Title: This Vicious Grace by Emily Thiede
Published by: Hodder & Stoughton
Publication date: 28th June 2022
Genre: Young Adult/Fantasy
Her gift can save . . . or it can kill.
Three weddings. Three funerals. Alessa’s gift from the gods is supposed to magnify a partner’s magic, not kill every suitor she touches.
Now, with only weeks left until a hungry swarm of demons devours everything on her island home, Alessa is running out of time to find a partner and stop the invasion. When a powerful priest convinces the faithful that killing Alessa is the island’s only hope, her own soldiers try to assassinate her.
Desperate to survive, Alessa hires Dante, a cynical outcast marked as a killer, to become her personal bodyguard. But as rebellion explodes outside the gates, Dante’s dark secrets may be the biggest betrayal. He holds the key to her survival and her heart, but is he the one person who can help her master her gift or destroy her once and for all?
Thank you to the publisher and NetGalley for providing me with a copy in exchange for an honest review!
This Vicious Grace has fantastic worldbuilding and characters you’ll immediately fall in love with. It’s an engrossing read from start to finish.
I really warmed to Alessa and felt so sorry for her. She’s been thrust into a life she didn’t ask for or want and there’s all this pressure on her to save everyone. She’s been forced to give up her family and basically live a life of solitude. And now, after killing her third husband, she feels even more isolated than ever and faces the anger of everyone as they no longer have faith in her to save them. It was heartbreaking seeing her so defeated and I hated how no one could see how lonely she was and how much she craved company. I loved her character development as she slowly gained more confidence in herself and her ability. I was really rooting for her to show everyone what she could do. Despite all the barriers she faces, she still comes out strong and I was in awe of her transformation by the end of the story.
I loved Dante too. He’s very guarded but unwavering in his role as Alessa’s bodyguard. I’m not normally one for romance, especially when it’s such a significant part of the story, but the relationship between Alessa and Dante was perfect. It started off with Alessa convincing him to take on the job of her bodyguard and not really knowing one another. However, as the story progresses they grow closer and learn more about each other. It was so good to see Alessa finally having a real friend and being able to trust someone. I can’t wait to read more about them in the sequel.
The worldbuilding was excellent. There’s a lot to take in but it doesn’t feel rushed at all. The beginning is so intriguing and grabs your attention right away. From there, you slowly learn more about this world and Alessa’s role in it. I did enjoy the worldbuilding, but the characters definitely won me over the most.
I’m going to be eagerly awaiting the sequel now after reading that ending! It was very suspenseful and has really left me wanting more. I can’t wait to see what happens next with Alessa and Dante!