Title: The Graces (The Graces, 1)
Author: Laure Eve
Genre: Contemporary, Urban Fantasy, Young Adult
Publisher: Faber & Faber (1st September 2016)
Everyone said the Graces were witches. I was going to make them mine.
Just like everybody else in her small town, River is obsessed with the Graces.
And just like everybody else, she’s been seduced by their wealth, their exclusivity, their beauty and their glamour. Perhaps even their magic.
But unlike everybody else, River knows exactly what she’s going.
Rating: ⭐️⭐️ (2 stars)
THE GRACES is the first part of a new duology by Laure Eve. It follows the story of River who has recently moved to a small town with her mother. In this new place there is a family called the Graces who everyone is infatuated with, including River who wants to get caught up in their world. The Graces have two daughters and a son – Thalia, Summer, and Fenrin – the youngest of whom is in the same year at school as River. Desperate to fit in, River concocts a plan to get noticed by the Graces and become part of their world.
I have mixed feelings about this book. There is a lot of it that makes me go, nope this is not cool. THE GRACES deals with ideas of obsession, balance, consent, and finding your place in the world. Some of this Eve handles well, but I did have issues with a lot of it. At one point River narrates that she doesn’t think “magic could be bad. It depended on the person doing it, not the thing itself. […] Magic was only bad if you were, too.” (pp. 253-4) And whilst on the surface this seems like an innocuous comment, it made me feel really uneasy. It felt almost like a justification for future acts that wouldn’t be bad, because River isn’t a bad person. With this in mind I found River to be a very selfish person; she seemed to have no idea about consent and free will, which is kinda funny (in an ironic sort of way) when you take into account the plot twist in the second half of the book. That being said, the last hundred pages or so of THE GRACES do have me intrigued about the companion novel – I want to know what is going to happen next.
Having only the blurb to go on going into this book I wondered if maybe there would be a Greek mythology lean to the story – maybe a new look at The Fates/Moirai? I couldn’t have been more wrong. THE GRACES reminded me a lot of the 90s films The Craft and Practical Magic in terms of the plot and how magic was handled, but with the dreamlike feeling of WE WERE LIARS (review). The book is split in two halves, and similarly so is the plot. The first half focuses on River trying to get in the Graces circle, and the second focuses on River trying to move on from events in her past.
The story is narrated through the main character River – I don’t think we ever learn her given name; River is what the Graces call her once they’ve decided to be her friend. As I mentioned earlier in the review, I found her to be a selfish person and to be honest quite naive too. That being said, there were moments when she could be incredibly kind or insightful but she didn’t seem to really grow or change to me as the book progressed. I found the Graces to be very one-dimensional – I understand that with the story being narrated by River we only see things from her point of view, but they just seemed flat.
Unfortunately, THE GRACES whilst a good read overall was not the book for me. However, if you are a fan of WE WERE LIARS and like your books with a twist at the end then I think you will enjoy this book.