Grace and Fury
By: Tracy Banghart
Published By: Little, Brown Books for Young Readers
Release Date: July 31, 2018
Series: Grace and Fury (#1)
Reading Level: Young Adult
Buy the Book: Amazon
Goodreads Summary: In a world where women have no rights, sisters Serina and Nomi Tessaro face two very different fates: one in the palace, the other in prison.
Serina has been groomed her whole life to become a Grace - someone to stand by the heir to the throne as a shining, subjugated example of the perfect woman. But when her headstrong and rebellious younger sister, Nomi, catches the heir's eye, it's Serina who takes the fall for the dangerous secret that Nomi has been hiding.
Now trapped in a life she never wanted, Nomi has only one way to save Serina: surrender to her role as a Grace until she can use her position to release her sister. This is easier said than done. A traitor walks the halls of the palace, and deception lurks in every corner. But Serina is running out of time, imprisoned on an island where she must fight to the death to survive and one wrong move could cost her everything.
First Thought After Finishing: Can I have the next book now please?
From just reading the synopsis, Grace and Fury seemed to have all the makings of a great fantasy book. Sisters, role reversal, royalty, secrets—I was hooked! And I ended up reading this book in one sitting because I needed to know what happened!
Serina has always been the model daughter—a submissive beauty, eager to please the prince and become a Grace. Her sister, Nomi, is just the opposite—opinionated, outspoken, and constantly pushing her limits. But once they arrive at the palace, a chance encounter with the prince ends up with Nomi being chosen as a Grace instead of Serina. And when Serina takes the fall for one of Nomi’s decisions, the sisters’ relationship is threatened forever. Both sisters are suddenly engaged in a world they never prepared for, and one mistake could be fatal. Can they survive and find their way back to each other?
As an only child, I’ve always loved stories about sisters. I loved the fact that Nomi and Serina were fiercely protective of each other, even when they didn’t see eye to eye. That’s the kind of sister or friend anyone would be lucky to have. In addition to the sister bond, I really enjoyed the Italianate setting. Traveling to Italy is on my bucket list, so I enjoyed the vicarious trip, even though it wasn’t truly Italy. Then there was the dual POV. The chapters alternate between Nomi and Serina, weaving two very different tales while maintaining the timeline. I was fascinated with both parts of the story but for different reasons.
Nomi is dealing with the secrets and balancing act that comes from palace life. She is determined to avoid the crown prince, but she finds his younger brother intriguing. Nomi walks a fine line of scheming and pretending, but I love the fact that she remains true to herself even when her fortune changes. Serina, on the other hand, has every reason to wallow in self-pity and misery, but she decides to fight back. Her character development is inspirational, and I can’t wait to see what else she does in the second book!
Although a bit predictable at times, the story definitely has potential. I’m looking forward to seeing how Nomi and Serina continue to grow! If you’re a fantasy fanatic, be sure to add this to your TBR pile!
Most Memorable Aspect: The bond of sisterhood and the dual POVs between Nomi and Serina.
Tracy Banghart grew up in rural Maryland and spent her summers on a remote island in northern Ontario. All of that isolation and lovely scenery gave her the time to read voraciously and the inspiration to write her own stories. Always a bit of a nomad, Tracy now travels the world Army-wife style with her husband, son, cat, and sweet pupper Scrabble. She wrote Grace and Fury while living in Hawaii.
I had the opportunity to ask Tracy a few questions! Learn more about the story and Tracy's writing habits below!
How would you describe Grace and Fury in five words?
Sisterhood. Bloodshed. Betrayal. Rebellion. Kissing.
Grace and Fury has a complex story and world. What was the inspiration for this story? Did you always plan dual POVs?
I love writing stories about girls finding their agency, especially when there are significant obstacles they have to overcome. I loved the idea of getting to see that process play out in different ways through two very different main characters.
It actually started out as a story with just one POV (and no sister!) but Nomi appeared and wouldn’t leave. And I’m so glad. I love that Serina and Nomi have very different perspectives and arcs in the story. Serina has to learn to be strong, and Nomi has to learn to play by the rules.
If choosing between Serina and Nomi, which sister would you be and why?
I think I relate to aspects of them both. Serina is the eldest—she’s responsible, protective of her little sister, and feels the weight of her family’s expectations. As the eldest sibling in my family, I felt a lot of that growing up. But I also wanted to rebel against those expectations and all of the ideas everyone else had for my life. Which is where my Nomi instincts kick in.
The Italian-inspired world made me want to plan a trip to Italy! What would your dream vacation be?
Ha! Probably back to Italy, to be honest. I haven’t been to Europe in a few years, and I would love to go back. Italy is one of my favorite places to visit.
If you could have dinner with any author(s), who would they be?
I recently had dinner with Dhonielle Clayton, Zoraida Córdova, and Mark Oshiro, and that pretty much blew my mind. They are amazing people and authors! I would love to share a meal with Victoria Schwab, who inspires me daily. And I’d love to have dinner with a struggling author, who hasn’t made it to publication yet. Just so I could say HANG IN THERE. Because this business is tough, and everyone’s journey is different. It can feel so daunting!
What is your writing process like? Do you have any habits or superstitions?
I used to be a pantser but have recently converted to writing outlines, and it’s still a weird feeling to do so much plotting in advance. But I do think it helps me stay on track. I don’t think I have any weird superstitions, but I do get weird about my documents and folders and playlists–I have to have everything organized a certain way, and I can’t start writing a new project unless I’ve got a title. Even if it’s a crappy placeholder title, I need SOMETHING or it doesn’t feel like a real thing.
What message do you hope that readers take away from your book?
Most of all, I hope they have fun reading it. That’s the most important thing! But if they do take anything away, I hope it’s that together, women can accomplish anything. That the pitting of one woman against another, the competition, is often a construct by the patriarchy to divide and conquer us. We get farther supporting each other than we do tearing each other down.
Is there anything you can tell us about the second book?
I wish I could say it’s all happiness and unicorns for my sisters in book 2, but that wouldn’t make for a very exciting sequel. There’s more blood, more heartache, and more badass women warriors fighting back. I’m very proud of it. I hope I do my sisters and the rest of the women of Viridia justice!
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