Genre: YA Fantasy/Feminism
Recommended Age: 16+ (sexual references, trigger warnings for attempted rape, violence, gore)
Disclaimer: I received a free copy of this book from TheNovl in exchange for promotion and my honest review. Thank you so much!! All opinions are my own.
Synopsis: In a world where women have no rights, sisters Serina and Nomi Tessaro face two very different fates: one in the palace, the other in prison.
Serina has been groomed her whole life to become a Grace–someone to stand by the heir to the throne as a shining, subjugated example of the perfect woman. But when her headstrong and rebellious younger sister, Nomi, catches the heir’s eye, it’s Serina who takes the fall for the dangerous secret that Nomi has been hiding.
Now trapped in a life she never wanted, Nomi has only one way to save Serina: surrender to her role as a Grace until she can use her position to release her sister. This is easier said than done. A traitor walks the halls of the palace, and deception lurks in every corner. But Serina is running out of time, imprisoned on an island where she must fight to the death to survive and one wrong move could cost her everything.
Let’s start off this review by saying it’s hard to right a feminism novel. And the author succeeds in doing so if we go strictly by the definition. Feminist novels are supposed to establish and defend equal civil, political, economic, and social rights for women and the book did well at promoting these qualities. The book also serves as a warning at how fragile rights are for everyone (except maybe white males, but theoretically they could have their rights striped away too) and for people to not take their rights for granted nor for people to easily let people lord over you when they do not have a right to. While the book was not diverse enough in my opinion, I do see that some of the lessons of the novel could be for everyone. Other than that, the world building was fairly well made and the book was well written for the most part. I also thought the book had a pretty good twist at the end.
However, I personally don’t think this is my favorite feminist novel. I felt that the characters weren’t very well developed, the plot was kind of everywhere, and I felt that the twists were either predicable or not thought out well. I felt both of the main characters relied too much on their male love interests. While being a feminist novel doesn’t mean that the book can’t have romance, in my opinion I feel that the female characters should not be defined by their male counterparts. I felt the most development occurred when the girls were with their guys, and frankly I wanted to see the girls be without romantic interests. Without the males, the story really doesn’t go anywhere and they’re left just in the story without a plot… and that to me isn’t a feminist novel. I also want to say that there was an unnecessary love triangle and I felt that the YA trope just killed this novel for me.
Verdict: Feminism, but the main characters rely a whole lot on the males for help.