Standalone | 389 Pages | 2018
Strange Grace at a Glance
- Overall Rating: ★★★★★
- Heroine: Child of the forest
- Dudes: The best boyfriends
- Steaminess: They’re a little busy saving the town
- Brutality: Tied down in a bad way
Pairs Well With
Wow, this was just a gorgeous book. Yes, the cover is pretty, but what is inside… My heart is really happy after reading this. If you are looking for something atmospheric, but with a mystery and some folklore and self-sacrifice thrown in then you have your book. I saved this read for October and I am so glad that I did.
The town of Three Graces has no sickness. The rain always falls in the perfect amount. Oh, and every year they sacrifice a young man to run into the forest and try to survive the Devil… Totally normal…
Mairwen is a Grace witch, Rhun is the chosen saint who will run into the woods, and Arthur is an angry boy who just needs to escape. When the Slaughter Moon comes four years early, they set out to figure out why the forest would demand a sacrifice so early. Rhun believes it’s his time and is ready to run, but Arthur and Mairwen are reluctant to let their friend go early. They want answers from the forest and they will get them.
“Just think about that, you suicidal idiots.”
It’s hard to talk about character development without spoiling, but I would never do that because this book was such an experience. We get snippets and flashbacks as the story progresses, but you never know what is real and what is in their imagination.
If the deal with the devil is broken, then sickness and famine could come to Three Graces. Now the three friends have to navigate what is going on, how do they fix it, or do they even want to?
“It’s fear. Not of the devil, but fear of change. Fear of doing anything different that might cause a ripple and bring it all down. Fear of a little boy in a dress, because he didn’t fit into the structure of town, the rules. There was never anything wrong with Arthur.”
Rhun is a fairly simple character for the most part, but he loses his childlike happiness abruptly and develops a true sense of leadership which is admirable. I don’t want to say that Rhun is bisexual, as that was never specified on page so he could very well be pan. Actually, despite the unsaid stigma of the town, all three main characters seem to be LGBTQ. I say seem because while Mairwen makes a comment to her friend Haf, I don’t know if she was serious. Either way, I really enjoyed the representation and how Arthur struggled through his feelings, while Rhun had simply decided that if he loved you, that is all that matters.
I loved Gratton’s writing. It’s fluid and descriptive, without becoming purple prose. The tiniest details all become relevant and tie in to the overall story line seamlessly. I love trilogies, but reading a well-built standalone has its own kind of magic. The folklore basis reminded me of Uprooted by Naomi Novik and if you loved that book, then this one’s for you. It is more atmospheric and less plot-driven, but it jumps around enough that I was never bored. It’s not an edge-of-your-seat page turner, but a gorgeous fairy tale-like story.
Have you read Strange Grace? Let me know what you thought in the comments!