Strange Grace
Once, a witch made a pact with a devil. The legend says they loved each other, but can the story be trusted at all? Find out in this lush, atmospheric fantasy novel that entwines love, lies, and sacrifice.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 Details

TitleStrange Grace
Author
LanguageEnglish
ReleaseSep 18th, 2018
PublisherMargaret McElderry Books
Rating
GenreFantasy, Young Adult

Strange Grace Review

  • Melanie
    January 1, 1970
    ARC provided by the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. “I fell in love with the forest. And the forest loved me back. And so we traded hearts. Mine is here, larger and stronger than it could have been in the small cavern of my body” I’ve read over one-hundred books so far in 2018, and Strange Grace is easily my absolute favorite. And I anticipate that it will be my favorite book of 2018 come December 31st, too. What a masterpiece in every sense of the word. Literally per ARC provided by the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. “I fell in love with the forest. And the forest loved me back. And so we traded hearts. Mine is here, larger and stronger than it could have been in the small cavern of my body” I’ve read over one-hundred books so far in 2018, and Strange Grace is easily my absolute favorite. And I anticipate that it will be my favorite book of 2018 come December 31st, too. What a masterpiece in every sense of the word. Literally perfection. A true gift to the literary world. Friends, if you’re looking for a spooky book, with a dark fairy-tale vibe, that heavily talks about society's gender expectations, while being a love letter to gender fluidity, with the most heartwarming polyamorous relationship, look no further than this masterpiece. “The old god and the youngest Grace witch. The story says they loved each other, but can the story be trusted at all?” In Three Graces, no harm comes to anyone. Babies are born safe, and parents deliver in less pain. Crops are perfect and produce an abundance. Animals never get sick. People heal from cuts overnight and broken bones in a few days. This village is magical, and the community is able to thrive without fear, except for one thing. That one thing? Oh, the devil in the forest that surrounds the village. Long ago, there were three witches. And the youngest one fell in love with the devil in the village and chose to give him her heart. And together, they made a deal. Every seventh year, when the slaughter moon comes, and the red from the Bone Tree releases, the best boy from the village will run into the forest, willing to sacrifice his life to protect his village for another seven years. Except this year, the forest is requesting another boy, even though the village should be safe for another three years. The village has to come together and decide what to do. Should they sacrifice their newest best boy, in hopes that the devil that dwells in the forest will accept the offering? “He was bold and powerful, beautiful and dangerous, but he loved the first Grace witch, and it was from that love the bargain blossomed. This valley is made on love, little bird. Find love. Seek it, always. That is where our power resides.” We get to follow three characters, who all are tied to the sacrifices by just being born. We get to watch them deal with the safety of their village being removed, and we get to see how each reacts. And they are willing to rise up, they are ready to fight, but they are also so very willing to sacrifice. ➽ Mairwen - White, half witch (from her mother), half saint (from her father that was sacrificed while her mother was pregnant), but wholly called to the forest. The youngest witch, and maybe the most powerful. And shares her heart with two people, and one best friend, that make up her entire universe. “She is a piece of the wild forest: tangled vines of hair; beautiful dress torn and heavy at the hem with mud and water; insistent, dangerous eyes; lips parted; cheeks flushed. An ax loose in one hand like she’s the vengeful spirit in a terrible story.” ➽ Arthur - White, was raised as a girl, because his mother couldn’t bear the thought of him being sacrificed, but the secret came out. And Arthur has felt trapped between the two worlds ever since, while wishing people could understand that there is more than just two genders. Yet, Arthur feels the need to prove themself as the best boy in the village, not just for the rest of the men to see, but to save the true best boy. “Nobody can change who he is except for himself, not any saint ritual, not an ignorant, terrified town, not a night spent in the forest, not a dress or a kiss” ➽ Rhun - Black, and the boy that completes this beautiful triad. Good, pure, kind, caring, and truly, above all else, the best boy in the village. But his goodness made it so that he was always literally raised for the slaughter. “If love can protect anybody, it will protect Rhun Sayer.” And these three have completely captured my soul and I’ve never shipped or loved a fictional relationship more. This story is a masterpiece, the discussions are life changing, and the writing feels like it comes from some sort of higher-power and/or magical deity. I promise you all, this story is now embedded in my very DNA. If you could only pick up one book that I recommend in 2018, please have it be Strange Grace. Gender roles and the constructs that every society places on them is a constant theme in this book. Arthur’s character is so wonderful, and even though it was painful at times, was such a breath of fresh air to read about. We get to see Arthur feel ostracized from “girl things” but also never being able to fit in with the “boy things”, and we get to see Arthur realize how toxic that way of thinking truly is. “What hurt him was the rule change. Being forced out of girlhood into boyhood, as if it were only an either/ or, as if to make any other choice was unnatural.” And in general, the sexual representation is amazing. Like, everyone in this book is queer. Mairwen states attraction to different/no genders, obviously Rhun and Arthur are attracted to different/no genders, Arthur is (in my opinion) non-binary, Mairwen’s mom has a woman partner; this book has a whole lot of gay. And you all know how much the polyamorous rep meant to me, and how much I was living for it, while turning every page of this book. And I’m just going to pretend like they are all pansexual and go to sleep with a smile on my face each night. Thanks. “It’s fear. Not of the devil, but fear of change. Fear of doing anything different that might cause a ripple and bring it all down. Fear of a little boy in a dress, because he didn’t fit into the structure of town, the rules. There was never anything wrong with Arthur.” And this entire book is a love letter to found families everywhere. Mairwen, Rhun, and Arthur have created something so beautiful and their friendship is honestly goals. Unconditional love is always at the forefront of their relationship and of this story. And this entire book feels like a bright light that celebrates that the family you create and choose will always be superior than the once you are born into without any saying. Also, I haven’t talked about her yet, but Haf, Mairwen’s other best friend, is the sweetest soul in the book. I loved her. I’m happy the town believe in their misogynistic hearts that they had to sacrifice only their best boys, instead of their best human, because Haf is truly the best character in Three Graces. Like, I would totally sacrifice myself for her, Mairween, Rhun, and Arthur. Like, I’m walking into the forest now, because I love them all so much. Bye. “I love you,” [...] “Both of you, and all of you. Hold on to my heart and I’ll be fine.” And I honestly feel like, somehow, this forest crept into my home and crept into me. This was so spooky and so atmospheric, but I couldn’t put it down. No matter how scary or how dark it got; I was so completely addicted. Some of these passages left me feeling like I was on my own alter, deep in the forest, chest open, ribs cracked, leaving my heart bared for all to see. Yeah, that good. I don’t have words. I truly believe that sometimes you just completely connect with an author’s writing and it will wholeheartedly teleport you into that story. I read the anthology Three Sides of a Heart , and I fell so completely hard for Tessa Gratton’s writing. I always pick a favorite short story in anthologies, but normally it’s a hard choice, yet Tessa made that anthology’s pick so easy. And then I fell in love with another short story by her in All Out, and I knew I had to read a full-length book from this author. And friends, it was like picking a book up for the first and time and realize that power that books can hold. Tessa’s writing is on another tier all by itself, and I am still, days later, left in awe of it. If you like lyrical writing, with captivating stories that are completely transportive, you need to give Strange Grace a read. I promise, you won’t be disappointed. But this being said, I went into Strange Grace only expecting good writing and nothing more. But I can’t believe I found probably the best book of 2018. And this might be the best written book I’ve ever read in my entire life. I honestly had goosebumps while read at least 75% of this book. And even though this is a dark and spooky read, those goosebumps where completely from Tessa Gratton’s writing completely piercing my soul. “You can break it all, or remake it.” Overall, I recommend this with my heart and soul. Not only is this probably going to be my favorite book of 2018, it also has the best polyamorous relationship I’ve read ever. I’m not sure my heart has ever beat so fast, broken so painfully, or warmed so much, for any fictional relationship. The woods, the writing, the spell this book placed on me, it’s like nothing I’ve ever experience. Please, friend, pick this book up. Not only is it going to make the perfect autumnal read, it just feels like the book of my heart. Thank you so much, Tessa, for this once in a lifetime book that I’ll cherish forever. Blog | Instagram | Twitter | Tumblr | Youtube | Twitch The quotes above were taken from an ARC and are subject to change upon publication.Content and trigger warnings for animal death, bullying, trauma, grief, murder, torture, human sacrifice, abandonment, and just in general, this is a spooky book that I would for sure classify as horror. Please use caution, friends.Buddy read with Candance at Literary Dust, Lilly at Lair of Books, & Julie at Pages and Pens! ❤
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  • Elise (TheBookishActress)
    January 1, 1970
    “This valley is made on love, little bird. Find love. Seek it, always. That is where our power resides.” In the town of Three Graces, no one is ever injured or killed. To achieve this, the town must sacrifice a boy every seven years — but this year, the sacrifice comes early. Following an angry boy, a saint, and a witch, this book is a weird and magical journey. →the good stuff←I memed in this First of all, god, you guys, the body horror. The tone that feels like a blend of 1300s witchcraft a “This valley is made on love, little bird. Find love. Seek it, always. That is where our power resides.” In the town of Three Graces, no one is ever injured or killed. To achieve this, the town must sacrifice a boy every seven years — but this year, the sacrifice comes early. Following an angry boy, a saint, and a witch, this book is a weird and magical journey. →the good stuff←I memed in this First of all, god, you guys, the body horror. The tone that feels like a blend of 1300s witchcraft and modern-day horror movies. I absolutely adored how the creepiness of this situation was played up. I also adored the writing. I feel like this would be great for fans of The Raven Cycle, with its weird magical tone. Perhaps more importantly, the three leads are great.✔Arthur – constantly in gender questioning hell. retweets memes about mean costumers. is the mean costumer.✔Rhun – the nicest person in the whole fucking world and I love him. said something bitter once and Mair and Arthur both keep the receipts in their phone. not all men? you’re right. Rhun Sayer would never do this✔Mairwen – a witch. probably runs one of those your-fave-is-a-witch blogs. hates her emotions but hates terrible men more. proud thirsty bitchThe story focuses, in a big part, on the poly relationship between the three of them, and I really really liked that [although I did want more; I talked about this down below]. Also, an iconic queer trio; Rhun is black and bi/pan, Arthur is also bi/pan and probably nonbinary, Mair is also implied to be bi/pan. →the bad stuff←oh boy. The worldbuilding around homophobia was a bit confusing? So, this world comes off as non-homophobic… most of the time. There are several explicitly bi/pan side and main characters, including Arthur, Rhun, and Mairwen’s mother; both Mairwen and Haf read as sapphic; the narrative seemingly treats it as a very normalized thing. But this society also has incredibly strict gender roles and a lot of transphobia, and moreover, the characters react as if this world is at the very least transphobic. (view spoiler)[[There’s a very well-written scene near the beginning in which Rhun attempts to kiss Arthur, and Arthur pushes him away because he’s “not a girl” and seems confused that Rhun wants to kiss him anyway.] (hide spoiler)] As none of the characters seem to explicitly align themselves with queer identity in any way, and the world seemingly treats it as normal most of the time, it feels… idk, as if the author didn’t want a homophobic world, but didn’t know how to write a non-homophobic world? Which then reads like simple lack of acknowledgement.A major plot point of this story is that Arthur, who is AMAB, was forced to dress as a girl as a kid, and then it was realized that “he was a boy” via him stripping when he was about eight. He reads as being nonbinary, at least to me, but as this isn’t explicit text, it could very easily read as a book about a cis boy suffering from transphobia. I felt this was well handled for what it was, but… I don’t know.SPOILER ALERT: I really wish I had known going in that the only major sapphic relationship ends in death. The bury your gays trope, a trope I have discussed at length on my blog, is very prominent in both current literature and current television. And killing off one member of a happy relationship between women is the #1 iteration in current tv. So despite the fact that there’s a lot of queer rep in this story, this didn’t sit right with me at all.The main problem I had is the structure. Moreover, the first act of the story is really, really long, extending 40% into the book, and is framed like a buildup to a climax - but then we see nothing of the climax. There’s just a time-jump, and suddenly we’re past the forest. It’s an odd instance of a buildup with no release and it was frustrating.The plot, in general, goes a little all over the place? There are a couple instances of side characters having one pov chapter that doesn’t say very much, and then never having a pov chapter again. Several side plot threads seem like they go nowhere, or maybe they're not meant to be plot threads? Several very unnecessary and/or underutilized side characters. Oh, another thing is that all of the interesting stuff in this story is told in subtext, which means none of the characters really ever come to terms with their own problems or more importantly, the reality of their three-person relationship. There are literally multiple moments that go like this:✔Rhun: I kissed Arthur✔Mair: silence ft. barely any fucking internal monologue Like, I’m sorry, but where. are. these. characters. mentally. You can’t just tell me they’re all in love and have that be the end, I have to know how their actual dynamic works!! Three people being in love does not an actually healthy relationship make. And the moment where they discuss this, the release of tension, again, does not ever come.I will also fully admit to having the most emotions about Rhun and Arthur’s relationship. I really liked the dynamic between Rhun and Mairwen; however, they’re an established relationship, and I never really got a sense of tension between them? And I’m just going to be honest, the relationship between Mairwen and Arthur was half-assed. They talked, like, once.And as the relationship between the three characters really has no ending, I really struggled with the seemingly lacking connection between the plot and the characters. the most interesting elements of this novel feel pushed to the side by a plot I really struggled to care about. It’s a decent plot for a novel, don’t get me wrong, but when the main arc of the novel — the three of them forming a relationship — does not tie into the main plot at all, the book feels incoherent.So… overall, I guess you could say I had mixed feelings. Considering I just shouted for three pages on this google doc.✨Arc received from the publisher via Edelweiss for an honest review. [ releases: Sep 18th 2018.]Blog | Goodreads | Twitter | Instagram | Youtube
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  • Candace Robinson
    January 1, 1970
    This was a very interesting story and strange would be a great word to use, because strange things are awesome! My favorite kinds of stories involve forests, ones where there are things hidden within.I thought the author did a good job with the love between the three characters. It was a beautiful thing! Arthur was definitely my favorite, and my goodness did I feel for him. He was angry at times, and he had a right to be! He had a right to be confused, and I wanted to give him a great big hug.My This was a very interesting story and strange would be a great word to use, because strange things are awesome! My favorite kinds of stories involve forests, ones where there are things hidden within.I thought the author did a good job with the love between the three characters. It was a beautiful thing! Arthur was definitely my favorite, and my goodness did I feel for him. He was angry at times, and he had a right to be! He had a right to be confused, and I wanted to give him a great big hug.My favorite scenes were some within the forest, awesome world building with perfect description. It makes me want to venture there, but kind of not at the same time! Overall, a unique book that is sure to be a hit!
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  • Britt
    January 1, 1970
    Have you ever realized you were sitting reading with one hand covering your mouth?That’s how large parts of this book were for me. Strange Grace was such a beautiful, eerie, twisted, and compelling story. The haunting atmosphere of the Devil’s Forest with its whispering creatures, shadows over your shoulder, and echoing laughter of the devil will chill your bones while you read – while somehow still coming off as an inspiring story about love and sacrifice. A witch makes a deal with the devil to Have you ever realized you were sitting reading with one hand covering your mouth?That’s how large parts of this book were for me. Strange Grace was such a beautiful, eerie, twisted, and compelling story. The haunting atmosphere of the Devil’s Forest with its whispering creatures, shadows over your shoulder, and echoing laughter of the devil will chill your bones while you read – while somehow still coming off as an inspiring story about love and sacrifice. A witch makes a deal with the devil to ensure prosperity for their village (no illnesses, healthy crops, no untimely deaths) by agreeing that every 7 years, during the Slaughter Moon, the best boy in the village will be sacrificed into the Devil’s Forest. When things start to change in their village and the bargain appears to be falling apart, 3 friends change what is expected of their roles to try to not only save their village, but each other. Mairwen is the daughter of the current Grace witch. She is fierce, smart, proud, and loves with her whole heart. She is such a wonderful character to follow. Rhun is just one of the best people you will ever meet. He is the suspected next saint and has always accepted this. And Arthur is fierce and burns so brightly. I loved his character and seeing his side of the way he has grown up. Every aspect of the relationship between the three of them is so beautiful and well done. It drives so much of this story. A love triangle –sort of, but in the most beautiful, equal, loving, and healthy way. This book is exactly what I think of when I think “dark fantasy”. There were so many deliciously creepy visuals and the way Tessa Gratton set such a chilling atmosphere was eerie and captivating. It was beautifully written and is a book that will leave you thinking about it long after it’s over. There is also lovely LGBT representation and powerful self-discovery.And September could not be a more perfect release date for it. I will definitely be pre-ordering this one and waiting among the crisp fallen leaves with a cup of cider.*Thank you very much to Simon & Schuster via Edelweiss* for a new 2018 favorite!!
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  • destiny ☠ howling libraries
    January 1, 1970
    All it took was reading Tessa's short story in Three Sides of a Heart, I just want to read everything she writes, forever.
  • Roshani Chokshi
    January 1, 1970
    This book was so atmospherically wonderful. It felt like The Witch by way of Juliette Marillier. Don't miss this when it releases in September!
  • Julie Zantopoulos
    January 1, 1970
    In a town free of illness or bad fortune, a deal has been struck with the devil. Their easy living comes at a price, a saint who enters the woods every seven years, seldom to return. What happens in those woods is a mystery. We follow a trio of amazing characters united in their love for one another, Mairwen, a Grace witch; Rhun, the expected saint; and Arthur, a moody outcast who will each have a role to play as the devil demands a heart be sacrificed to the forest to fill the bargain. This boo In a town free of illness or bad fortune, a deal has been struck with the devil. Their easy living comes at a price, a saint who enters the woods every seven years, seldom to return. What happens in those woods is a mystery. We follow a trio of amazing characters united in their love for one another, Mairwen, a Grace witch; Rhun, the expected saint; and Arthur, a moody outcast who will each have a role to play as the devil demands a heart be sacrificed to the forest to fill the bargain. This book is EVERYTHING I wanted Uprooted and Sawkill Girls to be! This is the scary forest and the devil in the woods that everyone should fear. This book captures the spooky remote town and mob mentality vibe so well and those two things terrify me. The setting is rich, the writing is stunning, and the characters are phenomenal. I adore some of the side characters, too (Haf for life). "He chose the worst parts of boys, thinking they were the strongest when they were only the least girl." This town sacrifices strong boys and there's a discussion about toxic masculinity that I was living for! Arthur has some trauma in his childhood that has him acting overly rough and Mair calls him in it in beautiful quote worthy moments. There are strong women, brave women who feel called to action and don't back down and I adore that, also. Mair is brave and bold and she doesn't shy away from sexuality, power, or magic. She's freaking amazing! "If love can protect Rhun, if that's all she can do, she must not divide her heart!" Not only does Tessa deliver on the spooky setting but she also offers up an amazing relationship between Mair, Rhun, and Arthur that made me feel all the feels. We got a YA polyamorous relationship that is legit goals. Ruhn and Arthur are precious and Mair is so freaking strong and amazing with both of the boys. I legit couldn't love them more. My one complaint with this book is that there were predictable parts of the story, especially at the climax where I wished that Tessa would do something a bit more unexpected. Did she write the scenes and ending well, absolutely, but it didn't feel incredibly original. That said, this book is still stunning and I'll be grabbing myself a finished copy for sure and I 11/10 would recommend for a witchy/spooky or just highly atmospheric and diverse read.Trigger warnings for death, murder, graphic imagery of wounds/cuts, harm to animals (? kinda lol). It's a dark book, guys. Go in knowing it's about a devil and a creepy wood with a lot of psychological mind f**ks. It's hard to pinpoint exact triggers but just know that it's dark.
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  • Ashlee » Library In The Country
    January 1, 1970
    View review on my blog, Library in the CountryReview copy generously provided by the publisher via Edelweiss.Strange Grace was such a beautiful tale about love and sacrifice, with a wonderfully eerie and unsettling twist to it. This is the PERFECT Fall read and perfect if you're looking for something to sweep you up and cradle your heart.Many generations before Mairwen, Rhun and Arthur were born, their village of Three Graces made a bargain with the devil. Every seven years, the village will wil View review on my blog, Library in the CountryReview copy generously provided by the publisher via Edelweiss.Strange Grace was such a beautiful tale about love and sacrifice, with a wonderfully eerie and unsettling twist to it. This is the PERFECT Fall read and perfect if you're looking for something to sweep you up and cradle your heart.Many generations before Mairwen, Rhun and Arthur were born, their village of Three Graces made a bargain with the devil. Every seven years, the village will willingly sacrifice their best boy into the Devil's Forest. Only the sacrificed saints go into the forest, for it is full of otherworldly creatures, whispers that promise wicked and delightful things and if you look close enough you may see the shadow of the devil himself. It's been three years since the last boy went in, ten years since Rhun's cousin went in, seventeen years since Mairwen's father went in and almost two hundred years since the devil fell in love with a Grace witch. Nothing bad befalls Three Graces, except now. Something is wrong with the bargain and the Slaughter Moon has risen early.Bound by their love for each other, Mairwen, Rhun and Arthur set out to seek a way to fix the bargain, save their village and each other from the clutches of the devil. This book is certainly a dark fantasy, but it had so many inspiring moments - it constantly had me smiling and screaming "YASSSS!" for the triumphs of my favorite characters. Mairwen is smart, fierce as a wildcat and loves with no bounds. Rhun is a damn blessing, the perfect saint and you will adore everything he does. Arthur doesn't fit the mold he has made for himself, he burns brightly despite his longing to stand in the dark and all I wanted to do was force him into a hug (that he would certainly grimace over).This is absolutely a character driven story and you never know what these three characters will do next, but you'll support them every time. Also, love triangle? No, not exactly. There is a triangle but it isn't what you may expect and I LOVED it. There was really only one relationship to "ship" and let me tell you, it WORKED.I was so lost in the chilling atmosphere of this story, the depth of the characters, the mystery surrounding the bargain, and especially the devil himself. There are SO many amazing twists in this book, it will keep you turning the pages well past your bedtime.This book also has some lovely LGBT+ rep, including trans rep that never even made me think of it that way. It just fit the story so perfectly.Overall, after reading Strange Grace, I want to own and read everything Tessa Gratton has written. She has been on my radar for a few months now and this book was EVERYTHING I needed to decide I need to read more by her! Put this on your Fall reading list! This is definitely one of those ARCs I immediately wanted to pre-order as soon as I finished it.
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  • Meli
    January 1, 1970
    LO AMÉ.Es perfecto.Una de las prosas más hermosas, poéticas y mágicas que he leído. En serio, toda la magia de este libro, que es bien, bien primitiva y llena de poesía, viene de la mano de la narración.La historia es tremendamente interesante, y del romance mejor ni hablemos porque mi corazón no puede con tanto.Impecable.
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  • Fatma
    January 1, 1970
    Thanks so much to Simon and Schuster Canada for providing me with an eARC of this via NetGalley! Strange Grace has such a compelling, eerie premise: every seven years, a boy is sent into the Devil's Forest as a sacrifice to allow the village and its occupants to remain safe and prosperous for the next 7 years. Except, one day, this spell is inexplicably interrupted 3 years into the 7 year interval. THE MYSTERY. THE SUSPENSE. And I gotta admit, the first couple of chapters of this book were ver Thanks so much to Simon and Schuster Canada for providing me with an eARC of this via NetGalley! Strange Grace has such a compelling, eerie premise: every seven years, a boy is sent into the Devil's Forest as a sacrifice to allow the village and its occupants to remain safe and prosperous for the next 7 years. Except, one day, this spell is inexplicably interrupted 3 years into the 7 year interval. THE MYSTERY. THE SUSPENSE. And I gotta admit, the first couple of chapters of this book were very exciting. I wanted to find out what would happen and the air of mystery surrounding the whole thing was enticing. I also really appreciated the prominent role that diverse representation played in this story. There's great LGBTQ rep (it's hard to tell what the characters identify as since they don't explicitly use labels, but to me it seemed like the main characters were bi- or pansexual), gender identity rep (again, I can't tell for sure, but one of the main characters read to me as non-binary), and also one of the POV characters is black. Regardless, my initial interest in all of these things--the premise and the rep--waned and I was just left feeling more underwhelmed than anything. About halfway through the book I realized that I wasn't enjoying this story anymore. I think my issue with this is that the story feels very static. It has plenty of highs and lows, and yet they never really feel all that high or low. Consequently, neither the story nor its characters end up reading as dynamic. Also, something about the writing style made this quite hard to follow. I don't know if this was just me, but I had a lot of trouble visualizing scenes because the logistics were so hazy and the transitions very abrupt.Strange Grace wasn't a bad story, but the fact is, I didn't particularly enjoy it. I loved the outline of its story, but its characters and writing ultimately fell short for me.
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  • Lilly (Lair Of Books)
    January 1, 1970
    ARC provided by the publisher/Edelweiss in exchange for an honest reviewBuddy Read with Melanie @Meltotheany | Julie @Pages and Pens | Candace @ Literary Dust
  • Clephiro
    January 1, 1970
    This is a really hard book for me to review. I'm going to do my best, but it's a book I think you really need to experience for yourself.In the village of Three Graces, no one is sick. The village is perfect: crops never die, no one dies unnaturally, people heal from horrific injuries in just days. This is all achieved by a deal with the Devil of the forest made hundreds of years ago. In order to maintain that bargain, the village must send their best boy into the forest every seven years during This is a really hard book for me to review. I'm going to do my best, but it's a book I think you really need to experience for yourself.In the village of Three Graces, no one is sick. The village is perfect: crops never die, no one dies unnaturally, people heal from horrific injuries in just days. This is all achieved by a deal with the Devil of the forest made hundreds of years ago. In order to maintain that bargain, the village must send their best boy into the forest every seven years during the Slaughter Moon. That boy becomes a saint will run through the forest and if he can survive until morning, he may live. Most don't.Mairwen Grace is the daughter of the Grace witch and a saint. She can feel the forest in her, calling her into its' depths. She feels as though the forest itself is in her blood. Rhun Sayer is the younger brother of a saint, and has grown up knowing that he will be a saint himself. Arthur Couch is the son of a woman who wanted to protect him more than anything, and by doing so, made him an outcast.The story is told in fragments. Parts of it of the past, the present, and of the time that they spent in the forest that they cannot remember. The narration flows between characters and is not limited to the three main protagonists, but it adds to the overall fairytale-like atmosphere of the book. When I say fairytale, I don't mean the Disney adaptations, but the originals with monsters, murder and darkness. This is a dark book, and I don't say that lightly. It's not overtly violent, or have any scenes that are triggering, but it's heavy with atmosphere and there's a overall feeling of inevitability of the fates that you know are awaiting the characters.Tessa does something a bit different with the romance in this book. There seems to be love just about everywhere, and the relationships between Arthur, Marirwen and Rhun are no exception. They are complex and at times it comes off as a little too much, I think. It's definitely not going to be for everyone, but I think it was pretty well done overall.
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  • Leah
    January 1, 1970
    Do you ever read a book where the whole time your mouth kind of gapes open and your eyes are a little bigger than they should be because what dafuq did I just read? Tessa Gratton's Strange Grace is the definition of dark fantasy and a book that surprised me over and over again.This novel is an intense story wrapped up in just a whole lot of f**kery. The first half is a little slow, a little drawn out, building and building to the main event: the saint's run into the Devil's Forest. In this time, Do you ever read a book where the whole time your mouth kind of gapes open and your eyes are a little bigger than they should be because what dafuq did I just read? Tessa Gratton's Strange Grace is the definition of dark fantasy and a book that surprised me over and over again.This novel is an intense story wrapped up in just a whole lot of f**kery. The first half is a little slow, a little drawn out, building and building to the main event: the saint's run into the Devil's Forest. In this time, the backstories of each character are laid out, the history of the village and woods delightfully teased and embellished, and the emotions swirling around that big night bared on all levels. We get three POVs that give very different perspectives. Throughout this, I was riveted, reading on and on, unable to wait for that moment where we finally enter the cursed forests. It finally happens at about the halfway mark, and Gratton turns that sh*t on it's head. Not only do we NOT get to see the woods, but we are left with a huge helping of WHAT IS GOING ON as everyone else tries to figure out what happened. The events are slowly revealed through dark, twisted flashbacks that made this book a perfect five-star. I've been dying to read Tessa Gratton since I got to read a little bit of The Queens of Innis Lear, and I was so excited to get a copy of this (from Netgalley AND Edelweiss, thank you very much!) Simply put, Gratton's writing is awe-inspiring. It's beautiful, lush, vivid, lyrical, decadent ... I could go on and on and still not put my finger on the right word. The setting in this is so unbelievably haunting and atmospheric, the woods in particular. I'm currently plotting my own fantasy that centres on a forbidden forest, and I will be drawing a lot from this for inspiration. The vibe of these woods is incredible and almost tangible. One point in this book that stuck out so starkly to me is when we meet the devil. The way he is described, shape-shifting and deadly, is utterly gorgeous. I'll stop there. This is really just turning into a paragraph where I cram in as many adjectives as I can.And of course, I can't end without dipping into representation. There is a clear representation of LGBTQ in this novel. One character spent his formative years thinking he was a girl, so there is a lot of anger and baggage to unpack for him. Another is clearly into another boy, but can't do much as it's behaviour highly frowned upon in the village. I usually don't read books where the main characters are labelled as LGBTQ, only because it's not representation I'm looking for personally. I choose not to read that particular content, just like I'm not keen on contemporary novels or proper faerie stories. That said, I try to change my mind every once in a while and this was very well done. I found myself rooting for the characters in question to get their happy ending and booing those getting all up in their business, because it's certainly none of theirs.For the record, it took me five days to come up enough coherent thoughts to put together review. This book left me so stunned and speechless and I cannot express enough how much of a surprise this was. Nor can I wait to get my hands on more of Gratton's work.
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  • Nia •ShadesOfPaper•
    January 1, 1970
    You can find this review and others on my blog shades of paper “Every seven years their best boy is sent into the forest from sundown to sunrise, on the night of the Slaughter Moon. He will live or die on his own mettle, and for his sacrifice the devil blesses Three Witches.” I cannot tell you how excited I was of this upcoming release, because not only the premise sounded epic and totally right up my alley, but also the reviews I saw about it were very positive and amazing, so I had such high You can find this review and others on my blog shades of paper “Every seven years their best boy is sent into the forest from sundown to sunrise, on the night of the Slaughter Moon. He will live or die on his own mettle, and for his sacrifice the devil blesses Three Witches.” I cannot tell you how excited I was of this upcoming release, because not only the premise sounded epic and totally right up my alley, but also the reviews I saw about it were very positive and amazing, so I had such high hopes and I was expecting to adore it, and though when I think about it I’ve come to the conclusion that I enjoyed it, I found the journey of reading the actual book so tough and not as enjoyable as I hoped to.The main issue that I had with this book wasn’t related to the story itself, but more it was because of the format that I read it. I had an e-arc of Strange Grace, and there were some parts that either repeated words or chapters’ names, or there were some blank gaps in between conversations or descriptions, and though when I first started I didn’t really mind, as I kept reading the book I found myself struggling a lot to continue reading the novel because of said format and problems, so that had a lot to do with my lack of enjoyment regarding Strange Grace.The characters were okay. I had a love/hate relationship with them throughout the story, because even though they had such an incredible development from the beginning of the book, there were times were I didn’t connect with them as much as I wanted to, and that was because of their personalities. Something I adored seeing in a YA book was a polyamorous romance; I think that was so unique and well written and I loved the dynamics these three characters had, but it’s true that during some scenes they behaved a bit oddly and that didn’t make a lot of sense to me. “Someday, Arthur thinks as he stares with burning blue eyes at the forest. Someday he’ll run inside that forest and offer his heart to the devil.” Like I said before, the plot was actually very interesting and unique, but I struggle a lot with the pacing of the story. The beginning and first half of the book was pretty slow and it took me a while to really get into the book and feel captivated by the story, and the second half was quite rush in my opinion and there were so many things happening suddenly. I was a bit confused sometimes with everything that was going on.On a more positive note, I really loved the ending. Despite the second part being a bit fast, I have to say that the ending redeemed the story a bit for me. The revelations made and the dynamics between the characters were so good, and I was pretty surprised by how much I enjoyed it considering that I wasn’t the biggest fan of Strange Grace until then.I’ve been thinking about this novel ever since I finished it, and I’ve come to the conclusion that I’ll probably buy a finish copy and re-read it again, just to see if my opinion would change, because I know that when I think about Strange Grace I find elements that I loved, and I want to give it a second chance.I received an ARC of this book in exchange for an honest review. This doesn’t change my opinion whatsoever. All thoughts are my own.Actual rating: 2.5⭐️
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  • Aimee ♥ | Aimee, Always
    January 1, 1970
    i have a good feeling about this. we'll see if my hunch is right and that i end up loving it! *prays to the book gods*
  • Kath (Read Forevermore)
    January 1, 1970
    An arc of this book was sent to me by McElderry Books (Simon Teen) in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.Rating: 4 / 5— writingAn absolute masterpiece. Tessa Gratton’s writing is by far one of my favorites that I have ever read. It has a dark vibe with a magical tone. It was a bit slow for the first half of the book, and the ending half was a bit of a rushed mess, but the writing in general was pretty good. The story is told in fragments, with flashbacks to the p An arc of this book was sent to me by McElderry Books (Simon Teen) in exchange for an honest review. All thoughts and opinions are my own.Rating: 4 / 5— writingAn absolute masterpiece. Tessa Gratton’s writing is by far one of my favorites that I have ever read. It has a dark vibe with a magical tone. It was a bit slow for the first half of the book, and the ending half was a bit of a rushed mess, but the writing in general was pretty good. The story is told in fragments, with flashbacks to the past and transitions into the present, along with times they can’t remember. The story is told in narration from the three leading ones as well as the side ones. It’s a pretty dark book, nothing triggering just dark.— world building / plotAmazing world building and the descriptions made it easily imaginable. The plot was very interesting. Lots of twists and turns and creepiness. I had shivers down my spine with all the creepy visuals and eerie atmosphere. Lots of diverse representation and amazing story of self-discovery. This book also has a polyamorous romance, and I thought the author did a great job of developing it.— charactersThe leading characters were great. They were all different in their own ways, and ABSOLUTELY hilarious! And the diversity of these characters were great. Definitely lots of different representations. My main problem was that despite finding the characters great, they weren’t overly relatable, their personalities just didn’t click with me. But I really loved the side characters (because YES, side characters for the win!) and after a while, the main characters were too bad.
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  • Jackie
    January 1, 1970
    Every single thing I’ve ever wanted is in this book and I honestly don’t know what to do with my life now that I’ve finished it. “Strange Grace” tells the story of a village that knows no sickness, no famine, no pain all thanks to the bargain made 200 years ago between a witch and the devil and will remain as long as they keep sending their best son out into the forest every seven years with no promise of his return. This time the hunt has come early and with the gifts of their sacrifice witheri Every single thing I’ve ever wanted is in this book and I honestly don’t know what to do with my life now that I’ve finished it. “Strange Grace” tells the story of a village that knows no sickness, no famine, no pain all thanks to the bargain made 200 years ago between a witch and the devil and will remain as long as they keep sending their best son out into the forest every seven years with no promise of his return. This time the hunt has come early and with the gifts of their sacrifice withering away Arthur, Rhun and Mairwen must come together to chase the devil and save their town before it’s too late. I really have no idea where to begin with this book it’s so spectacular, it reads like a dark fairy tale twisted into something straight out of a nightmare where the price for happily ever after is blood and the balance between life and death is strung together by a spirited girl whose destiny is so much bigger than she realizes. The main trio in this book are so well done and this is the one and only love triangle I will support because these are three people who love each other so deeply both in the open and in secret but it’s that bond that carries the weight of this story because one can’t survive without the other two but they are all willing to give up their lives so the others don’t have to and I loved every single moment of it.There’s so much in their combined and separate histories that really helps to flesh out these characters and the struggles they’ve faced growing up knowing that when the time comes one of them might be chosen for the sacrifice and the acceptance or denial endured over the course of that time plays such an important role in their young adult lives and explains some of their behavior at the beginning but to see their growth over the course of the novel was incredible because when faced with death you really do discover exactly who you are. With a perfect blend of lore, magic, love and betrayal this book asks the question how far are you willing to go for the ones you love, and how much are you willing to sacrifice for happiness? **special thanks to the publishers and edelweiss for providing an arc in exchange for a fair and honest review!!**
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  • Alexandra
    January 1, 1970
    I received an e-ARC from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. Review can also be found on *Milky Way of Books*This scary, magical, amazing, detailed, dark, twisty and romantic book is worth every adaptation it can get! As I mentioned on Twitter: "Princess Mononoke meets the final story from Fantasia 2000 with a strange dark twist".Mair, Rhum, and Arthur live in the fictional village of Three Graces, where every seven years, their best boy must run into the forest...and survive the devil w I received an e-ARC from Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review. Review can also be found on *Milky Way of Books*This scary, magical, amazing, detailed, dark, twisty and romantic book is worth every adaptation it can get! As I mentioned on Twitter: "Princess Mononoke meets the final story from Fantasia 2000 with a strange dark twist".Mair, Rhum, and Arthur live in the fictional village of Three Graces, where every seven years, their best boy must run into the forest...and survive the devil who haunts it. In return, they get seven years of plentiful crops, and easy life and their Grace witches guard them. I enjoyed the multiple third POV, their growing emotions and I saw something here, regarding the relationships which you don't see it in a YA. I won't tell you...it's a spoiler! The magic of the book and the way Tessa describes it is lyric and detailed; some scenes made shiver from fear and awe and others made me swoon and root for everyone. While the book doesn't come out until September, do add it on your wishlist!
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  • Hannah (Ink and Myths)
    January 1, 1970
    🌸🌸🌸🌸🌸 (5.00/5.00)Strange Grace is one of the oddest books I‘ve ever read (and I read a lot of odd books) and I loved every word of it! It’s eerie and whimsical, definitely a very atmospheric read, and filled with beautiful writing and the most wonderful set of characters anyone could wish for. This was my first Tessa Gratton novel and I must say — I’m impressed. More than impressed: I‘m in awe. And my love for Mairwen and Rhun and Arthur, for Haf and all the others, is endless. This is a book ab 🌸🌸🌸🌸🌸 (5.00/5.00)Strange Grace is one of the oddest books I‘ve ever read (and I read a lot of odd books) and I loved every word of it! It’s eerie and whimsical, definitely a very atmospheric read, and filled with beautiful writing and the most wonderful set of characters anyone could wish for. This was my first Tessa Gratton novel and I must say — I’m impressed. More than impressed: I‘m in awe. And my love for Mairwen and Rhun and Arthur, for Haf and all the others, is endless. This is a book about love and friendship, about magic and sacrifices, and about so much more. I recommend it with my whole heart!
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  • Caidyn (SEMI-HIATUS; BW Reviews; he/him/his)
    January 1, 1970
    RTC 9/12!
  • Lindsay Bilgram
    January 1, 1970
    Once, a witch made a pact with a devil. The legend says they loved each other, but can the story be trusted at all?In Three Graces there is no illness, no tragedy, no bad fortune. The price for a perfect existence? Every 7 years when the Slaughter Moon rises, the best boy is anointed as the saint and sent to run into the Devil’s Forest where he will either die or emerge forever scarred. But this year the Slaughter Moon rises early, and when the Grace witch, the saint, and an outcast run into the Once, a witch made a pact with a devil. The legend says they loved each other, but can the story be trusted at all?In Three Graces there is no illness, no tragedy, no bad fortune. The price for a perfect existence? Every 7 years when the Slaughter Moon rises, the best boy is anointed as the saint and sent to run into the Devil’s Forest where he will either die or emerge forever scarred. But this year the Slaughter Moon rises early, and when the Grace witch, the saint, and an outcast run into the forest, what they learn will shake the very foundations of their small town. Strange Grace is incredibly atmospheric, lush, and dark. The writing is entrancing and will suck you right into the world. This haunting, rich tale of love, friendship, and sacrifice is perfect for fans of The Bear and the Nightingale and will leave you wondering the consequences of tradition and gender roles/identities. “He doesn’t know if he’s in love with her or if he wants to set her on fire.”There is so much I can say about this strange (pun intended) little book. I could talk about the captivating prose, the vivid descriptions, the chilling world Tessa Gratton created, or how she dismantles everything we think we know about identity, roles, and traditions, but the true core of this story is the relationship between Mairwen, Rhune, and Arthur. Witch. Saint. Outcast. These three have the most beautiful and heart wrenching polyamorous relationship. Each of these three characters are so incredibly unique, complex, well written, and experience tremendous growth and development. Mair, Rhune, and Arthur each have their own deep and complicated storylines that are braided masterfully together and leave the reader crying, smiling, in pain, and rooting for them. It was incredible to see such a powerful polyamorous relationship in YA. The representation as a whole in Strange Grace is astounding and is going to mean so much to so many readers across various communities.“She explored the forest and met the devil who resided there: she saw his form to be beautiful, as mysterious as the night, as elegant as reaching oaks, and dangerous enough to sink through her heart.”I am so thankful to have had the opportunity to read an ARC of Strange Grace. This spooky, fairytale-esque, lyrical book is unbelievably evocative in its themes and messages as well as its prose and characters. It’s a book that’s going to be so important to the reading community and those within it who don’t feel as though they’ve been represented in literature, and I’m so excited for it enter the world on September 18th. “The old god and the youngest Grace witch. The story says they loved each other, but can the story be trusted at all?”All quotes were taken from an ARC and are subject to change upon publication.
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  • Moira
    January 1, 1970
    *Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for providing a copy in exchange for a review. My opinions are honest and my own.I’ve had my eye on Strange Grace for months, so when I saw it was available to request on Netgalley, I had to request it. Well… at least I don’t have to preorder it anymore.The weird thing about this book is that despite not liking a single thing about it, I still want to give it 2 stars at the very least. And I skim read the last 35% of it to the point where skim reading is *Thank you to Netgalley and the publisher for providing a copy in exchange for a review. My opinions are honest and my own.I’ve had my eye on Strange Grace for months, so when I saw it was available to request on Netgalley, I had to request it. Well… at least I don’t have to preorder it anymore.The weird thing about this book is that despite not liking a single thing about it, I still want to give it 2 stars at the very least. And I skim read the last 35% of it to the point where skim reading is a very loose description of what I did.This is also the first instance where the formatting of the e-ARC was so frustrating that I’m mentioning it in my review. The kindle version was so hard to read that I had to switch to reading it on the Bluefire reader app. This would have been fine (albeit frustrating for updating Goodreads on my progress), but there are no chapters in this book, so you just have to scroll endlessly to find where you left off. There were also random incomplete sentences in red in the kindle version. The whole thing was a mess.I found the writing made me feel very detached from the story and the characters. The writing style is trying to be atmospheric, but it ended up causing me to stop reading to try and figure out if the metaphors used even remotely made sense. The two that stood out to me focused on sunsets. I won’t share the exact quotes because I read an uncorrected proof, but one of them was along the lines of ‘the air changed from pink to orange’, and it took me several reads of the sentence and about 20 extra minutes of confusion to figure out it was describing the setting of the sun. Feel free to let me know in the comments if I’m just dumb for not being able to figure this out in a normal amount of time.We also don’t really get a chance to get to know the characters. There is a lot of telling us about them doing stuff like walking and picking up grass, and having characters interpret the actions of other characters, but I know next to nothing about their personalities. The only things I know about the characters’ personalities is what other characters said when describing them. Sometimes that information conflicted, sometimes it didn’t, but either way I would have liked some proof that character X was actually as brave as people kept say they were.Strange Grace doesn’t really have a plot, and it’s not exactly character driven, so I’m not really sure what to call it. The ‘story’ was so dragged out that I lost interest about 25% of the way through. At 39% stuff was actually starting to happen, but I was already done with this book by that point. At 40% I was wondering why there was so much book left (turns out there really didn’t need to be). There was a point where while all of the exciting stuff was happening in the creepy forest, instead of us seeing it all happen in real time, we got to see nothing happen from the perspective of a character who added nothing to the story. This was so we could see all the action spread out in broken flashbacks throughout the rest of the book. This book would have made a great short story, but instead it’s a full-length novel.I already mentioned this, but there are no chapters. Instead, there are breaks with a picture of a tree, and then a bunch of short chunks from various different perspectives. Even in this book where almost nothing happens, there are perspectives included here that are entirely unnecessary to move forward with the nothing. Again, this book was very dragged-out.One thing I found strange was there was a lot of kissing seemingly for no reason. Rhun is smiling, so he kisses Aruthur. Mairwen is standing there, so Arthur kisses her. The devil is attacking, so Mairwen kisses him (multiple times). Rhun loves Mairwen, but not in that way, but also in that way, so he kisses her. Mairwen did the thing they were all going to do, and they’re all mad at her for it, so they kiss her. Is there a romance in this book? I couldn’t tell you. The characters throw the word love around a lot, along with the random kissing. Maybe I just missed something, but the random kissing was so frequent that I don’t think I did.I also had issues with Arthur in particular. The characters would be talking calmly, and he’d say something like ‘let’s set some people on fire’ (not an actual quote) out of nowhere, and the other characters would pretend it never happened. Like I get that the other characters have all said Arthur burns too hotly for Three Graces, but it still feels oddly out of character (despite me knowing next to nothing about him). Is he supposed to be edgy?Overall, I was very clearly not a fan of Strange Grace, earning it 1 star out of 5.You can read more of my reviews on my blog.
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  • Kristi Housman Confessions of a YA Reader
    January 1, 1970
    Tessa Gratton's writing is beautiful!If I'm being honest, this isn't my favorite type of book to read, but I really enjoyed it.  I don't want to get into too much of the story, but I'll talk about some of the stuff I really liked.I loved the relationship between Mair, Arthur, and Rhun.  Arthur was my favorite.  He loved Mair, Mair loved Rhun, and Rhun loved Arthur.  It was a bit odd, but they all made it work.   Their friendship and love for each other was so special.  I guess it was sort of a l Tessa Gratton's writing is beautiful!If I'm being honest, this isn't my favorite type of book to read, but I really enjoyed it.  I don't want to get into too much of the story, but I'll talk about some of the stuff I really liked.I loved the relationship between Mair, Arthur, and Rhun.  Arthur was my favorite.  He loved Mair, Mair loved Rhun, and Rhun loved Arthur.  It was a bit odd, but they all made it work.   Their friendship and love for each other was so special.  I guess it was sort of a love triangle, but not in the sense that anyone fought over it.  They kind of just understood that they were a trio.  The atmosphere was perfect.  The forest was super creepy and the writing was very descriptive.    I loved all the charms the witches made.Three Graces had made a bargain with the devil to keep their town safe from illness, weather, bad crops, etc.  Every seven years they sent one young man into the forest.  Very few ever made it out.  That was their sacrifice.  Three years earlier, the saint came back out missing his hand, but alive.  But something must have gone wrong.  The bargain wasn't holding up.  Mair knew Rhun would likely be the next saint, but she couldn't handle losing him.  She also wanted to understand what went wrong before sending anyone back in.  But her mother said they must continue the bargain.The three kids work together to try to fix things.  They find out that they have been lied to and find more lies before the end.  Mair has to find a way to keep everyone safe, including Rhun and Arthur.  This book's pacing is pretty slow and didn't have a ton of action.  While I enjoy reading these types of stories, I also know that it takes me a long time to get through them.  Because of the pacing, I gave this book 4 stars.  But the writing is definitely a 5.  Thank you to Edelweiss and the publisher for giving me a copy to read early.  
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  • Stephanie Gillespie
    January 1, 1970
    See Full Review On My Blog: Between Folded Pages ARC provided by the publisher/Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.This book was everything I want in a book about witches! The writing style is beautiful and atmospheric. Strange Grace captures the feeling of being inside a dark forest perfectly along side a corrupt village. This is the perfect fall read, Three Graces is a small village, where no harm comes to the villagers. The people do not get sick, babies are born safe without complica See Full Review On My Blog: Between Folded Pages ARC provided by the publisher/Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.This book was everything I want in a book about witches! The writing style is beautiful and atmospheric. Strange Grace captures the feeling of being inside a dark forest perfectly along side a corrupt village. This is the perfect fall read, Three Graces is a small village, where no harm comes to the villagers. The people do not get sick, babies are born safe without complications and the crops prosper without wilting. The community is able to life without fear of the dangers out the outside world.All of this comes at a price, the devil lives in the forest, every seven years the people of Three Graces must send into the forest, there best boy as a sacrifice.A long time ago, there lived three witches all named grace, the youngest sister had gone into the forest and fell in love with the devil. She chose to give him her heart, making the bargain that now keeps the village safe.This year something has gone wrong with the bargain, it's only been three years since the last boy ran in the forest. The people have come together and realized they will have to make the sacrifice early in order to keep the bargain with the devil.This book follows three main characters. Mairwen, is the daughter of the current Grace witch. She was such a wonderful character, she is fierce,loyal, brave and loving. I loved her so much, she is a beautiful character and I really wished I could be her. Rhun,he is a black boy who is to be the next suspected saint. He is a wonderful person,kind and caring. Lastly there is Arthur, he was raised as a girl until he was old enough that the other children noticed he was different. His mother couldn't bear the thought of him being a saint and when he was discovered a boy she left the village.He feels the need to prove to the people that he is the best boy.The most wonderful thing about these three character's is there relationship with each other. I have never read a YA book with a polyamorous relationship and it was so well done. The representation was fantastic! These three love each other so deeply. Another character that I just adored was Mairwen best friend Haf, she is just the sweetest thing.What I couldn't get enough of was the prose, especially descriptions of the forest and the creatures within it.T he writing is so beautiful, and poetic while creating a haunting, dream like mood, following the dark events of the book.This is the first book I've read by this author and I was completely blown away. This was a great story about love and friendship. I highly recommend this book ,I gave it 5 Stars. Strange Grace release date is September 18, 2018.
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  • Jen
    January 1, 1970
    ARC provided by the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.Minor spoilers are below, and I'd suggest reading the synopsis before diving into my review.5/5 stars for Strange Grace! I was a little nervous going into this one, mainly because I DNF'd Queens of Innis Lear by Gratton. I enjoyed her writing but I think it was just the wrong time for me to be reading that book - I couldn't get into it. That being said, I had absolutely NO reason to be nervous. I adored Strange Grace fr ARC provided by the publisher via Edelweiss in exchange for an honest review.Minor spoilers are below, and I'd suggest reading the synopsis before diving into my review.5/5 stars for Strange Grace! I was a little nervous going into this one, mainly because I DNF'd Queens of Innis Lear by Gratton. I enjoyed her writing but I think it was just the wrong time for me to be reading that book - I couldn't get into it. That being said, I had absolutely NO reason to be nervous. I adored Strange Grace from start to finish, and flipped the last page hoping for more. This is one of my favorite reads so far of 2018.TRIGGER WARNINGS: human sacrifice, bullying, graphic violence, murder, torture. I'm also thinking there may be some animal death. Also, if you are easily scared, be aware that this is definitely a spooky book - read on Halloween.WHAT I LOVED:The writing. If you love lyrical writing, then Tessa Gratton is the author for you. Her writing is gorgeous every sense of the word. It was so easy to picture the setting and everything that was happening. Her descriptions of the devil and the forest were so magical and full of color! I felt completely transported to another world. I mean, look at this:“I fell in love with the forest. And the forest loved me back. And so we traded hearts. Mine is here, larger and stronger than it could have been in the small cavern of my body.”The main characters. Through the story you follow 3 best friends, and fall in love with each one of them.-Mairwen: the current youngest Grace witch. She's also the daughter of a previous saint, making her half grace, half saint. She also feels the forest calling her most strongly, and longs to go inside. She is fierce and fiery and brave, as well as strongly loyal to her home and everyone she loves.-Rhun: the current best boy. He is fully expected to be the next Saint, but isn't supposed to have to make his run for the next 4 years. He is heart-wrenchingly good and selfless, and loves bot Mair and Arthur above all else.-Arthur: was raised as a girl by his mom until he was 6, who was trying to protect him from having to run for the village. After it was discovered that Arthur was indeed a boy, he's felt in-between and out of place, full of anger and fire. He's also desperate to prove that he is the best boy, but his motivation is different from Rhun's. He's desperate to prove that nothing is wrong with him, and that he's the true 'best boy'.The REP. Guys, this book is so full of important things. Rhun is a POC, but that's only the beginning. There is so much gay in this book and I loved every second of it. You find out very quickly that Rhun loves Arthur, which Arthur fights hard out of fear of being seen as less than a man. Ultimately, Rhun and Arthur are attracted to both each other and Mair - this is such a beautiful polyamorous relationship, and possibly my favorite one I've ever read about. Arthur doesn't truly identify as either a boy or a girl, and makes pointed comments rebelling against the fact that the town only recognizes two genders. Mair's mother has a romantic relationship with her witch companion after Mair's father is sacrificed. Even Mair has moments of attraction to both, or no, gender. Everywhere you look, every type of love is ok. AND I LOVE THAT.I need to spend some more time on this polyamorous relationship, because it may have been my favorite part of the book. The coming of age of each of these three characters is so beautifully done that I fell in love with each one of them. I love how you get to watch them realize their own hearts and desires, and what they're willing to do to keep each other safe. I also love how you get to watch them fight against gender norms and the town's definition of love and relationships, and then as they come into their own, completely shove it all to the side and create their own 'rules'. These three are so strong and fierce in their own right, but shine so much more brightly together.The story! I kind of went into this blind but this story has so much CREEP. This is the ultimate halloween read if I ever saw one. The Devil and the forest are truly spooky, and the descriptions don't pull any punches. This is a dark dark read, and I felt completely transported into it. I couldn't put it down, but couldn't read it in the dark. Combined with such descriptive writing, this book had me on edge from start to finish.WHAT I DIDN'T: I only had a few minor complaints. 1, I kind of wanted more interaction between Mair and Arthur. I totally shipped Mair and Rhun, and I was 110% behind Rhun and Arthur, but could have done with a little bit more of this dynamic. And 2, while I feel like I got a lot of internal musing and thoughts from Rhun, sometimes I had no idea what Mair or Arthur were thinking, especially at important turning points in the book or in their relationship. I feel like the internal thoughts of the characters were a little underdeveloped, and the reader was left guessing.Guys, this may be my favorite read of 2018 so far. I urge you to pick up this book. The themes inside are so important, and the writing is so incredibly beautiful. I give this book ALL THE STARS and I have already preordered a finished copy.Strange Grace releases on September 18, and if you are going to take one recommendation from me this year, let it be this one.**any quotes are from an ARC and are subject to change at publication.
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  • Ninoshka
    January 1, 1970
    *This ARC was provided to me by Netgalley in exchange for an honest review*Strange Grace is a book about a town that made a deal with a devil. Right off the bat I thought the idea for this book was very unique and it was definitely something I wanted to get my hands on. When first starting this book I have to admit that I was sucked in by the atmosphere. The beginning was intense and I liked how dark and beautiful Three Graces sounded to be. Something about witches and saints and devils, I mean *This ARC was provided to me by Netgalley in exchange for an honest review*Strange Grace is a book about a town that made a deal with a devil. Right off the bat I thought the idea for this book was very unique and it was definitely something I wanted to get my hands on. When first starting this book I have to admit that I was sucked in by the atmosphere. The beginning was intense and I liked how dark and beautiful Three Graces sounded to be. Something about witches and saints and devils, I mean how could I possibly resist?I knew what I was in for when immediately we started following three different characters. Mair, Rhun, and Arthur grew up together and at first, I wasn’t a hundred percent sure how I felt about them. I really hoped it wasn’t going to turn into a love triangle, so I was pleasantly surprised with how their story went. I wasn’t expecting the story to also follow other characters from time to time either. This book takes place over the course of just a couple of days really, but it certainly doesn’t feel that way at all. Starting off this book, it was fast paced in my opinion, but then after a couple of chapters it almost mellowed out for me. There was so much happening, but yet it didn’t feel like the way I thought it would. There was plenty affecting these characters and this town and I thought I would be able to feel the panic and frenzy that clearly was happening to them.There were moments when I wasn’t entirely sure how I felt about the characters and then I realized why. This story was more like I was in the audience watching this happened, rather than being apart of the story myself. Which there was nothing wrong with, it was just a completely different experience for me. Overall this definitely was something different and unique and I’m glad I was able to get my hands on it.
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  • Amy
    January 1, 1970
    Many thanks to Edelweiss Plus and the publisher for providing me with an eARC of this title for review. All opinions are my own.Actual rating: 4.5/5 Stars. I really, really liked this take on dark fantasy. It reminded me, at times, of the original fairy tales, the ones with dark lessons and real monsters, and gruesome lessons for children. Because while the people of Three Graces valley are content with their deal with the devil-every 7 years, during the Slaughter Moon, one of their best and mos Many thanks to Edelweiss Plus and the publisher for providing me with an eARC of this title for review. All opinions are my own.Actual rating: 4.5/5 Stars. I really, really liked this take on dark fantasy. It reminded me, at times, of the original fairy tales, the ones with dark lessons and real monsters, and gruesome lessons for children. Because while the people of Three Graces valley are content with their deal with the devil-every 7 years, during the Slaughter Moon, one of their best and most promising boys must try to survive a night in the Devil's Forest-which promises them safety, security, and an eden-like existence. There is no disease. The crops are plentiful. The animals thrive. And death comes at the end of a long life well-lived. Of course, there must be more to the trade, but no one knows what and they don't want to know. Because they are safe. Mairwen Grace is the daughter of a witch and a saint. Her father was the 25th boy to run into the forest and never returned. Her mother is one of a long line of Grace witches, stretching back to the original Grace who made the deal with the devil when she fell in love with him and gave him her heart. Mairwen hears the forest calling to her, and she wants to go in.Rhun Sayer is destined to be the saint. He has always known this, just as he knows that it is worth it to protect this place and these people he loves. And he does love someone, very much, but it's something that he feels he must keep hidden, for now.Arthur Couch feels like an outsider. His mother raised him as a girl until he was 7, in the hopes of protecting him from the fate of being a saint. Now, he tries everything he can to be manly, and strong. But really, he's just afraid of the parts of himself that are other and in-between.But the Grace witches know that the "in-between" is where the magic is. Neither life, nor death, but both. So when the Slaughter Moon comes back after 3 years, instead of 7, and animals and people start getting sick, the decision must be made to have another Saint run. But this time, they're going to bring something back with them out of the forest. And everything will have to change.Highly recommend. This was full of danger, and darkness, and magic, and the devil himself. It was deliciously creepy and beautifully written.
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  • Kirstin (gryffindorkwinchester)
    January 1, 1970
    The perfect October read!! I loved the premise and the world building! The characters were surprisingly diverse and complex and the story itself really challenged gender/sexuality norms and expectations. The narration hops between protagonists and timelines, which I felt really added to the story! This creepy read really makes you feel the “The Clock Is Ticking” vibes as you read, and I couldn’t wait to get to the end. Strange Grace feels a lot like a dark fairytale and I definitely suggest this The perfect October read!! I loved the premise and the world building! The characters were surprisingly diverse and complex and the story itself really challenged gender/sexuality norms and expectations. The narration hops between protagonists and timelines, which I felt really added to the story! This creepy read really makes you feel the “The Clock Is Ticking” vibes as you read, and I couldn’t wait to get to the end. Strange Grace feels a lot like a dark fairytale and I definitely suggest this to anyone looking for a spooky Halloween book this fall. I will certainly be getting my hands on the finished copy when it is published, so that I can reread this closer to Halloween.
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  • Lilly (Lair Of Books)
    January 1, 1970
    ARC provided by Simon Pulse in exchange for an honest reviewEverything about this book! the cover, blurb, and mention of a witch! be still my <3! Thank you Simon Pulse! So ready for this dark fantasy *evil grin*
  • Izzy
    January 1, 1970
    The Queens of Innis Lear is one of my favorite reads of 2018 so HELL YEAH i'm excited for a new Tessa Gratton book!!
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