Eugenia (Genie In A Book)'s Reviews > State of Grace

State of Grace by Hilary Badger
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really liked it
bookshelves: 2014-release, arc

*This review also appears on the blog Genie In A Book*

Thank you to Hardie Grant Egmont for sending me a copy of this book in exchange for an honest review

These days we're all hearing about the dystopian novels that have been dominating the shelves. Offering something very different, Hilary Badger's YA debut subverts the genre to present a world which seems at first to be utopian in nature until some of its inhabitants begin to question everything they knew. 'State of Grace' is an intriguing, creepy and enticing read of a Wren's struggle to either remain in an artificial state of bliss or come back to her own reality where there are harsh truths to be learned. 

I start thinking about completion night, how if I show Dot I'm a good believer, then I might be one of her chosen ones. And obviously I want to be chosen. I want it more than anyone has wanted anything.

The first thing that I really loved about this novel was the great worldbuilding. In the beginning you're thrown into this modern variation of the 'Garden of Eden' where the elusive 'Dot' is treated as a god by the people in creation. There are the 'Books of Dot' that dictates how the teens in this world live, as well as things being described as 'dotly' or 'predotly' depending on whether they are seen as right or wrong. Reading this in some areas was reminiscent of Brave New World by Aldous Huxley regarding the subtle conditioning and unwavering belief that their world is a perfect one. People can 'hook up' with whoever they want and are given a purpose by picking the 'newfruit' on a daily basis. There was an underlying eerie tone though, which makes you realise that being 'dotly' doesn't necessarily mean happiness for all. What the author did so well was to explain all of this in a way that didn't detract from the story itself. Instead of having a possible information overload, I was immersed into the story and the setting which lies under the guise of a utopian state. 

All I  can say is, it's hard reshaping everything you believe. Even when you think you've done it, your old ideas have this habit of popping up to make you doubt yourself. 

The characters in 'State of Grace' are fascinatingly complex, especially considering the situation that they're in. We learn about Wren's inner turmoil over wanting to believe what she knows or defying the rules of her seemingly blissful imprisonment. Her friend Fern, the fanatic Gil and of course the enigmatic Blaze all have their own roles to play in the novel which shift over time. Wanting to find out what could possibly happen next to the characters when new twists came along made this book addictive and enjoyable, especially when it shifts focus to a version of our own society in the not too distant future. 


'State of Grace' is a riveting read that turns the dystopian craze on its head. I can honestly say it is a refreshing novel unlike anything I have read before in this genre. With a seemingly utopic premise, well developed characters and an enthralling plot; this is one you won't want to miss.
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Reading Progress

September 11, 2014 – Shelved
September 11, 2014 – Shelved as: to-read
September 11, 2014 – Shelved as: 2014-release
September 11, 2014 – Shelved as: arc
Started Reading
September 13, 2014 – Finished Reading

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