Series: The Graces #1
Publication Date: September 6, 2016
Publisher: Amulet Books
Reading Level: Young Adult
Pages: 335 (ARC)
Source: From Publisher For Review
In The Graces, the first rule of witchcraft states that if you want something badly enough, you can get it . . . no matter who has to pay.
Everyone loves the Graces. Fenrin, Thalia, and Summer Grace are captivating, wealthy, and glamorous. They’ve managed to cast a spell over not just their high school but also their entire town—and they’re rumored to have powerful connections all over the world. If you’re not in love with one of them, you want to be them. Especially River: the loner, new girl at school. She’s different from her peers, who both revere and fear the Grace family. She wants to be a Grace more than anything. And what the Graces don’t know is that River’s presence in town is no accident.
This fabulously addictive fantasy combines sophisticated and haunting prose with a gut-punching twist that readers will be dying to discuss. Perfect for fans of We Were Liars as well as nostalgic classics like Buffy the Vampire Slayer and the 1996 movie The Craft, The Graces marks the beginning of a new wave of teen witches.
I rarely request books these days because I have such little time to read. Because of this, I only request books I think I will really enjoy, if not love. I had huge hopes for this book ever since I met the author in the UK and heard her read out the first chapter at a book event. Thus, writing this review is really hard because I am supremely disappointed. This is not the book that I thought it would be.
To put it simply, I was extremely bored with this one. I plowed through out of commitment issues (it's hard for me to say no to a book once I pick it up) and sheer curiosity about the weirdness I was reading. At some point, in the last seventy pages, things really pick up and I was really into it, but then everything was explained away nonsensically which only frustrated me further because I am having trouble finding aspects of the book that I like aside from the enticing synopsis.
The main character is super unlikable, and I think that's part of the reason I struggled so much with this one. I am all for anti-heroes, but there's a difference between anti-hero and downright unlikable. Our main character never shares her name with us, but she calls herself River because that is her "true name." She is a very flat character that alternates moods every scene...sometimes she's shy and awkward, other times she is standing up to the bully, other times she is super cold, etc. I have no idea who she really is aside from the fact that she is extremely obsessed with the idea of witchcraft but also The Graces. She is just an obsessive character. She latches onto something so tight and never lets it go because she envelops herself in that something and forgets how to live without it. That something is the witchy Grace family. And it made me a little sick of reading about them.
Also, it doesn't help that the book is extremely predictable. I will admit that Eve had me confused several times in the beginning, but the huge reveals in the end are easily seen a mile away. The foreshadowing is a bit too obvious, not allowing the book to have the BOOM! TRUTH BOMB! effect that it is going for.
This isn't helped by the fact that the writing is a bit bland. I think that there is an amazing concept here, but the execution was lacking, which hurt my reading experience because it almost felt like there was no plot to me. It doesn't help when I come across weird lines that had me scratching my head like, "He smelled like a thicker, manlier kind of vanilla." I'm sorry, but what? I'd come across something like this and just kinda sit there trying to figure out what I just read. I had trouble picturing a lot of the things mentioned in this book. Eve's style of description just doesn't mesh with my brain.
I am so sad to find myself ridiculously disappointed in this book because I had so much hope for it. C'est la vie, I suppose it just was not meant to be with this one.
FTC Disclaimer: I received no compensation of any kind in exchange for this honest review.