Rating: ⭐️ ⭐️ ⭐️
Serina Tessaro has been groomed her whole life to become a Grace–someone to stand by the heir to the throne as a shining, subjugated example of the perfect woman. It’s her chance to secure a better life for her family, and to keep her headstrong and rebellious younger sister, Nomi, out of trouble. But when Nomi catches the Heir’s eye instead, Serina is the one who takes the fall for the dangerous secret her sister has been hiding.
Trapped in a life she never wanted, Nomi has only one option: surrender to her role as a Grace until she can use her position to save Serina. But this is easier said than done…. A traitor walks the halls of the palazzo, and deception lurks in every corner.
Meanwhile Serina is running out of time. Imprisoned on an island where she must fight to the death to survive, surrounded by women stronger than she is, one wrong move could cost her everything. There is no room for weakness on Mount Ruin, especially weaknesses of the heart.
Thrilling and captivating, Grace and Fury is a story of fierce sisterhood, and of survival in a world that’s determined to break you.
I received Grace and Fury in the Owl Crate August 2018 “Ruthless Royals” box. I had heard about the book and thought it sounded interesting, but I probably wouldn’t have read it if it hadn’t been in this box. One of my favorite things about Owl Crate is the exclusive covers. The exclusive cover of Grace and Fury is stunning! I like it more than the original cover.
The story follows two sisters, Nomi and Serina, in a land where women are oppressed and have no rights or power. Through a series of events Serina is imprisoned and Nomi is forced to stay in the palace as a Grace of the Heir. I liked both sisters stories, but Serina’s was more exciting. Mount Ruin (aka the island prison) is crazy and full of super intense action. Serina starts off as a “perfect” woman who submits and never rebels. I really liked watching her grow into a strong, independent woman.
One of the biggest strengths of Grace and Fury is the imagery. Tracy Banghart was able to create beautiful scenery with her writing. I especially loved the Graces’ dresses and all the Italian influence. Even the gruesome scenes at the Mount Ruin amphitheater were beautifully written.
Grace and Fury was very predictable. As soon as Nomi and Serina arrived in the palace and we met the Heir (Malachi) and his brother (Asa) I knew exactly where the story would go. All of the romances were too insta-lovey and obvious from the characters first meetings. Despite this, the story was a lot of fun and I enjoyed it.
My favorite part of Grace and Fury is the female power! The world in Grace and Fury is all kinds of f***** up!! I absolutely loved watching the women realize that they do have power and that they can create change. The best was that the women realized they’re better when they work together! Grace and Fury was full of amazing feminist messages and I loved every bit of it. This is what took the book from a 2.5 star rating to 3 stars.
I’ll wrap this review up by including my favorite feminist quotes from the book . . .
“You fight back. Always.”
“In all the stories, women give up everything,” Maris said, her voice tight. “We are always supposed to give. We are never supposed to fight. Why do you think that is?” . . . Voice low, knowing she was walking on a knife’s edge, she murmured, “Because they’re afraid of what will happen if we do.”
But Serina couldn’t stop. A wave was building in her chest, and if she didn’t speak, it would destroy her. “Why do we let them do this to us?” she asked, and she was thinking of more than the guard’s barbaric fights. “Why do we let them break us? Starve us? Punish us for being ourselves? Is it because we think we’re sweet, delicate flowers and we let them?” Her voice rose. “I don’t think we’ve ever been what they want. That’s why we’re here in the first place.” She remembered what Oracle had said when she’d arrived, and suddenly, the words meant even more now, because Serina believed them. “We are not flowers,” she said firmly. “Like you said, Oracle, we are concrete and barbed wire. We are iron.” Serina stared at the women surrounding her. “We are smart, and we are dangerous. The guards know that. They know we have the power to overthrow them, if we’d just work together. We need to stop killing each other and fight them.”
I wanted to add this part last so I could talk about how Grace and Fury reminded me a lot of The Red Queen by Victoria Aveyard. It was actually a little too similar in some parts.
SPOILERS BELOW FOR BOTH BOOKS.
Here are all the similarities between Grace and Fury and The Red Queen . . .
- There are two brothers (Cal & Maven/Malachi & Asa) who are the King’s/Superior’s sons. The older brother (Cal/Malachi) will be the heir.
- The lead (Mare/Nomi) connects with the younger brother first.
- The younger brother (Maven/Asa) is more progressive and a visionary. He convinces the lead (Mare/Nomi) that he is the better brother and cares about the same things she does. He convinces her that he could lead better and should be heir.
- The lead (Mare/Nomi) and the younger brother (Maven/Asa) scheme to overthrow the cruel king/superior.
- The lead (Mare/Nomi) starts to develop feelings for both brothers and is torn between the two. She feels wrong about her connection with the older brother (Cal/Malachi).
- In the big twist, it’s revealed that the younger brother (Maven/Asa) is actually the bad guy and had been manipulating the lead (Mare/Nomi) all along. The older brother (Cal/Malachi) is actually the good guy.
- The younger brother (Maven/Asa) murders his father and frames the older brother (Cal/Malachi).
- The older brother (Cal/Malachi) and the lead (Mare/Nomi) are imprisoned by the younger brother (Maven/Asa) who then assumes leadership.