With an exciting synopsis that seemed to promise magic and a mysterious and powerful family of witches, “The Graces” by Laure Eve ultimately fails in its attempts to capture and engage the reader, but succeeds in irritating the reader with its dull, predictable characters and slow, boring plot (or lack thereof).
Perhaps the first thing I noticed upon reading “The Graces” was that it felt very familiar, like I had read it before. Then I realized I had back in 2008 only it was called “Twilight” and in comparison to “The Graces,” was far better and actually original.
“The Graces” takes place in an unnamed town that seems to be in a constant state of rain (Forks) and centers around the new kid, River (Bella). Like everyone else, River becomes obsessed with the rich, stunning and strange Grace family – Thalia, Fenrin and Summer (the Cullens).
The Graces quickly befriend River and, though they don’t do this with anyone else, invite her to their house where she meets their equally gorgeous parents (Carlisle and Esme, anyone?). Oh yeah, the whole family is also rumored to be a coven of witches (vampires).
Once I pushed past the fact that the story was littered with “Twilight” parallels and similarities, the dull and predictable characters seemed to stand in my way.
For the first half of the book, River only ever talks about how much she loves the Graces, which makes it difficult to take her seriously as a narrator. This greatly affects any and all attempts at deep and meaningful dialogue. Instead it made me roll my eyes and feel constant waves of second-hand embarrassment any time a character tried to have a deep conversation.
The Graces were no different in their predictability. They were each stereotyped early on in the book and while I expected them to be written to challenge that, they lived up to their stereotypes. Fenrin is the laid-back jock, Thalia is the shy hippie and Summer is the outspoken goth chick.
I expected a lot when it came to the Graces. Once River had her ‘in’ and started learning more about them, I expected the stereotypes to be just that and to instead be given complex characters.
I expected too much. The Graces ended up being just as dull and annoying as River.
On top of being a borderline fanfiction-retelling of “Twilight” and having unlikeable and predictable characters, there were a few other things that rubbed me the wrong way.
The first was River’s treatment of other females early on in the book – at one point she describes the appearance of a girl she doesn’t get along with as if that’s all we need to know to understand why they don’t get along.
The second was the lack of diverse characters. The only people of color that were pointed out as people of color were the girl that River doesn’t get along with and a guy whose character felt thrown in last minute.
Finally, the twist – that you can see from a hundred miles away, might I add – not only felt like it was also thrown in last minute, but it felt to me like queer-bait.
Overall, “The Graces” left me with a headache, $20 down the drain, four wasted hours of my weekend and a weirdly newfound appreciation for “Twilight.”