Sunday, February 27, 2011

Book Review: Grace by Elizabeth Scott

I asked readers pick a book for me to read and review during Dystopian February, and GRACE came out the winner!

GRACE is not necessarily a dystopian - in fact, when I spoke to the author about it last May, she confirmed that it wasn't written as a dystopian.  It's a story that could very well happen today in one of the many oppressive societies around the world. 

The basic premise is this: Grace has been raised to be a suicide bomber and to die showing despot Keran Berj that the People will never be ruled by him.  Once she is given her assignment however, she chooses to live instead and has to go on the run.  The story takes place mainly in a dilapidated train car with Grace sitting next to "her brother" Kerr, a young man also trying to escape.  During the train ride, Grace forms an uneasy bond with Kerr as they recall the horrors that brought them both to this point.

GRACE is a very dark story.  Both Grace and Kerr are killers, their minds warped by propaganda from both sides.  They've lived through sexual abuse, ostracism, starvation, cruelty. They've be programmed to live for others ideals, and they've both decided to be selfish, to live for themselves and to stay alive no matter the cost.

Scott limits her scope to these two broken souls and the barest of pertinent details.  It's an effective choice - by not diluting Grace's story, it hits harder.  Still, I did find myself wishing for a bit more (especially towards the end).  Similiar to LIVING DEAD GIRL (Scott's spare novel about a kidnap victim), GRACE is not going to appeal to the squeamish.  But those who don't shy away from the darker, deeper questions of the human condition will find much to think about and discuss here.



GRACE is available in hardcover.  Find out more about it at the author's website.

See index of all dystopian reviews on Presenting Lenore

21 comments:

bermudaonion said...

That sounds chilling because it could be true. I just love the cover too.

Lenore said...

That the darkness is eating away at her face is pretty creepy though...

Kulsuma said...

Sounds like a really good book. I'll have to read it soon.

Beth S. said...

Thanks for the review. I kind of passed on putting this book on my to-read list for a long time but your review gave me pause and made me reconsider. I think I might want to read it now.

Tina said...

I really liked Grace because of how it could represent reality, especially now with what's happening in the world.

Trisha said...

I find books like this simultaneously horrifying and appealing, so you have me very intrigued!

thereadingdate said...

I just read this one too after seeing it on your list of choices to read next.
I agree with your take on it. It is a dark read but definitely easier for me to take than Living Dead Girl.
Interesting to learn the author does not necessarily call it a dystopian. It is a chilling book in any case.

Staci said...

I may have to read this one..for some reason it's tugging at me!

Melina said...

Sounds Pretty Creeeepyyyy!! Probably wouldn't pick up soon!

Liviania said...

This one sounds too dark for me.

Stasia said...

I'm an Elizabeth Scott fan already. This book looks so intriguing -- a definite must-read.

Zibilee said...

This does sound like a rather potent book for a lot of reasons, and I would be interested in seeing how Scott handles all this. I do have a copy of Living Dead Girl as well, and have not yet had the heart to read it. I guess I am of the squeamish variety.

Cialina at Muggle-Born.net said...

Thanks for putting this under my radar. It sounds like a fabulous book. I will check it out soon! :)

Biblibio said...

What an interesting, disturbing premise. This really doesn't seem like a dystopia... it does sound plausibly contemporary (as horrifying a thought as that may be) and it also seems very good. I've always very much liked those stories that limit their narrative to the purely main characters. It gives off a truer, less falsely dramatic vibe.

Andi said...

Oooh, Elizabeth Scott. Was not a fan of Living Dead Girl, though I'm still tempted to read this one. I can see this one being a provocative choice for my children's lit class I teach online. Hmmmm.

Thanks for a great review!

The Erudite Ogre said...

This sounds like a compelling, chilling read. Thanks for the review!

Kailana said...

Sounds like a worthwhile read.

kay - Infinite Shelf said...

Living Dead Girl was both gripping and scary, but gave me one of the most powerful experience of reading. I'll give this a try for sure!

Swapna said...

I picked this book up but just couldn't get into it. I need to try again when I'm in the mood for a darker read!

Michelle said...

A really gripping read wasn't it? It was definitely dark but oh so realistic. Like Kathy said it's all the more chilling because it is so close to reality.

France said...

Grace was a really tough subject matter to read about. The thought of a young girl being raised to believe that her whole life and purpose is to be a herald of death. To think that it will bring her glory to go out and kill herself and others in a bomb explosion is difficult for me to process. I cringed almost the whole time I was reading this book.