Told in spare, powerful prose by acclaimed author Elizabeth Scott, this tale of a dystopian near future will haunt readers long after they’ve reached the final page.
This is not the first novel I've read by Elizabeth Scott so I knew what is coming,or at least I though I did. Her writing just blew my mind(pun intended)in Grace. It was so much deeper then I thought it would be. The plot was less important. So the strength of this novel comes from characters;their internal beliefs,hopes and dreams. I feel like I could read about Grace just riding on a train forever.
The only thing that was a little bit confusing is that Grace is a angel but she looks like everyone else. Maybe this book could go without angels.
But,all in all,very,very good.
For the first few chapters of Grace, I was completely confused. Told in flashbacks and memories, Grace is not linear by any stretch of the term, and it was only as Grace remembered various things from her childhood, her time as an Angel, or her duties of belonging to Liam, that bits and pieces about her world fell in to place. It took me ages to realize that Grace was not working for Keran Berj as a suicide bomber and that as a multicultured being, she was only kept alive because of her usefulness to the People. So much in Grace is alluded to, instead of being spelt out, that I missed things and they only made sense later when they were alluded to again. While this style of writing can work, paired with such spare prose, it sometimes became incoherent; I found myself eager for details that I knew I wasn’t going to get. But to be completely honest, I could have lived without further details if what I had been given had made any sense.
Unfortunately, paired with the shaky world-building was an abundance of plot holes. Having been brought up as an Angel, one who was raised and trained from a young age to be a suicide bomber, the only experience outside of the Hills that Grace had were the experiences necessary for her training. So how did she know about Chris, a man who worked to get people over the border and away from Keran Berj’s rule? If being multicultural was what allowed Grace to pass as one of Keran Berj’s subjects, why did the People of the Hills, those of a darker complexion, show such disgust for her mixed background? Without her slightly lighter colouring, she would have been spotted as a potential threat right away, and never have been given a chance to get so close to her target. And as part of her training, Grace was responsible for knowing all of Keran Berj’s ever-changing rules. But if she was so knowledgable about his laws, how did she not see the similarities between what he was preaching and what she was learning from the Rorys until Kerr pointed them out to her?
Grace herself fell quite flat for me. She read as being quite detached from her life, which made sense considering her life had never been hers to govern over.
"I didn’t fear the soldiers like they wanted because my body had never been my own. It was the People’s, always, and briefly belonged to Liam too. I never thought of it as something other than a vessel – an Angel is a messenger and nothing more."
But is also made it hard for me to empathize with her or her situation. I was never able to feel her fear or the tension on the train when the soliders were looking at their papers because Grace read almost like an out of body experience at times. Grace was aware that things were happening to her, and that she should be fearful, but she couldn’t bring herself to feel those emotions.
"I can’t see his face, but his fingers, captured in my hand, are shaking.
I wonder what it’s like to have violence be new and terrifying as I fall back asleep.
Even in my dreams, I can’t picture it."
She’s so hardened to the violence that permeates her life, that she’s no longer truly affected by it. It actually takes Kerr pointing out that she was responsible for the deaths of 34 civilians before she acknowledges her role in their murders, before she even stops to think that while she was watching the fire ignite and the flowers burn, people were dying from her bomb. It made it hard for me to care about her or her journey, since she seemed so…vacant.
So while Grace was successful at being an atmospheric read, casting me in a shroud of bleak despair while I read, it was unsuccessful at creating the world in which Grace lived and at making me care about Grace or her journey.