So many mixed thoughts about this book…

A Review of The Graces by Laure Eve. It’s officially released tomorrow, September 1st, so I thought today is a good day to talk about this book.

I think the main thing about this book was that it needed more time when being written. Because it could have been amazing. It had the potential. It’s about these three popular brothers and sisters in a school, ones who everyone loves, and who it is supposedly really difficult to be with. And they are witches. Already it sounds a lot like Twilight- with everyone in that series being obsessed with the Cullens, just witched instead of vampires.  But because the characterisation wasn’t strong, this book began feeling like a wannabe, cheaper version.

For instance, it was page 3 when we read the protagonist say about Fenrin (or Edward Cullen) “And I was completely and utterly in love with him”. This really reminded me of Bella’s “And third, I was unconditionally and irrevocably in love with him”.

Only it was on page three, and we had only read a few sentences of who Fenrin was. I think this was one of the reasons why it was kind of impossible for me to like Fenrin myself. Because it was just so obvious from the beginning that he was who we, the reader, were supposed to like.

Something I love about Young Adult fiction is fancying the leading guy, such as Jace Herondale, or Will Herondale, or Four… but this book didn’t give me a chance to fall in love with Fenrin. It was just stated straight away, the writing about him was creepy, for example “He’d tour the girl around school however long it lasted, one arm slung over her shoulders in a lazy fashion, and she would drip off him, giggling madly and dying with happiness”.

But of course, maybe it was supposed to be like that. Maybe the whole point of the book was to have mysterious, hidden characters. In fact, I think it was. But the mystery wasn’t developed enough and ended up feeling more flat.

We don’t know the protagonists real name, we only know her pretend name she creates for herself, which is River. From the beginning we know there is something different about her, and its the gripping writing that kept me reading. The ending chapters like “He’d played me well, I’d give him that. When he pushed open the door and disappeared inside without even waiting to see if i’d follow, it was because he knew I would”. Or perhaps the more gripping, “Mum kept saying i’d heal on my own, but you couldn’t heal from that kind of guilt. It was my fault that he was gone. It was because of what I did.”

These compelling chapter endings held my attention, and in many parts I was thinking this book was really good. The writing was gripping, it was haunting, I wanted to know the answers. But I felt like the ending was supposed to be surprising, a shock, but it was in fact quite difficult to be surprised by. I guessed the end from the beginning, so I was hoping the end would have more to it. I hoped it would be more than it was, more mystery, more darkness. Because the writing throughout made the book out to have a dark character. But it didn’t really go through fully, to me.

The graces weren’t as exciting as the build up made them to be. Maybe it was supposed to be like that, maybe they were supposed to be flat for River to be more full. But River wasn’t a fully developed character either, we just knew she was a girl pretending and trying to fit in, we only read her calculated and thought out remarks. It left us with a character we didn’t really understand, and although it was gripping, it made it a book full of very flat characters.

I think if this book just had more time, it could have been a lot better. If more action happened, if there were more details, more history, it would have felt more realistic. I’ve kept this review based on the main characters, but River’s mother, I’m not even going to begin with. It was one of the most rushed, unrealistic mothers I have read.

From reading this, I now know just how important it really is to thoroughly plan your characters. To show who they are before telling the reader how mysterious they are. This book felt like it was telling everything, and when it tried to show, it didn’t really work out. It made for the reader to be hooked to the page, wanting to know about mysterious River, but I wouldn’t say it’s a favourite.

Have you read this book? Are you thinking about reading it? Let me know what you think of it in the comments!

Book love,

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