Number of pages: 400
Number of times read (including the time before this review): 1
Rating (out of five stars): 1
Release Date: September 18th, 2018
*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.