THE GRACES by Laure Eve brings the mysterious and creepy factor in a slow build-up to a shocking ending.
**The Graces ARC was sent to me by the publisher for an honest review.**
The Graces by Laure Eve is a story about a teenage girl who moves into a new town with her mother after the disappearance of her father. She doesn’t really fit in with any sort of social group in school, but she seeks acceptance with a trio of siblings who are somewhat in a celebrity status around town. The Graces.
It’s been rumored, although not officially confirmed, that the Graces are a family of witches. There’s even a website about them. The girl, self-named River, knows this and knows of the rumors about them. Although she’s oddly timid and socially awkward, she’s not afraid of the Graces, and soon finds herself friends with the youngest of the Graces, Summer.
Now she can begin planning. She wants to be their friend so much, to essentially be part of their family. But she also wants something from them, something she believes they can help her get. What that is, we don’t exactly know. And that’s what we read to find out.
As I read the book, I was anxious to find out more about River and why it was so pertinent to her to want to get close to the Grace family.
Unfortunately, the more I read, the harder it was to find any sort of connection to River. She was awkward, yes, and I’ve been in that situation many a times during school. And it was fine seeing her finding a connection with Summer, and eventually the other siblings, Thalia and Fenrin.
However, when she reveals that she needs them for her own personal and private motives, you begin to think that maybe River isn’t the likeable protagonist that you tend to read about. Indeed she is mysterious. But she’s also quite petulant when she reveals more and more of herself, especially when things don’t go her way. Still, we’re left in the dark for most of the book when it comes to what it is she wants from the Graces.
The Graces themselves are written as not only mysterious, but desired by everyone in the community, even if they’re somewhat feared as well.
The other teens that are already friends with the siblings are considered to be so only because of the Graces’ majestic reputation and wealth. River refuses to consider herself as one of those type of friends.
She delves into witchcraft, reading witchcraft books, and eventually convinces them to let her in their circle. Her bond with Summer becomes stronger as she tries to get to know the family more, including Fenrin. And Wolf, a friend of the family. They seem to accept her as a true friend, inviting her to events and parties that no else from school gets invited to.
But as genuine as she is with wanting to be their friend, there’s still that manipulative part of her that only we, as the reader, can see. Because of that, we finally find out how much she can do when things don’t go her way.
By and large, River is the most compelling character in the book, if also the most annoying, considering herself a better friend to the Graces than any of the others.
There are others that stand out, including that of Wolf Grigorov, the Grace siblings’ longtime friend, and Marcus, another teen who had a close friendship with the Graces.
The story itself moves at what I consider a snail’s pace, or maybe a very slow build-up. There are times when River’s descriptions of the situation or of people feel overly dramatized and forced to make us feel a certain way about a person or event. River herself often acts petulant and “emo-” like, especially when talking of her lonely, abandoned existence, and living with an emotionally distant mother. She blames herself constantly for things we hardly know anything about, but have to try to grasp a little at a time. It is frustrating to say the least.
I understand the appeal to keep the readers in the dark about River’s plight, but I believe there’s a line that can be crossed to where it becomes tiresome. The author had crossed it, but just barely.
The book is not action-packed, but does have more of that mystery quality to it, with a dose of creepy-ness mixed in. Things happen here and there that don’t seem to fit into the whole story, but it’s done with a conscious effort on the author’s part. You’re not supposed to see anything that can be considered extraordinary or supernatural, so that when something extraordinary actually does happen, you’re supposed to be floored.
When the finale of the story is revealed, it certainly makes up for most of the secrecy.
But it was a pretty arduous story to read through to get that satisfying ending. Granted, I’m not a huge fan of “mystery” stories where the excitement is in trying to put the clues together before the reveal. Naturally, I found patience wavering.
Still, the final chapters of the book put a pretty surprising twist to the story that makes me want to come back to it when book two is released. For that reason, the series is already frustrating because I fear going through the same arduous storytelling. I can only hope it gets better from here. Admittedly, it has happened with a few other book series I’ve read.
The Graces is now in bookstores, but you can order it through Amazon.