The Graces by Laure Eve
Published September 2016 by Faber and Faber
My copy: Kindle
Everyone said the Graces were witches.
They moved through the corridors like sleek fish, ripples in their wake. Stares followed their backs and their hair.
They had friends, but they were just distractions. They were waiting for someone different.
All I had to do was show them that person was me.
Like everyone else in her town, River is obsessed with the Graces, attracted by their glamour and apparent ability to weave magic. But are they really what they seem? And are they more dangerous than they let on?
I had heard a great deal about this book and was really keen to give it a go – although I have to admit that fantasy and witchcraft are really not my thing!
I did struggle to get into this book a bit at the start. The Graces family just seemed far too perfect and a bit obvious in a way – the beautiful hippie girl and her gorgeous twin brother, and younger sister Summer who dressed like a full-on goth but whose behaviour and manner were completely un-goth. I also found the narrator to be quite annoying and I didn’t much take to her. And not much actually happens! However I persevered and I did find the book easier to read as it progressed.
But although I did find it readable enough, I never really found myself enjoying the book. I didn’t particularly like any of the characters – and the Graces just felt a bit ridiculous – and I didn’t enjoy the witchy bits at all. Maybe they weren’t witchy enough or maybe they were just too silly, I’m not quite sure, but the whole thing never quite worked for me and it all felt a bit forced. Also River’s mother – I have read many YA novels where the parents are absent a lot, which of course helps our protagonists get up to all sorts of mischief – but River’s mother was at another extreme. Hints were given as to her gambling problems, but these were never really explored – and she also seemed to work handy night shifts and sleep all day – and didn’t care where River went. At one point she tells River – who is 15 – that she wishes she was hitting up a few more nightclubs!
Then there is the twist at the end of the book – but to be honest it was so obvious that I didn’t even realise it was a twist until I read other reviews that explained that it was! The hints given throughout the book seemed to point so obviously in this direction that it seemed impossible to miss.
I feel a bit conflicted about this book, because although it was ridiculous and there isn’t really much of a plot, I found myself reading it and wanting to find out what was going to happen. Also, as I mentioned, I am not a fan of fantasy novels, so I don’t feel it is necessarily fair for me to say that these elements of the novel weren’t done well as perhaps to aficionados of this genre it was brilliantly done! But for me personally it never really worked, and the book as a whole never quite clicked for me.
My rating: 5 out of 10