Title: The Graces (The Graces #1)
Author: Laure Eve
Genre: Contemporary / Paranormal
Publisher: Amulet Books
Publication Date: September 6th, 2016
Kindle Edition: 352 Pages
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.
“We love just one, but we love them all as well,” he said. “The Graces. We want to be them, and love them, and for them to love us. It’s a curse. Don’t you see? The Grace’s curse.”
I received an advance review copy of this book from Netgalley in exchange for an honest review.
The Graces was a bit of a cover buy. It was featured in a sampler I got at Barnes and Noble B-Fest and I could not get over the gorgeous cover. After checking out the blurb on Goodreads, I was sold. Buffy the Vampire Slayer meets The Craft? What 90’s kid can say no to that? Not this one. So, when it popped up on Netgalley I couldn’t help but request it.
When I got my copy, I dove in head first. There was no way I was letting this book languish on my Netgalley shelf. I had to devour it. And, to be fair, I did. It was a quick and easy read. Unfortunately, it didn’t live up to any of my expectations.
The similarities between Buffy the Vampire Slayer begin and end with the high school setting. I even hesitate to say that the comparison to The Craft is apt. Sure, everyone says the Grace kids are witches, but there is no confirmation. They sit around and cast creepy rituals from time to time, but the reader has no idea if those “spells” did anything at all. For a book that is marketed as fantasy, it was very light on the magic. I would say this book is Contemporary with a dash of Paranormal. If you are hoping for a Buffy style Urban Fantasy. Skip this one.
The fantasy story I expected was instead a tale of obsession. Our main character, River, is infatuated with the school’s number one playboy, Fenrin Grace. He and his sisters are school royalty. Everyone wants to be part of their in-crowd. Even if the entire town believes they are witches. The first part of the book is nothing but River drooling over and trying to attract a boy. Instead, she attracts the attention of his younger sister, Summer. River manages to convince Summer that she is not interested in her brother so that she can hang around and be closer to him. That love spell she cast has to work eventually, right?
The combination of River’s obsession with Fenrin and her disregard for her friends, makes her a truly unlikable character. I am sure that was intentional. However, I tend to feel that if you are going to write about despicable people you need to make up for it in other areas. Your secondary characters need to be well developed and interesting and your story needs to pull me in. Sadly, neither of those things is true of The Graces. The secondary characters are all a bit erratic. They don’t have defined personalities, beyond basic high school stereotypes, and seem to make choices based on what the author needed to happen with the plot. The story suffers a similar fate. It drags for the first half of the book and then becomes a confusing mess.
If you were hoping, like I was, that this book would present a dark and gritty take on the 90’s teen witch, I am sorry to report that it doesn’t. Instead it tells a muddled tale of an unlikable girl who lies so she can get the boy. I wouldn’t recommend The Graces one to anyone, and I certainly won’t be picking up the sequel.