Grace and Fury – Tracy Banghart

Grace and Fury (Grace and Fury, #1)

Grace and Fury by Tracy Banghart

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Grace and Fury is a fantasy book set in a world created by Banghart where women don’t have many rights or choices for their lives. Sisters, Serina and Nomi, react to their worlds in very different ways. Nomi convinces her twin brother to teach her to read, let her learn with him, and rebels in her own head (and sometimes aloud) about the life she is thrust into. Serina chooses to train to be a Grace because she feels it will at least give her a choice about her own life and perhaps will allow her to bring Nomi with her to a better life. Neither quite understands the other or why she so vehemently chooses the path that she is on.

All that changes when Serina and Nomi travel to the capital to see if Serina is chosen as one of the Prince’s three Graces – and instead, Nomi is selected. Their lives are flipped upside down, as Nomi is forced to put on the mantle of Grace and her sister is taken away for Nomi’s crimes. What happens after that is a story about learning who you really are, family (and especially sisterhood), and an engrossing story that made me immediately want to dive into the sequel.

The plot is full of twists and turns, romance (a little trope-y, insta-love for my taste but ultimately I think the romances generally make sense), and a lot of action. I really appreciated the action sequences, because fights and violence can sometimes be a challenge to get across. They weren’t overly detailed, but you felt like you were experiencing the action, and it didn’t drag. You will be captivated by each scene throughout the book and wonder what will happen next.

Although Nomi and Serina were very different characters, I loved them both. I honestly don’t know if I could choose a favourite sister, they each have their strengths and weaknesses. I loved Nomi’s initial headstrong nature, demanding to know everything that she could and was confused by Serina’s placid nature since I questioned things as Nomi did. As the story progressed, I watched Serina grow and learn. As a result, her character grew on me and I love her strength and determination now. Nomi made some poor decisions (I tried to warn her, but you know book characters… they never listen.)

Although this book is a fantasy, it is incredibly inspired by history and the real world. The only fantasy aspect is the fact that it is not a real place, beyond that everything feel familiar. It is political, pushing boundaries and opening eyes, and is clearly a way for the author to express herself and her fears about both the historical treatment of women and the modern world that we are finding ourselves in. That being said, if you don’t read it with slightly critical eyes it will just be an enjoyable fantasy for you. Neither focus is wrong and either way I expect that you will find the book to be enjoyable.

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