Review: Grace and Fury
I received this book in exchange for an honest review from Netgalley
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.
My rating: 3.5 stars
This was a book we needright now. I loved that it dealt with women's issues and showed what can happen when men try to oppress women and what happens when the women decide enough is enough. In Viridia, all women had the right to do was work in a factory, work as servant, or be a wife. Any and everything else was illegal and they could be thrown into prison for the smallest infractions such as reading or working to help their families when they needed it or cutting their hair without permission. From Serina's point of view in the beginning of the book, it is not clear why Nomi is so upset. It just seems like things are a little harsh but not that oppressive. I did not understand what a Grace was and why it was such a bad thing to Nomi. She doesn't explain it very well and if it would help her family, why not just go along with it? I think the concept of this story and the writing was beautiful and came at such a perfect time with what we're dealing with in our real lives. I also loved that this was not a book with magic but would still count as fantasy. It's set in a made up world with made up customs and rules. I'd love to see more books like this. I enjoyed the structure of the world and the history as to why women were oppressed was a nice addition.
Now lets get into my favorite part: characters with some plot detail sprinkled in. I'll try to stay away from spoilers and because of that I will not say what other book this one reminded me of. If you're curious, please leave a comment below or send me a direct message on Instagram. Okay, let's get to it. I'll start with the sisters obviously. I did not like Serina much in the beginning of the book but I did like Nomi. Serina was too content with just doing what she was told. She did not see a problem with how things were done unlike Nomi who was livid that she did not have the same rights as her twin brother, Renzo. After the first few chapters I found myself not really relating to either character; Nomi was too naive and impulsive and Serina was too submissive and scared.
By the end, Serina was my favorite out of the sisters and Nomi, my least favorite. The reason for this was because after Serina was found with a book and being accused of knowing how to read, she was sent to Mount Ruin, a prison for women. A lot of them were sent for similar minor offenses like Serina or for trying to protect and defend themselves or feed themselves. Serina was understandably scared and worried about what the future held for her. She was also still nursing a bruised ego because of her little sister being chosen as the Heir's Grace instead of her when she'd trained her whole life for it. She was angry at her sister's impulsiveness which is what caused her to be carted off to Mount Ruin. As her time in the prison progressed, Serina's outlook on life started to change. She realized that the way things were done in Viridia was not right. The fact that the Superior could send women to their doom at his whim was just wrong. The way things were done at Mount Ruin was wrong and the women needed to rise up and fight. There were more of them than the guards but because of how they'd been raised, they still let themselves be ruled by men. I really started to like Serina when it was her turn to finally fight and she refused to play by the commander's rules. She finally understood what her sister had been griping about all their lives and realized that things needed to change and she could be a catalyst for that. I loved how strong she was and how she never let Mount Ruin change who she was as a person. She didn't do anything that she would have to live to regret for the rest of her life. She stuck to her morals even if it meant losing her life over them. She was the character that I think grew the most during the course of the book.
Nomi did not grow as much as I would have liked. I loved her rebellious spirit and the fact that she realized early on that the way things were in Viridia was not right. Women should not have to bow to the will of man and the highest honor should not be being a Grace. Her defiance was admirable but it was what got her and her sister in trouble. After Serina is taken, I feel as if Nomi became one track minded and it is totally understandable that she did but it clouded her judgment. It made her see what she wanted to see and she made bad decisions. She was willing to trust someone she did not even know even though he was in that life too. She let her prejudices and what she thought she knew make her trust the wrong person and she could not see what was happening right in front of her. She accepted one brother's affection without questioning it but when the other brother started to show signs of those same feelings, she convinced herself that he was trying to manipulate her. I think her fear, grief, and guilt caused her to make rash decisions that costed others. I hated that she was not more cautious. Nomi has a lot of growing to do in the next book as I do not think she did at all in this one. She was too naive and judgmental. She has so much potential and I cannot wait to see where she goes from here.
I really enjoyed Val. His story was so sad and I was sorry to learn he lost someone so close to him. I liked him and Serina as a potential couple. They will be good for one another and a good match. I also liked Malachi. I know he was portrayed as this villain but we were seeing that through Nomi's preconceived notions. She never gave Malachi a real chance; she never got to know him without her prejudices or the information she was getting from his brother. The statement Malachi made in the beginning of the book about hating that the magistrates got to chose the girls who would compete to be his graces, told me a lot about him. His sentiment kind of matched Nomi who griped about not having choices. That statement should have told her why the Heir chose her but she forgot about that and never gave Malachi a fair chance and put her trust in someone else she did not know. I liked the women at Mount Ruin and I can't wait to learn more about them and see how they help change things in Viridia. I also would like to see more of Renzo, Serina and Nomi's brother. I'd like to see how he plays a role in the rest of the series.
I truly did like this book and cannot wait to see where it goes next. It ended on a cliffhanger and we do not know who lives or dies or what will happen next. It could go in so many directions that I'm excited to see how it all plays out. Be sure to grab your copy on July 31st!