Title: The Graces
Author: Laure Eve
Published: September 1st 2016
Publisher: Faber & Faber
Genre: Young Adult, Contemporary, Paranormal
Length: 432 pages
Source: ARC in Illumicrate Subscription Box
Book Blurb (via Goodreads):
Everyone said the Graces were witches.
They moved through the corridors like sleek fish, ripples in their wake. Stares followed their backs and their hair.
They had friends, but they were just distractions. They were waiting for someone different.
All I had to do was show them that person was me.
Like everyone else in her town, River is obsessed with the Graces, attracted by their glamour and apparent ability to weave magic. But are they really what they seem? And are they more dangerous than they let on?
This beautifully-written thriller will grip you from its very first page.
I’d seen a lot about this book on places like Twitter when I received it in my Illumicrate subscription box. I’ll admit I’ve not read a lot of fiction that involves witches, but the premise definitely grabbed me and the writing style was effortless to read from the first page.
River wants to know what the Graces are really like – not the celebrity façade that surrounds them – so when she manages to break into their inner circle, she feels like she’s close to finding the answers she was seeking. But River is about to be severely disappointed, and things go from bad to worse when their friend goes missing. With River being cast out, will she ever get the answers she was looking for? Are the Graces the powerful witches they appear to be? Or is something else entirely going on?
I found this to be overall, a really intriguing concept for a book. What it lacked in actual magical spells and sorcery – which is kind of promised in the blurb when you mention witches – it makes up for in an exploration of characters and adolescent growth. While it wasn’t the most fast-paced story, it held my attention. I do feel the book tried a bit too hard to be something mysterious and enticing when it didn’t need to. The overly philosophical discussions between characters came at odd moments that threw me out of the story at times.
I’ll admit, it very much had the Twilight vibe going on. Mysterious family of beautiful children that the entire town admires and fears in equal measure. This put me off, to a degree, but River’s relationship with the family interested me enough to keep going. River is a closed off kind of girl, with dark secrets that she fights to keep hidden. The thing that makes her so appealing to the Graces is her apparent truth-telling – something that the Graces don’t get from a lot of people due to their notoriety.
As their relationships blossom and River begins to feel a part of the family, things start to go wrong in the worst possible way and she finds herself cast out. Understandably, she tries her hardest to reconnect – to find that place that she’s lost because she’s searching for something she feels only they can provide. It’s at this point that things really picked up and the story flowed so much faster. While it wasn’t edge-of-your-seat intense, there was something sinister lurking in the background that left you feeling on edge.
The last hundred pages or so were brilliant, and definitely worth waiting through the rest of the book for. While I had my suspicions about the reveal, it was still interesting to see it unravel and how the characters responded to it.
Perhaps not for people who are looking for a book genuinely about witches and witchcraft, but for readers who enjoy seeing a character go on a personal journey. While the book might not be for everyone, I personally enjoyed it and found it to be a great read.
About the Author
A French-British hybrid who grew up in Cornwall, a place saturated with myth and fantasy. Being a child of two cultures taught her everything she needed to know about trying to fit in at the same time as trying to stand out.
She speaks English and French, and can hold a vague conversation, usually about food, in Greek.
A random selection of favourite things: Terry Pratchett quotes, characters with questionable morals, Jean-Claude Van Damme, Häagen-Dazs cookie dough ice cream, anything Trent Reznor is remotely involved in even if it only extends to ‘he once touched this artist’s arm’, bad 90s dance music and anything a bit weird (see: Davids Lynch and Cronenberg).
*Picture and Biography from Goodreads