Title: The Graces
Author: Laure Eve
Series: The Graces, #1
Publisher: Amulet Books
Release Date: September 6th 2016
*I received a copy of this book through NetGalley, which does not influence my review*
Laure Eve’s The Graces had its ups and downs, but ultimately ended up being more intriguing than I thought it would be. The protagonist of the novel is a character hard to like. From the beginning I didn’t quite understand River. She keeps a lot of who she is and what’s she’s been through guarded from outside eyes. As a reader, I found this frustrating, especially when the story is told in first person. And while this does seem like a deliberate choice on the author’s part, for a large portion of the novel, I found it difficult to connect with her, especially when it came to her reaction to the Graces.
When we first meet River, she is fascinated by the Graces, a family rumored to be witches. I was initially wary of the three Grace teenagers because of the way other people reacted to them. Everyone, including River, puts them on a pedestal. When Summer, Thalia, and Fenrin walk by, people stop to watch them. Everyone wants to be their friend or date them. These three Graces understand this and if River’s narrative is to be believed, they take advantage of this adulation bestowed upon them by others. What I didn’t expect is that by the end, I really started to like these characters. Yes, there are moments when they seem to look down on those who aren’t Graces and they have a tendency to cut people off when they no longer feel they are worth their time, but there was something very tragic about them as well. As the story unfolds, the Graces become more than the idolized version we’re first presented with.
River’s motivates are suspect from the beginning. She wants an in with the Graces and seems obsessed with getting Fenrin to notice her. She declares herself in love with him and despite knowing every girl at school is also in love with him, is convinced that she offers him something different. River schools her behavior in order to draw their attention, pretending not to care when she very clearly cares too much. It took a long time for me to figure out if the author was deliberately presenting River in this unflattering way or not, which affected the way I read her character and the story.
Laure Eve’s writing has a lot of potential. There were moments where her descriptions were really beautiful, but there were also very cliché and cringe-worthy language that worked against the narrative. The ending of the novel really surprised me and left me wondering if I’d have rated it higher if given all the answers from the beginning.