The second of two books included in the August Illumicrate was The Graces, the first in a new fantasy series from Laure Eve. I was really intrigued by this book which promised mystery and maybe a little magic, so I was keen to get started.
‘There was something about the Graces. They were one step removed from the rest of the school, minor celebrities with mystery wrapped around them like fur stoles, an ethereal air to their presence that that whispered tantalisingly of magic.’
The story is narrated by River, a teenager who is settling into life at a new school. And at this school, the Grace family are the main attraction. The subject of many stories and rumours, the Grace family are regarded with fascination and awe, treated almost like minor celebrities. There was something about them that made the whole school obsessed with them, intrigued by them. And for River a rare opportunity arises to get closer to this mysterious family when she befriends the youngest Grace daughter. Summer Grace is a fifteen year old who likes to stand out from the crowd, and she is joined by her seventeen year old twin siblings Thalia and Fenrin. Thalia is the beautiful, glamorous girl who all the other schoolgirls aspire to be. Her brother Fenrin is the handsome brother who all the girls wanted to be with – though he can be considered something of a womaniser! The story follows River as she gets to know the family, and finds out what really goes on at the Grace’s house…
‘What a person chose to keep secret could tell you all you needed to know about them. What they showed was who they wanted to be. What they hid was who they actually were.’
The book is split into two parts the first of which focuses on River settling in to school and getting to know the Grace family. I found this first part of the book to be of a slower pace and it gradually builds up the picture of this family and who they are, and what they might be hiding. The pace picks up a little more in the second part when a little bit of witchcraft and magic plays a part. We learn that there is a suspected curse surrounding the family, a curse which needs to be broken. Along the way there were a couple of surprises, and I was interested to find out the truth about the Graces, to find out if they were what the townspeople thought they were. I was also interested to find out what it was that attracted Summer to River, and how River would fit into their world. Given the way the story evolved I am interested to see where the story will go in the sequel when it is published next year. Whilst this book wasn’t what I expected it certainly has a lot of potential, and scope for a little more magic.
‘It was hard to concentrate on the past with so much present to look forward to, filled with sunlight and Graces and magic.’
I found The Graces to be an enjoyable read, and a book which I was able to devour quickly. It is a promising start to a new fantasy story, a story of extraordinary people in an ordinary world.