The Grace Year by Kim Ligget

Posted 05/13/2021 by Charli in Book Reviews / 0 Comments

The Grace Year by Kim LiggetThe Grace Year by Kim Liggett
Published by St. Martin's Publishing Group on 10/08/2019
Genres: Dystopian, General, Girls & Women, Thrillers & Suspense, Young Adult Fiction
Pages: 416
Format: Hardcover
Source: Library
four-stars

The Instant New York Times Bestseller!A speculative thriller in the vein of The Handmaid’s Tale and The Power. Optioned by Universal and Elizabeth Banks to be a major motion picture!
“A visceral, darkly haunting fever dream of a novel and an absolute page-turner. Liggett’s deeply suspenseful book brilliantly explores the high cost of a misogynistic world that denies women power and does it with a heart-in-your-throat, action-driven story that’s equal parts horror-laden fairy tale, survival story, romance, and resistance manifesto. I couldn’t stop reading.” – Libba Bray, New York Times bestselling author
Survive the year.No one speaks of the grace year. It’s forbidden.
In Garner County, girls are told they have the power to lure grown men from their beds, to drive women mad with jealousy. They believe their very skin emits a powerful aphrodisiac, the potent essence of youth, of a girl on the edge of womanhood. That’s why they’re banished for their sixteenth year, to release their magic into the wild so they can return purified and ready for marriage. But not all of them will make it home alive.
Sixteen-year-old Tierney James dreams of a better life—a society that doesn’t pit friend against friend or woman against woman, but as her own grace year draws near, she quickly realizes that it’s not just the brutal elements they must fear. It’s not even the poachers in the woods, men who are waiting for a chance to grab one of the girls in order to make a fortune on the black market. Their greatest threat may very well be each other.
With sharp prose and gritty realism, The Grace Year examines the complex and sometimes twisted relationships between girls, the women they eventually become, and the difficult decisions they make in-between.

I’ve been meaning to read The Grace Year for quite a while now. I’d tried for it on NetGalley but had been declined. No surprise there. But then, there just seemed to always be other books I wanted to buy or check out of the library. So a couple weeks ago, I bit the bullet and checked it out of the library. Definitely not mad that I did.

The Story

I had a hard time deciding if I could actually call this book a dystopian novel or not. For one thing, most of the dystopian novels I read are set in a more modern era, usually after some sort of apocalyptic catastrophe has happened. The Grace Year seems to be set in a less modern time than most. But the ideas presented are definitely dystopian – and very misogynistic. But that’s actually kind of the point.

Leave it to men to decide that women possess some sort of magic that lures men into their beds. Like really? While I realize it is a central concept to the book, I found myself rolling my eyes every time the people of Garner County or the girls in their grace year mentioned the girls’ magic. I guess I’m a lot like Tierney, since she didn’t believe in any of that bull either.

The Characters

Tierney was a great main character. I loved seeing the story told from her point of view. I especially loved this part of the book:

I wonder what I’d see if I came across Tierney James today. And now I’m talking about myself in the third person.

Tierney James, The Grace Year, Winter, pg 180

I can imagine the sarcasm with which she thought it to herself.

I also enjoyed Ryker quite a bit. The fact that he was willing to sacrifice everything for someone he was taught to fear says a lot about his character.

The Ending

I have to admit, the ending kind of bugged me. I wasn’t expecting it to end the way it did. However – I would love to see a sequel because I really think we need a continuation of the story.

Final Thoughts

This book reminded me a lot of The Handmaid’s Tale. The plots are totally different, but the idea that women are little more than property. That women have one specific purpose and must be useful. It’s kind of why I want a sequel – we all know what happened to Gilead after The Handmaid’s Tale ended thanks to The Testaments. I want to know if Garner County gets taken down in a similar fashion. I know I’d like to read that story.

I gave this 4 stars. If you liked The Handmaid’s Tale, I think you’ll enjoy this.

four-stars