Saturday, 22 May 2010

Review - Grace / Elizabeth Scott

Grace was raised to be an Angel, a herald of death by suicide bomb. But she refuses to die for the cause, and now Grace is on the run, daring to dream of freedom. In search of a border she may never reach, she travels among malevolent soldiers on a decrepit train crawling through the desert. Accompanied by the mysterious Kerr, Grace struggles to be invisible, but the fear of discovery looms large as she recalls the history and events that delivered her uncertain fate. Goodreads.

Review - If Living Dead Girl rocked people's perceptions of Elizabeth Scott's writing then Grace will blow them up. It is different from anything else that she has published and demonstrates amazing growth and diversity as an author. Tense and political. Terse and exact. Scott sketches an image of a world where you are what you are told you will be. A life without choices and many sacrifices. A life without colour, without beauty, without connection and it is exceedingly grim. A minimal piece of writing, the reader's mind is constantly whirling as it processes new information and the actions of our protagonist and Kerr.

YA can often be put into two categories - amazing premise and expertly realised. Sometimes there is crossover but not usually. Grace walks that line like an acrobat as it quietly, subtlety, makes its way forward navigating fear, determination and ultimately hope. Grace presents a reality where society is fractured into those that blindly (and fearfully) follow Keran Berj and those that oppose his rule, those of The Hills. A world of tyranny, violence, suppression and fear where being an Angel is a great honour. An honour that Grace can't see through entirely so she runs. And this is where the story begins.

Grace isn't flashy. It is not glitzy or dimple cheeked. It is deliciously barren. A small novel, it's short chapters and at times even shorter sentences convey the trapped quality of this world and the tethers that bind. It is novels like Grace that challenge the notion that YA is fluff. There's no fluff here, only heat and oppression. Sparse, resolute and political, Scott has explored the notion of power, identity and sacrifice in a way that leaves you quiet. It creeps up on you. It is the study of a girl who straddles two world and is wanted by neither. In choosing herself, she chooses to fight for her freedom.

A beautifully realised introspective novel about life, death and the choices we make in between. The insular first person narration and few characters focus the story intently on the train ride and the steps that brought Grace and Kerr to that point. Revelations unwind like a slight breeze and wash over you as they may (or may not) get closer to escape. A wonderful and vastly different addition to the Elizabeth Scott collection and young adult literature.

A thought provoking exploration of the power of one.

Published: September 16 2010
Format: ARC, 208 pages
Publisher: Dutton
Source: author
Origin: USA

16 comments:

Shweta said...

Any idea how restless you have made me Adele ,by praising this book! The book won't be out for like months and you are tormenting Scott fans with this review LOL

I have to pre order this one . And this review was just fab.

Abby said...

I haven't gotten my copy yet, but I'm glad to know it's good! I don't know how Elizabeth Scott is so prolific... but I'm glad!

Nomes said...

I really can't wait for this book. I am a huge fan of anything Elizabeth Scott writes. Your review itself is quite moving ;) Her characters always resound with me -- and this one sounds truly remarkable.
Great review.

Mrs. DeRaps said...

I am cheering and clapping! I have wanted to hear that this is a great read. It's going to be perfect (I just know it) for a teen book club that I run. I need to write a grant to get copies NOW! Thanks for the review.

BrittLit said...

Thanks for the review. It is nice to know this will be as amazing as it sounds.

Chachic said...

Great review! It looks like an amazing book. I don't think I've ever read an Elizabeth Scott novel so I will be on the look out for this one.

Eleni @ La Femme Readers said...

Amazing review. Can't wait to read it!

Khy said...

Your review has made me want this even more! Is it September yet?

Lenore said...

Awesome! I was just telling a group of people last night that there should be more short novels. And I love that the premise and execution were equally good in your eyes.

Jenna said...

Great Review! Words can not describe how much I want this book in my life, and your review didn't help matters at all!

Sara said...

Yay! I'm so glad to hear it's good! I just read Living Dead Girl and I can now say that Elizabeth Scott is truly amazing. I'm dying to read this one now! Thanks for the awesome review :D

Robby said...

This book is going to shake the blogosphere. I can feel it now. I still need to read The Unwritten Rule. And once this is released, I will need to read this. I already do. Your review has only convinced me even more.
You're killing me. Thank you.

Michelle said...

Wonderful review! I am very much looking forward to this book. It sounds fantastic!

Daisy Whitney said...

Your reviews are incredible, Adele

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Man proposes, God disposes.......................................................

Ella Press said...

Wow, now I really want to read this!
I haven't read any books by ES yet, but I've been meaning to.
Hard to get my hands on these when I live so far away from them.