The beautiful writing in “The Grace Year” is about something shockingly dark. In Kim Liggett’s new novel, girls are a danger to men while they still have magic. When the girls are 16 years old, they are sent to an island for a year in order to rid themselves of their magic. Known as the grace year, horrors occur during this time that remain unspoken upon returning to the town, and that is only true for the girls that survive. The girls fight for their lives against many obstacles, including themselves, nature and poachers who would sell their body parts on the black market.
The setting and general society are definitely something out of a horror movie. Women are greatly oppressed by men, and this particular society believes that women’s lives should revolve around men. One of the biggest moments in a girl’s life is when a man chooses her to be his bride, for instance. I could not help but notice that this dystopian society is not that dissimilar from how societies in the real world used to be and sometimes still are. These common characteristics lend the book an even weirder, darker tone. I like how important flowers are to this society too, but I wish that the society in general had more development. The backstory behind the town, the outskirts of town and the importance of flowers would greatly add to the story.
The main character, Tierney, is extremely likable. She is smart, strong, a realist, and the way she views society is unique and refreshing compared to the other girls. The majority of the rest of the characters also have unique personalities, but occasionally some are bland. The middle of the book is slightly boring, too. Not much happens, and time passes too quickly to be realistic. All of the events in the book seem like they happen in a span of weeks, not a year.
“The Grace Year” is packed with morbid events from the very beginning. People die, people commit terrible acts to each other and conspiracies are uncovered. It may not be the happiest book out there, but it for sure is a worthwhile read.