*Review copied received from author in exchange for an honest review.*
Graced and I had a rocky start. The transition of changing POVs felt off and rea*Review copied received from author in exchange for an honest review.*
Graced and I had a rocky start. The transition of changing POVs felt off and really frequent. With multiple points of views from first person that can happen, and at times I thought the timeline was just a smidge off. It didn't help that when I finally started to really sink into the story Elle and Clay were laying heavy on the paranormal romance tropes. Like Clay was in lust and her smell was soooooo good, but a girl with that bad ass of an attitude is too much work! Blah-blah, instalove/lust. It was silly. Thankfully the real meat of the story doesn't solely depend on them as a couple, though it does enough development later that it didn't bother me too much and I could actually see them become a reluctant item towards the end.
No. The real awesome-tacular thing about Graced was the other characters telling the story. Namely Dante!!! Oh my gosh! Dante. He's clearly evil at the beginning. He's the bad guy, but soon we realize that mentally he's a little off. An eccentric? Maybe. Or maybe he's just had evil parents and he just needed real people to make him more “human”. Dante was the perfect intro into why vampires are evil. Soon though he entered the realm of “grey”. More importantly an anti-hero. He does bad shit, but I love him. He's complex.
Even more complex is his romance in the book! Which made up for the other character's instalove. No really. The build up and humor of Dante developing emotions and feelings is epic.
In fact, the character development and story was so engaging as Graced continued on. Pillar really found her footing as the story kept going and I haven't been this engaged in a new Urban Fantasy book in ages. The true part is that all the grey areas have the characters meeting their “enemies” and finding a common ground. Some of the dialogue is hilarious! Especially as Dante does something despicable to Elle, but she totally ends up liking him. (Don't worry Elle, he's like Lokey. You should hate him, but you just can't.) I could go over each character, but I won't.
I also loved the idea of how Elle is protecting her kid sister. That she would do anything for her. The real villain actually ended up being Elle's grandmother. Who on occasion gave me goosebumps. It's also an intriguing concept of the Graced being hidden and that some of their powers are mentally intrusive. Those are scary powers, scarier to me then vampires or werewolves. At least they're up front monsters.
Oh, and the world! It's dystopian if you want to get down to it, or High Fantasy-ish. Basically there was a peak in technology, a great war among the races, and then boom they lost things. There's some technology, but most of it was lost. I like the prejudices and the minor details that Pillar has put in to make her world stand out. Very refreshing and I loved the history and look forward to seeing more of it outside of the current city that most of the story takes place in.
The truth is that Graced only missed being on my Shera's Top 10 Books of 2016 by a hair. Let me tell you I debated and debated. The anticipation of book 2 though, made it onto my Top 10 Anticipated Adult Books of 2017 list though! The characters are totally awesome! The nuances to them as Graced built up was brilliant! At times the dialogue was so clever I felt like I needed to give author Amanda Pillar a gold star of achievement! Even with a rough start it's hard to resist the addictiveness of Graced, and then it gets so good you forget everything else. If you've been looking for a new Urban Fantasy series—and are leery about self pub/indie pub—Graced is a pretty safe bet. It's been well edited. Besides a great story and I can't spam—err, recommend—it enough!
Content Warning: Homosexual themes, some sex scenes (not too crazy), and of course sexual humor! Murder and some human right issues. Some of the leads do bad things.