If you pass me a book about deeply mysterious families, witches and woods, and corrupt magic — I will love you forever.
Like this is my favourite reading aesthetic. I am the one who can’t stop reading The Raven Cycle, who adores Netflix’s Chilling Adventures of Sabrina, who is sitting here waiting for my Matilda telekinesis powers to kick in. (So far, no luck tho.) So it was an absolutely freaking delight to be back in The Graces world.
I read The Graces in 2016 and was so in love. The sequel was supposed to come in 2017 but it…just…didn’t. I’m not actually sure what happened, but it is now the good year of Twenty Nineteen and The Curses is here.
I’m going to do a double review! But no spoilers! 🤭
Thank you to Allen & Unwin for the review-copies!
It’s like falling in with an old friend when you reread a book you loved years ago! There’s that worry of “oh no will we still click??!” but…I totally adored The Graces still. It’s a book of oddness, a tangle of insecurities and the desperate craving of magic from a lonely girl who needs there to be more to this life. It was atmospheric to the core and I am here for that.
The writing really catches me too — it’s sensory and manages to be ethereal as well as forthright. I love the subtle weaving of magic through this book. Is magic true? Is it not? The writing makes you ache with wanting to know. Until the ending of course, which is like being slammed into the sea at full force. And rereading it had me caught up in such knots?! How did I SURVIVE the wait for the sequel so !! long !!
The Grace family are entrancing, problematic to the core, but yet you can’t look away. I’m with River here. They’re a secretive force, needing none but each other, so when they let that one person in…it means so much. Thalia, with her earthy soft goodness. Fenrin, the sarcastic flirt with wavering faith in his family. Summer, the goth and sharp and fully in love with her witch destiny. And River Page — the narrator who is hiding the darkest of secrets.
(My only qualm reading this one is uncertainty as to whether the book was queerbaiting or not? Summer causally calls River a girlfriend, even, at one stage, but there’s no romantic hints in River’s narration that she ever feels romantic towards Summer. She’s in love with Fenrin…which gives me pause when the straight girl is obsessed with the queer boy.)
I went into this absolutely wrapped in anticipation. And it was like a welcome slide back into this witchy and deeply magical story, deliciously vibrant and so sensory that I could taste the mulberries and smell the herbs. The entire book is a feast of power…and of selfishness and insecurity and grief. And afjkdsladjf I just love that.
This time it’s narrated by Summer Grace. And I adore her! She’s easily one of the most epic of the trio of Grace siblings. I did, however, feel this was actually Fenrin’s story…he had all the plot. So I’m curious as to why Summer narrated.
Also am here for how much more sibling life we got. 🙌🏻 They’re still dealing with the trauma of the last book (SOB AREN’T WE ALL) and they’re just such a tight-knit group. They love each other fiercely, but they also know the best ways to hurt each other. Also there is fully a scene where the eat so much cake they can’t function. Quality content. I just love sibling-focused stories, particularly if the siblings are witches.
So did it live up to my 2-years of anxious anticipation? It did in all ways except for how it ended up handling the queerness. I wanted it to pull through and it didn’t and I genuinely felt queerbaited. But maybe I’m misinterpreting it?
The Curses was deeply magical and haunting, all witches and spells and dark threads running through the town. The writing was everything I wanted, and having more Grace sibling time was amazing! But I can’t ignore the queerbaited feel of the ending.
＊*•̩̩͙✩•̩̩͙*˚ ˚*•̩̩͙✩•̩̩͙*˚＊＊*•̩̩͙✩•̩̩͙*˚ ˚*•̩̩͙✩•̩̩͙*˚＊
is there a sequel you had to wait a long time for? or one you’re *still* waiting for?? and tell me if you’ve tried this duology and what you thought!