book is full of powerful, female relationships. Not only is the sisterly friendship compelling, but each sister forms beautiful, pure friendships with other women they encounter. I feel like normally in books, girls can be catty…especially when there is a handsome male character involved. And while there is a little bit of cattiness among some of the female characters, this is the exception and not the rule. Most girls in this story band together, support each other, and care for each other in a truly impactful way. And honestly, this is so refreshing. Girls should band together and girls should have each other’s back…we shouldn’t cut each other down; we are stronger together!
Twisty, keep-you-on-your-toes plot
This point is going to be short because of spoilers, obviously…but I loved this story so much! Towards the end, I had an inkling that things might turn out the way that they did, but I still found myself surprised at just how, exactly, the book ended! Also the entire time I was reading, I found myself continuing to change my predictions and honestly at times, I felt just as confused and conflicted as the main characters felt. And that cliffhanger! I need book two…like, now.
I only had one, very small “issue” with this book…(this isn’t really spoiler-y, but if you want to avoid absolutely any and all specifics, even about world building, skip this paragraph!)
I couldn’t really figure out when this book is set. For example, sometimes everything seems very primitive…the Graces travel in horse drawn carriages when they take an excursion outside of the palace. Rooms are lit by candles. The world just generally gives off a very typical “fantasy” vibe…until you get to Mount Ruin. On Mount Ruin, the guards carry firearms. The prisoners arrive in an engine-powered boat. And maybe this divide is intentional by the author…I could see that being the case. But I just remember reading that the guards carried firearms and being struck by how guns seemed incredibly out of place. Anyway, this is a very, very minor criticism…I’d probably call it more of an observation, but I wanted to be completely transparent in my review.
Regardless, Grace & Fury easily earned a 5 star review and effortlessly shot up on my all-time favorites list. I feel like this is the book choice for some of the book subscription boxes, but I’m still going to preorder this book anyway. Can’t hurt to have multiple copies of one of your favorite books, right? Right.
I leave you with the book’s dedication. And if this right here doesn’t convince you that you need this book in your life, I don’t really know what to do with you tbh.
For every woman who has been told to sit down and be quiet…
and who has stood up anyway.