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The Grace Year by Kim Ligett

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The Grace Year by Kim Liggett
Published in: 2019
Reviewed by: Book Worm
Rating: [★★★]

This book is being compared to lots of other dystopian fiction (Netgalley = The Handmaid’s Tale & Lord of the Flies; Goodreads = The Handmaid’s Tale & The Power) but which comparison suits it best and which comparison do I feel they missed?

This ARC was provided by Penguin Random House UK (via NetGalley) in exchange for an honest review.

Synopsis from Netgalley: The resistance starts here…

No one speaks of the grace year.
It’s forbidden.
We’re told we have the power to lure grown men from their beds, make boys lose their minds, and drive the wives mad with jealousy. That’s why we’re banished for our sixteenth year, to release our magic into the wild before we’re allowed to return to civilization.
But I don’t feel powerful.
I don’t feel magical.

Tierney James lives in an isolated village where girls are banished at sixteen to the northern forest to brave the wilderness – and each other – for a year. They must rid themselves of their dangerous magic before returning purified and ready to marry – if they’re lucky.

It is forbidden to speak of the grace year, but even so every girl knows that the coming year will change them – if they survive it…

Book Worm’s Thoughts: OK so lets get the comparisons out of the way first. The Handmaid’s Tale – no I don’t think this is justified I can see why it has been put out there but for me this is more The Testaments due to the YA vibe running through the story. The Lord of the Flies – yes this is spot on it is the book I was thinking of while reading. The Power – another no the circumstances are completely different and the power is in the wrong hands. The Hunger Games – I can’t believe this comparison isn’t out there already. Tierney is a bad ass, she has an unsupportive mother, younger sisters she is protecting and she spends her time with a local boy in the woods I mean come on does that not scream Katniss Everdeen.

Now that is out of the way on to the book itself. This was a solid 3 stars.

I love the way the sense of dread is built up from the first page, the characters don’t know what the Grace Year will involve they only know it will be bad, that there are all kinds of risks for them to face and that the most dangerous of these is each other. Being a girl myself I know how cruel girls can be and that added to the uneasy atmosphere how far will the girls take things. The bullying and ostracization were enough to put me on edge and to make me dread what would happen next.

I liked Tierney enough to care about what would happen to her but with a few exceptions the other characters felt a bit flat like they were just there to add to the body count.

The world building worked for me and I really want to learn more about the County and how they have ended up with their style of society, it would also be interesting to know where in the world the County is and what is actually in the land away from the settlement. I am intrigued by their economy especially the under counter trading and the kinds of commerce we encounter in the narrative.

I am not going to give away any spoilers however based on the ending I am expecting there to be more books coming soon. I am also hoping if there are more books they will answer some of the questions that remained unexplained at the end of this book.

Who would like this? If you are a fan of feminist dystopian fiction this is a good addition to the stable.

We want to hear from you! Have you read this book? What did you think? 

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