This was a book that I picked up at random from the library bookshelf, and I really enjoyed it! I’ve never heard of the author or the book, and this is a very recent novel. I thought the ideas behind the novel were really interesting, and the whole plot-line just kept me hooked throughout, which is a great element of any YA novel.
‘The Graces’ is about one girl’s relationship with three siblings. The Grace siblings are Fenrin and Thalia, 17-year-old twins, and Summer, who is 15 years old, the same age as the narrator of the novel. These siblings are the popular kids at school, and they lead seemingly perfect lives, with everyone adoring them, and with the whole town watching the family in awe. The town believes that the Graces are witches, and, ever since Thalia and Fenrin’s eighth birthday party, when a mysterious accident happened, an air of mystery clings to the Grace household.
The unnamed narrator of the book, who adopts the name River, watches the Graces and wants to become part of their lives, not only watching them in awe and adoration like the other members of the school and town, but also thinking that they can introduce her to the world of magic, a world she has always felt a part of.
Throughout the book there are mysterious goings-on, with events such as the party with Wolf, and the attempts to break the Grace family curse, showing the mystery and suspense of this novel, and the words and ideas used by Eve are incredibly powerful in projecting an image of the lives of the Graces, and in demonstrating the great amount of suspense that hangs around the Grace family, with other characters such as Wolf and Marcus adding to this suspense.
The fact that the narrator only knows as much as the reader is really important to this novel, as, as River begins to piece together certain aspects of the Grace family history, curse and goings-on, the reader also starts to realise things, and I thought this was a great aspect of the novel!
What I loved about this book was the world Eve created. The Grace household really did sound magical, and the description of the events of the book created a sense of mystery, and encouraged the reader to realise that this ‘perfect’ household was not all that it seemed.
The description of the herbs and drinks used in the various rituals of the novel, as well as the atmospheric setting of the Grace house (which was more of a castle) and the cove, meant that I really felt a part of the Grace world, and, although it was clear that the Graces brought trouble with them, I could see why River wanted to be a part of this mysterious, enchanting, dark, exciting world!
The details included by Eve were also brilliant, and helped me to immerse myself in the Grace world, with the use of different kinds of witches, for example, highlighting the amount of detail Laure Eve put into her novel.
“Four of us, for the four elements. Earth, air, fire and water.”
I also really liked the way that this book could, to some extent, relate to the normal popular kids of high school. The fact that the Graces seemed unbreakable, with amazing parties, tonnes of partners and a great amount of beauty, and yet underneath the surface there were cracks, shows the deception of appearances. Fenrin is actually in love with someone he can’t have, Thalia is broken, under the shadow of her fromidable mother, and Summer can’t trust any of her friends, which shows that, underneath the popularity, these siblings can never have what they truly want.
I thought this was interesting, as it showed that even those who are ‘perfect’ have problems underneath the surface, and it was only as River got to know the family better that the cracks began to show.
I really liked the honesty of the narrator. I liked how she admitted her obsession with the Graces and I also liked how she was playing the Graces quite a lot, like when the reader could see her inner thoughts as she thought of the best way to ensnare the Graces as friends and, for me, this was much more honest than portraying the narrator as simply an adoring fan.
The fact that she made mistakes also made her human, and the mystery surrounding her reasons for moving house, as well as the absence of her father, meant that she added to the mysterious feel of the book.
“My mouth opened and shut and I gave him a truth, because truth had got me this far, and truth seemed like it would endear him to me more than anything else ever could.
I forced myself to look straight into his eyes. ‘I can stop pretending when I’m alone.’
Bingo, as my mother often said.”
The only thing I would say I wasn’t as keen on was the ending. It felt a little rushed after all that had come before it, and the revelation about River just seemed a little rushed, to me. But then again, there is a sequel coming out in September 2017, so perhaps the ending will be elaborated on more in the next book.
I would say though that ‘The Graces’ worked as a standalone, because, aside from River’s rushed revelation about her own magic, the ending was neat enough to make it a great standalone!
Overall, clearly I really enjoyed reading this book, and I particularly loved immersing myself in the Grace world, visiting their house and revelling in the magic that River also admired so much. I thought the characters were very well-rounded, with the fact that the seemingly ‘perfect’ twins, Thalia and Fenrin, had great cracks underneath their perfection showing the deception of appearances, and that ‘perfection’ always comes at a price, which is an important idea!
After reading this book, I became very interested in the history of witches and magic in literature, you can find out more here.
Did you enjoy my review of ‘The Graces’? Do you think it sounds like an interesting novel? Would you consider trying a book by Laure Eve?
Let me know all your thoughts in the comments below 🙂
Happy reading x
Picture credits here