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 received this ARC while attending BEA earlier this year in exchange for an honest review. I was in no way compensated for this review.
I was immediately drawn to the cover for Laure Eve's The Graces! It sounded like it would involve a good deal of magic and mystery. What I got wasn't quite what I was expecting, but still good enough in parts. But honestly towards the middle I was skimming the pages because I was feeling bogged down by the pacing.
River, though that's not her real name nor do we ever learn it, is enamored by the Graces, the most popular kids in school. She's madly in love with the brother of the trio, Fenrin. In order to get closer to him, she tries to make herself more interesting and even becomes friends with one of his sisters, Summer.
This from the start was a bad relationship with me and our heroine. For one thing, I can't stand insta love and River was instantly in love with Fenrin from the get go and "he had to be hers". This kind of libido driven lust always aggravates me. Because seriously, she had never even exchanged a word with the guy but was "in love" with him. It sickens me. So this kind of had me disconnected with River for much of the story, as this was her goal.
Her other goal was to learn all about the magic that Summer was involved with. Summer takes her under her wing and they do harmless spells together here and there, sometimes even at school. Really, the spells were few and far between but enough to be noticeable by the reader. And sure enough, Summer and River become best friends.
Although a problem with River's goal is when she learns about the Grace family curse; and that is if any of the them have a relationship with someone who is "normal" i.e.: non-magical, that person is doomed. Like literally, all their past relatives' significant others have met untimely ends quickly after nuptials and whatnot. But River won't let this deter her. She will find a way to break the curse so that she and Fenrin can be together...once her realizes he loves her of course.
I feel like because I never got on board with River and her goal that it made it insanely hard to like her. She was a little bit selfish in her quest. I can't stand it when "love" and "romance" are the main themes in a book. And with River, it was more like obsession since she literally DIDN'T KNOW the guy! It's seriously one of my worst pet peeves when it comes to insta love in books. And let's just say that Fenrin was the resident player at the high school, so she already knows the boy has commitment issues. But I guess she thinks she can change him.
The story is saved with the quest to end the curse, and a few added scenarios. One is that Thalia--the twin sister to Fenrin--'s ex-boyfriend is kind of stalking her. It at least gave an added danger to the mix. Then comes in a family friend, Wolf, who's another strange boy wrapped up in mystery. For he too lusts after one of the Graces, s he and River share a camaraderie in that sense and plan to work together to end the curse so they can be with the ones they love.
I will say that the last 1/3 of the book or so was deeply riveting! There was mystery and so many different kinds of secrets being unearthed! And then the last chapter or two just made it even more intriguing! River is definitely not your ordinary kind of heroine and I did like that about her, except for her "mission in life". That just nagged at me, as you can see I've ranted enough about it with this review! LOL!
Initially though, I had been expecting this one to be a more mythological kind of read, but when magic came up instead, I was still totally down for that. But sadly, this book kind of lacked in that area too. Was it still an intriguing read? Well, yes, in some ways. It was definitely mysterious as the story moved further along and at times you felt like you didn't know what the Graces' motives were. And then there was the twisted ending that was even more astonishing and had me liking it, there was still quite a bit let unsaid at the end though. In some ways, this reads like a standalone despite all that, but according to Goodreads at least, there's one more installment.
Overall I'm left deeply conflicted over this book. I wasn't really enjoying it for the majority of it, mostly because (again) of River's goal, but that last 1/3 or so was rather good. If this does truly turn out to be a series or duology, I can't say I will be continuing it. Take that as you will. Though if you are interested in this by its premise, do check it out! I think I was pretty much done for once River's mission was stated early on and that just didn't jive with me or had me liking her for it either.
Overall Rating 2.5/5 stars--an okay read, that was just slightly better than the standard okay. I feel as if I have to remind you all of this with my 2 star ratings. ;)