Title: Strange Grace
Author: Tessa Graton
Publisher: Margaret K. McElderry Books/Simon & Schuster
Publication Date: September 18, 2018
ARC provided by the publisher via Edelweiss
Three friends defy their town’s tradition in Tessa Graton’s newest YA Fantasy Strange Grace.
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.
Strange Grace was one of the first books I got approved for months ago when I revived my blog last April. I have been excited to get to it, but since it releases late in the year and I’ve gotten other books with earlier release dates, I had to postpone reading it. The wait was certainly worth it though, as Strange Grace might just earn a place at my top fave reads this year.
Strange Grace has everything I want in a book – beautifully haunting writing, an intriguing, unique premise, twisty plot, great representation, and interesting and nuanced characters. It also tackles important topics such as gender expectations, and doing the right thing over the easy thing.
This story leans heavily on its main trio – Mairwen, a young witch coming from a long-line of Grace witches; Rhun, a beloved of the town and the expected next saint of Three Graces; and Arthur, the outcast. All three, though they all have their stories to tell, are so closely intertwined, so unapologetically complicated. Together they challenge their town’s tradition and force their people to look and examine their way of life, and I just couldn’t help but root for them to succeed.
At the beginning of this story, I thought the three will star in another love triangle – Mairwen is in love with Rhun who is in love with Arthur who is in love with Mairwen – but as the story progressed, the lines between the three began to blur and develop into a polyamorous relationship. This is not something I’d normally read, but Tessa Graton wrote Mairwen’s, Rhun’s and Arthur’s love for each other with much sensitivity and sincerity, and made it an integral part of her narrative without being a distraction.
The writing, oh goodness, the writing is another thing I loved about this book. Strange Grace has this fairy tale quality to it, though definitely not the type you see in Disney movies. Graton’s writing was so gorgeous and vivid that it just drew me into this dark, isolated small town she created. She revealed pieces of the story bit by bit as the characters themselves peel away the layers of secrets about their town. It may move a bit slow at first but, trust me, it only served to highlight the story even more.
Strange Grace is a one-of-a-kind book. I definitely recommend this to everyone, especially to readers who love dark fantasies. This is a perfect read for Fall.
🍂 🍂 🍂 🍂 🍂
About the Author:
TESSA GRATON is the Associate Director of Madcap Retreats and the author of the Blood Journals Series and Gods of New Asgard Series, co-author of YA writing books The Curiosities and The Anatomy of Curiosity, as well as dozens of short stories available in anthologies and on merryfates.com. Though she’s lived all over the world, she’s finally returned to her prairie roots in Kansas with her wife. Her current projects include Tremontaineat Serial Box Publishing, YA Fantasy Strange Grace coming in 2018, and her adult fantasy debut, The Queens of Innis Lear, from Tor March 27, 2018.