Title: Grace and Fury
Author: Tracy Banghart
Age Group: Teen/Young Adult
Series: Grace and Fury, book one
Star Rating: 4 out of 5 Stars
I borrowed this book from my local library and reviewed it.
Grace and Fury has been sitting at the top of my library stack for a while, and I didn’t want to return it without reading it, as I’ve heard so many good things from the book community. So, when I was finished with Toil and Trouble, I immediately dove in. I’ve read Tracy Banghart’s first book, so when I found out that she was writing a new book, a feminist fantasy in a world inspired by medieval Italy, I was so excited. The first book in a new duology, Grace and Fury was thought-provoking, romantic, tense, and exciting, and in this particular political climate, it was especially timely. With breakneck pacing, strong characters, shocking twists, and surprising romance, I’ve definitely found my new favorite book by Tracy Banghart, and I can’t wait for Queen of Fury!
Serina and Nomi Tessaro are sisters, and each other’s closest friends, but they are two very different people. Serina longs to be a Grace, one of the country of Viridia’s most revered women, and the ideal to which all other women are upheld. With that position, she will win security and stature and the ability to raise her family up from the depths of poverty. In comparison, defiant Nomi bristles against the rules that she must be yoked with, defying convention when she learns how to read and questions male authority. The sisters journey to the capital, with Serina vying for the position of Grace, and Nomi as her handmaiden. But this is where things get interesting: Nomi is the one chosen as the Grace, and Serina is sent off to the prison of Mount Ruin for the terrible crime of reading a book. With both sisters in the last place they expected, they must reach deep inside of themselves for bravery and courage, for nothing is as it seems, and no one can be trusted…
This book was really enjoyable! I wasn’t quite sure what to expect, but it was kind of like a mashup of The Selection and The Handmaid’s Tale. The pacing was breakneck, but at first, it was hard to get into. But once things really started rolling, I couldn’t put it down! There were so many twists and turns that had me eagerly reading throughout; I was utterly captivated. The setting was one of my most terrifying parts for me: Viridia is a country where men hold all the power, all because they’re afraid of women and what they can do. (Sound familiar?) I really enjoyed the characters, especially Serina, Nomi, Malachi, Asa, and Val; they were all well-drawn out, and their character development was wonderful, especially for the girls. I loved the way that Serina changed from a submissive, passive young woman into a fierce, smart, and vicious leader. Nomi’s character only expanded for me, and it was really exciting to see. And that ending! Oh, my goodness, it was fantastic! I need Queen of Fury, stat! It’s been a few days and I’m still reeling! The only thing that could’ve been better was that I wish that the worldbuilding and history of how the world changed was expanded on more. Nonetheless, this book was amazing, and I can’t wait for the sequel! The bottom line: A fierce, thought-provoking feminist fantasy, I loved Grace and Fury, and I can’t wait for the sequel! Despite some little flaws, I really enjoyed it; one of my favorite books of the year! Next on deck: Seafire by Natalie C. Parker!