Review: Strange Grace by Tessa Gratton

strange grace

Hardcover, 389 pages
Published September 18th 2018 by Margaret K. McElderry Books
Trigger Warnings: death, animal death, torture, spookyness
ARC Provided by the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review 

syn

Once, a witch made a pact with a devil. The legend says they loved each other, but can the story be trusted at all? Find out in this lush, atmospheric fantasy novel that entwines love, lies, and sacrifice.

Long ago, a village made a bargain with the devil: to ensure their prosperity, when the Slaughter Moon rises, the village must sacrifice a young man into the depths of the Devil’s Forest.

Only this year, the Slaughter Moon has risen early.

Bound by duty, secrets, and the love they share for one another, Mairwen, a spirited witch; Rhun, the expected saint; and Arthur, a restless outcast, will each have a role to play as the devil demands a body to fill the bargain. But the devil these friends find is not the one they expect, and the lies they uncover will turn their town—and their hearts—inside out.

review

This is my third time writing this review… I just don’t know about this book! I really don’t. I don’t know if to like this or like like this. Confusing, right? I know!

So, I didn’t love this, but I of course didn’t hate it either. I finished this THREE days ago and I still can’t fully review this so I’m going to try + hope you understand my unorganized thoughts!

The good:

  • I’m sure you’ve seen from many reviews about the polyamory relationship. Now this is one of the great things in this book because everyone just loves everyone here! Seriously, you even get these vibes from side characters and even Mair’s mother is in a f/f relationship that is very quickly mentioned. And it’s wonderful! Love is a big thing in this book and it’s encouraged as protection and strength. YA needs more LOVE.

 

“This valley is made on love, little bird. Find love. Seek it, always. That is where our power resides.”

  • The forest! The Devil’s Forest is its own being entirely. It’s alive. You feel it from the very beginning and it’s actually spooky! The way the forest is described is so creepy good! It’s inviting and dark and full of terrible secrets you need know all about. I wanted to walk in there myself because no one would and I just kept waiting and waiting for it!

 

  • THE WRITING WAS BEAUTIFUL.

 

This book gave me goosebumps! I loved it! I haven’t read too many scary/creepy books and I really wish I have! I want more. Recommend me good you-might-not-be-able-to-sleep-after-this book(s)! I. AM. READY. (sort of – I’m a little scared) GIVE ME ALL THE SPOOKY BOOKS.

Anyway, the vibes of the whole book are very moviesque. This would do really well as a movie, it’s that entertaining! It’s a dark fairy-tale and it’s hauntingly lovely.

 

“I fell in love with the forest. And the forest loved me back. And so, we traded hearts. Mine is here, larger and stronger than it could have been in the small cavern of my body.”

 

So, now onto the bad:

  • I found this only entertaining. But very entertaining at that.
  • I felt this book lacked depth on a few aspects. Such as pacing, and characters:
  • We see the relationship between Rhun, Arthur, and Mair, or rather we are told of it. We don’t see too much of individual monologue or why they love each other just that they do! It’s not explored as I would have loved it to be because this relationship was just great that it even existed so why not add to it y’know? That was disappointing for me. Their love needed to be explored more. We also mainly only feel the love of two characters, or rather, we don’t experience much of Arthur.  And he turned out to be my favorite in the end! We don’t get to connect with the characters as I would have liked. There we go. This was my main point. 
  • The world-building was also done in the same manner. We are kind of told that “this is they way things are done” but that’s about it. We are never told why or how certain things came to be. Like Mairwen’s magic for example, she weaves bones and makes charms, but it is never too detailed as to why she does certain things, and if you don’t have any prior knowledge on the matter, you’re a little lost. I would’ve liked some background on her families magic is all.
  • Also, the book is weirdly contradicting? Most of the vibes you get are love vibes as I said, such as a Main character and a side character possibly having feelings toward each other, and the main relationship, as well as others, but then the village is shown to be against it and it’s not clear why either. The village is big on sex roles and feels at times homophobic, but then in other instances the people of the village (or certain people) don’t seem to really care whom you love! Everyone just loves everyone. It got a little confusing.

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I feel like you kind of just have to go with the flow on this book? Or maybe it’s just me. I may be a little lost.. If anyone wants to explain anything it seems I missed, please let me know because I did thoroughly enjoy this book! But I’m a bit frustrated with it. The beginning was sooo good and it hooks you right in! It grabs your heart and it feels like it’s never going to let go, like it’s going to drag you into the forest but you’re looking forward to it! But, then, the second half of the book comes along and the pacing just gets a bit weird and you realize this no longer has a hold of your heart but you’re already so invested in it so you must finish it but it isn’t the same anymore.. – That was basically my experience in a nutshell. 

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Overall, it’s a slow, spooky, poetic book. The writing is wonderfully lyrical, and that’s really what kept me going. Despite me not loving this one, it’s still one you should pick up! I highly recommend it. 4 stars because I cannot ignore that writing&rep!

 

Add it to your TBR here:
Add to your TBR

 

4stars

 

Don’t forget this is out already!

Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Book-A-Million | Book Depository | Indie Bound 

 

Has anyone read this already? Did you love it? I may need to re-read this to wrap my head around it all! 

Happy Reading!

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3 thoughts on “Review: Strange Grace by Tessa Gratton

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