[BOOKS] ✴ The Grace Year ✻ Kim Liggett – Turboville.co.uk
Happy Sweet Sixteen Occasionally I like to really switch things up from my thrillers and read a frightening dystopian novel Though it s extremely rare if ever that I read something labeled YA But I was greatly rewarded for stepping outside my little comfort zone And bluntly put I WAS BLOWN AWAY I was locked in and spellbound from the opening page I read this one while on vacation.and all I wanted to do was get back to the room and keep reading It was just that good Tierney is entering her 16th year, a year known as The Grace Year. A time when all young women are sent away to an encampment where they go to release their magic After which, they return home to take their rightful place as wives or possibly face a bleak, uncertain future That s assuming they even come back at allThe looming question Is your worst fate lurking inside the gates or out Who can you trust Not your friends, not the guards, or the poachers To quote an old warning,Keep your friends close and your enemies closerAt this point, and most disturbing, can you really even trust yourself If you enjoy dystopian novels don t skip on this read Weeks laterstill can t stop reflecting on this book Definitely one of my favorite books for 2019.A buddy read with Susanne Thank you to NetGalley, St Martins Press and Kim Liggett for an ARC to read and review How do you review a book that you enjoyed reading immensely yet it has glaringly poor execution The plot is sooo good Welcome to a world where girls are banished to an isolated camp for their sixteenth year of life The Grace Year to vanquish the magic , or power, they hold over men, only to be married off or assigned duties as an indentured worker upon their return White ribbons for the young girls, red for the grace year girls, and black for the wives Innocence Blood Death This camp sounds like a great setup for some serious nightmarish drama, huh Well, we ll never know because very little of the storyline revolves around the day to day inner workings of the camp I found it difficult to get on board from the beginning because there is no background, no history to tell the reader how we got to this point in time Little to no character development The pacing is so off Months pass by with the turn of a page Months that I wanted to hear about The MC had so much potential She is painted to be a strongwillled forward thinking girl in a backwards world Yet at the camp she allows herself to be mercilessly bullied to the point of near death with no attempts at defending herself In the end she does little to advance the plight of the women I don t think I m giving anything away here when I ask why does EVERY YA book feature a romance There s no room for it in this storyline It s another eye rolling insta love that does not fit the girl power theme.This book has been compared to a marrying of Lord of the Flies and The Handmaid s Tale and I think that s a fair assessment in as far as the plot goes However, The Grace Year doesn t quite reach the level of tension and abject horror found in those stories This book lands flatly in the YA genre and teen girls are going to eat it up, thus I suspect it will be an instant bestseller upon release 5 Stars for entertainment3 Stars for execution You do the math.I received an ARC from NetGalley in exchange for an honest review. Four somebody hold the door please, because I m volunteer to get this bloody, scary, mind twisting and shouting, terrifying, not nail biter but whole arm biter, making you addict to the anxiety pills but you re going to need to taste your boundaries stars THE INGREDIENTS TO CREATE THIS GRUESOME, SMART, WTH I M READING, TAKE THIS AWAY, BUT ONCE YOU START YOU CANNOT DROP OUT BOOK Two cups of Handmaid s Tale One table spoon of Hunger Games Two pinches of Beach and Annihilation And one cup of Lord of the flies INSTRUCTIONS FOR CREATING THIS HEART THROBBING BOOKMixed them with anger, frustration, witchy spells, pure magic, violence And finally add some survival and combat skills, harshness, vulgarism, mercilessness and as soon as it gets cold, please serve it with feminism, equality, women friendship, liberation For the French version it will be served with fraternite, egalite, liberte It can be better pair with thriller, apocalyptic , dark, violent, nightmarish book fans Don t let pink cover fool you If you expect a soft chic lit about women s journey, please drop it before it gets glued to your hands If you re not ready for this book, as soon as you re gonna want to finish it and you re gonna start dreaming but I can assure you are not going to see a little girl in your dreams as like as our heroine did.My minority report for the characters Tierney James Mashup of Katniss Everdeen , German TV series Dark s parallel universe Martha the girl we saw at the last scene , Michonne from The Walking Dead Tough, survivor, problem solver, smart, pure feminist, idealist, skillful fighter.Ryker Avenger s Clint Barton Jeremy Renner s archer character meets Caprio s Revenant character, Hugh Glass at least Ryker doesn t raw liver Protector, loyal, real good fighter, healer He s mysterious, wounded, man of his word but he s also romantic guy who is ready to sacrifice himself for his love of his life, Tierney.Michael Noble, decent guy is about to start his prestigious job, reminds us of Mr Darcy Maybe it s not fair to talk about him at the third place Because we don t much see him on the book we see him at the beginning and the ending but he makes life changing moves and changes Tierney s life completely so I have to mention him WRITING Smart, fast paced, surprising, gripping.CHARACTERS All those girls could give you nightmares They re acting like incarnated Betty Davis and Joan Crawford They re pure evil, batshit crazy, violent and ruthless Nurse Ratched from One Flew Over Cuckoo s Nest could be considered as a Disney princess if I have to compare those girls with her ENDING A good one, at least there is no total massacre or elimination It was bloodless, bullet less , wound less Gives us hope and soothes our anxiety WHY I CUT THE ONE STAR It was chaotic, fast pacing thriller but as soon as I reach at the middle of the book, romance parts didn t suit so well but the horrifying and severe parts of the book And I m so pissed off that one of the worst villanelles didn t get what she deserved The love triangle was not necessary for me It doesn t count as triangle because two men never meet or cross with each other This book might have stayed as manifesto of women s uprising to decide their own destinies But still it is a good try, well crafted, capturing story and I enjoyed it Special thanks to the publisher and Netgalley for sending me ARC COPY exchange of my honest review 3.5 starsThe Grace Year refused to dissipate and hung like a poisonous vapor long after I finished it, pervading every corner of my room like a simmering toxin The feeling was a violent plunge encompassing revulsion and sorrow far beyond the personal a sick, scorching nausea at humanity s violence against itself since the dawn of time And though the ending was hopeful than grim, I felt my anger still brimming and unspent So what s this book about They call it the Grace Year using so innocuous a word to obscure so hideous a truth And no one talks about what happens during the Grace Year About the girls who return with blunt, brutal looks, a residue of old violence about them Their youth curdled into something ragged and despairing, as though life had been leached out of them in aspects impossible to repair.Tierney James had defined herself as a rebel all her life Had rejected the choices, the limits the world gave her But in Garner County, women s lives run straight as planks, however they try to twist There where women and girls are believed to harbor devilish magical powers that allow them to reach into men s minds and sway them, to bend their wills like smiths bend hot iron And because the rumors fell from men s lips, the town had good reason to lend it credence.When Tierney turns sixteen, it is her turn to embark on the Grace Year Banished to an isolated compound, the Grace Year Girls have to live on the sharp edge of starvation, half mad with their own circling, heartsick with the sameness of their days But worse than that even worse than the poachers prowling the edges of their prison, smelling their fear like sharks smell blood, ready to pounce and devour was a darkness creeping evilly upon the girls senses Here was a real line between life and death, and they might stand upon it for a time The fortunate ones don a veil, as red as the sins they re supposed to expunge, symbolizing a promise for marriage once the Grace Year is over The less fortunate ones have only a life of labor or worse waiting for them.If indeed any of them had even a single day to look forward to Maybe the reason no one speaks of the grace year is because of us How could the men live among us, lie with us, let us care for their children, knowing the horrors we inflict upon one another alone in the wilderness in the dark This is the premise that dramatically sets the stage for The Grace Year, and it s the stuff of nightmares The beginning of this book held my eyes rooted to the page The novel, however, soon changes gear and, for a while, is primarily involved with the dislocation of Tierney s life during the Grace Year both physical and emotional So submerged and embattled with fatigue and desperation and unable to shake off the sense of being watched, of being measured by eyes none of them could see, there rose a sensation that Tierney was undoing herself, unwinding herself thread by thread, rags and tatters falling away from her That s when her narrative voice becomes detached, sort of grayish and dullish and faraway seeming.This is echoed multitudinously by the prose rich passages of hallucinogenic accounts, and it makes for an uneasy read sometimes For a while, every turn of the page felt at least to me like pressing forward through an endless briar patch Fortunately, the author doesn t overextend herself awfully much, and tackling a few extra pages of such lavishly descriptive prose as filtered through Tierney s evocative voice is a meager price to pay for a such a bold, affecting read.There are plenty of enjoyable set pieces here, and I m genuinely in awe of how the author craftily spins moldy, malignant straw into warm and shimmering gold.Misogyny is, of course, the narrative s destructive force both deeply antiquated and too immediate to dismiss The story emphasizes the brittleness of a male dominated society that wears fear and ignorance the way most men wear their clothes and strives, relentlessly, to stiffen female individuality into silence, and underscores how corrosive to the soul it is grow up as a young woman saddled with generations of toxic, abusive patriarchal demons Kim is so skilled an author and the case she makes is so dramatically compelling and so horrifyingly substantiated that the book never seems overbearingly didactic.The author also makes no bones about the fact that the real monsters are not the women who are cruel to one another in order to fit into a male space, it s the men who use women to their benefit, pitting them into competition, turning them against each other with a bright, horrible relish to fight for a token role Internalized misogyny is an idea that runs deep in the veins of the novel and the author confronts it with brilliance and verve We hurt each other because it s the only way we re permitted to show our anger When our choices are taken from us, the fire builds within Sometimes I feel like we might burn down the world to cindery bits, with our love, our rage, and everything in between If I had to point out a few other quibbles, it would be that the emerging love story is not only handled unevenly overall in the book but I m not sure it s altogether convincing In fact, it winds up being window dressing than anything else, and the novel could have done without The unwieldy list of characters also doesn t meld well with the frenetic style there is not really enough time to spend with each of them and their characterization is so flimsy that they easily disappear into the cracks of the story.That said, The Grace Year is a pretty solid read so specific, and yet so universal wishlist blog twitter tumblr The Grace Year opens like a mix of The Hunger Games and The Handmaid s Tale, then shifts to a retelling of Lord of the Flies It s poised to be a feminist tale of sisterhood and equality, but the protagonist who s a complete bonehead starts her journey with only male friendship and later isolates herself with another male companion The way she professes her love to him is by willingly sacrificing her dream of freedom and sleeping with him Not only is this a book whose themes miss the mark, there are so many technical issues with the writing that it s impossible to enjoy.For a feminist retelling of Lord of the Flies that proves to be everything this book could have been, check out Wilder Girls by Rory Power. Do not be fooled by the excessively pink cover, this is not a sweet story and the characters do not care to be likeable and cherished by the reader It s a wild, wild world and so are the girls in it I have not read a YA dystopian in over a year, but this one reminded me why I used to actively seek out these types of stories Because they are messy and ugly and dramatic and despite all that, or maybe because of it, I am fascinated In Tierney s dystopian society, teenage girls are believed to have powers that are a danger to the men Every year, girls are either claimed by men to become wives or unclaimed and left to find work But before their status officially changes, they are sent as a group into the forest for a year to squash their unnatural powers Some of them return, others don t This is what happens to Tierney.This is a story of survival You d think it would be about women surviving men or the wild mainly, but actually, in this particular case, women need to survive one another Indeed, in a society where women are not allowed to be mad at men, the only people they can turn their anger against are other women It s a sad and disturbing thought But to make it disturbing, women are such possessions that there are poachers who kill power wielding girls in order to sell their parts to consumers who believe consuming these young girls will improve their health Cannibalism, ladies and gents I m not surprised Kim Liggett has written horror stories in the past after finishing in this book, and I m sure are to come, because this was terrifying It s unrealistic and yet very realistic at the same time I couldn t imagine this happening in our society, but I had no trouble visualizing everything the author described This is a story that I will not soon forget Blog Youtube Twitter Instagram Google Bloglovin Reviews on Goodreads are outrageously enthusiastic At least the ones I saw So when I received a Read Now , notice from Netgalley I thought what the heck Personally I m less enthusiastic about this book than the reviews I ve read yet I can understand the book s appeal This is a quick read A Young Adult dystopian novel It s been compared to Handmaid s Tale , and Lord of The Flies , and The Hunger Games Fair assessment Sixteen year old girls spend a year in the forest in order to rid themselves of magic before marriage or entering the work force Some interesting camp scenes Obstacles include keeping inner thoughts at bay.Hard work rebuilding rain barrels, clearing the trails, weaving rope are less an obstacle than one s own thoughts All the Women in Garner County have to wear their hair the same way, pulled back from the face, plaited down the back In doing so, the men believe, the women won t be able to hide anything from them a snide expression, a wandering eye, or a flash of magic White ribbons for the young girls, read for the grace year girls, and black for the wives Innocence Blood Death Tierney is the main character She is one of five girls born into her family the closest to the boy her dad never had We quickly learn, that Tierney is not a girlie girl She d rather work than be a wife Complexities of female relationships are at play.with a message that society will flourish if women band together Every woman that I know has experience how cruel other women can be to one another with petty jealousy envy cattiness and cruelty Women connections can break us to the core or they can fill our souls in ways no other type of relationship can Teen girls might absolutely love this book I felt a little old for it but the author opens up an emotional world showing ways to navigate confusion, anger, empty and guilty feelings ways to deal with our inner rebel and the value of women empowering women I guess I d conclude that this book is a combination of the fierce and tender taking us, the reader, on a daunting journey inviting us to look at the brutalities and beauty for both men and women Thank you Netgalley, St Martin s Press, and Kim Liggett NOW AVAILABLE this book loves mebut i only consider it a really good friend.i had been looking forward to reading this like crazy, but i didn t love it as much as everybuddy else, and that makes my readerheart sad the premise sounded outstanding speculative feminist fiction featuring a hyper patriarchal community in which the fear of female sexuality is so profound that sixteen year old girls are rounded up and exiled for a year in an outlying compound isolated from good decent folk while the potency of their sexual awakening is released harmlessly into the wilderness so they can then return purified, ready for the duties of marriage IF they have been chosen by an unmarried man, or for the working world if they have not no one who has not gone through the ordeal themselves knows what actually transpires during the grace year speaking of it is forbidden, but many girls die or do not return, giving even strength to the belief in the seeeeecret magical power of sexy teengirls through the eyes of reluctant and rebellious tierney james, we will learn all about what goes on behind those closed gates, when girls who have never been allowed freedom, agency, or any control over their lives whatsoever are thrown together and forced to survive a whole year without supervision or intervention, with uncivilized poachers ready to kill them if they stray into the woods, all while they are let us not forget being relentlessly purged of their sexual toxins exposed to the highly concentrated outpourings of so much dangerous female magic.spoiler alert contrary to what we all know about what happens when teengirls are left to their own devices, there are zero sexxy pillow fights i loved about 3 4 of this book it started out with great promise, intensifying suspense, mysterious details building the world of this sexually repressed, misogynistic community where troublesome wives can be gotten rid of in that old public execution y way for dubious reasons, all on a man s say so, thus freeing up his bed for some sweet tender teenbride, where marriage is the only salvation or protection for women unless of course you become troublesome , where women can be banished for minor infractions, or for the infractions of their sisters, fostering a climate of fear and competitive viciousness as social survival mechanism, pitting women against each other, and now let s toss a couple dozen adolescent girls who have been told they have magical powers into close, unmonitored, quarters and see what happens bring on survival of the cruelest.all of this was great the character dynamics were as fierce as i d expected, the spectrum of emerging personality traits allowed to develop in this self governed community felt authentic, the psychological stress and escalating tension was well handled and that reveal was top notch it reminded me of two other books that would spoil this book if i named them here and would spoil THOSE books if i put them in spoiler tags, so i ll just appreciate it on my own but if you want some name droppy readalikes, this is definitely Lord of the Flies meets The Handmaid s Tale meets The Crucible around the 3 4 mark, however, it lost me a bit there was a big chunk of story that revisited already covered ground without contributing anything new, there was a completely perfunctory love story one with necessary dramatic payoff, sure, but its development was bland, and the story seemed to lose its way i thought the ending was strong, if a little on the nose, and my overall post read impression is favorable, but that big disappointing chunk lost momentum for me, and it was hard to recover.also, speaking as someone who has never referred to a map in a book that included them, for the first time ever i really could have used one it was hard for me to picture this location, to understand where the safe places were w r t the compound, and how locations werearranged i read this as an arc, and it s possible the finished book will provide one for visualizationally challenged folks like me, but i struggled a little i liked it than i didn t, but some of it falls apart under scrutiny so, do not scrutinize take it as allegory, as symbolism, read chelsea and tatiana s excellent reviews, and i will round up my 3 1 2 stars because i did like so much of it come to my blog Look around, Kiersten says as she stares me dead in the eyes We are the only Gods here4 1 2 stars Wow This book was hard to put down And the ending made me really emotional.The Grace Year is such an exciting mix of horror, survival and the best of YA dystopias from 5 10 years back It really is like a darker, feminist version of The Hunger Games I had a really busy week, but I looked for every opportunity possible to sit down with this book and get sucked back into this ugly patriarchal world Nothing gets my blood pumping and the pages turning like a heavy dose of infuriating unfairness.This is one of those rare novels where I think the fictional world actually benefits from some vague world building There is something very sinister and claustrophobic about the tiny oppressive world of Garner County, a feeling of wrongness about it, a feeling that you never know quite what is lurking beyond its edges.In the county, girls are banished to the wilds during their sixteenth year their Grace Year in order to purge themselves of their dangerous magic This magic is said to be an ability to seduce men, lure them to sin and all manner of unsavory things Once out in the wild, the girls need to survive the elements, evade the poachers who are looking to harvest their body parts, and just not kill each other All are easier said than done, of course, and especially the latterThey can call it magic.I can call it madness.But one thing is certain.There is no grace hereYou can compare this to many other works The Hunger Games and Lord of the Flies being the most obvious but it has a unique flavour that s all it s own It s dark and gory It s very much a tale of survival against the odds But what is so odd about The Grace Year is that it s about women going wild, being jealous, viciously hurting each other, and yet it somehow manages to be a celebration of women and the ties between them Mothers and daughters Sisters Friends It s quite incredible how Liggett takes these women to their very worst so that we can eventually appreciate them at their best.I loved the whole eating cannibalism metaphor, too How patriarchy works because it forces women into a position where they are enemies, and they have to devour one another to get ahead Powerful, horrible, and all too true.The only downside is how the characters all seem to default to white The only girls whose physical appearances are described are pale and prone to blushing It s a shame in a book which is otherwise so pro woman and could easily have been remedied by describing characters with different skin colours.Blog Facebook Twitter Instagram Youtube A Speculative Thriller In The Vein Of The Handmaid S Tale And The Power Optioned By Universal And Elizabeth Banks To Be A Major Motion Picture SURVIVE THE YEAR.No One Speaks Of The Grace Year It S Forbidden.In Garner County, Girls Are Told They Have The Power To Lure Grown Men From Their Beds, To Drive Women Mad With Jealousy They Believe Their Very Skin Emits A Powerful Aphrodisiac, The Potent Essence Of Youth, Of A Girl On The Edge Of Womanhood That S Why They Re Banished For Their Sixteenth Year, To Release Their Magic Into The Wild So They Can Return Purified And Ready For Marriage But Not All Of Them Will Make It Home Alive.Sixteen Year Old Tierney James Dreams Of A Better Life A Society That Doesn T Pit Friend Against Friend Or Woman Against Woman, But As Her Own Grace Year Draws Near, She Quickly Realizes That It S Not Just The Brutal Elements They Must Fear It S Not Even The Poachers In The Woods, Men Who Are Waiting For A Chance To Grab One Of The Girls In Order To Make A Fortune On The Black Market Their Greatest Threat May Very Well Be Each Other.With Sharp Prose And Gritty Realism, The Grace Year Examines The Complex And Sometimes Twisted Relationships Between Girls, The Women They Eventually Become, And The Difficult Decisions They Make In Between.