Author: Kim Liggett
To Be Published:
US: October 8, 2019
UK: October 10, 2019
Reviewed By: Jessica
Dates Read: September 16-24, 2019
Jessica’s Rating: 4 stars
Survive the year.
No one speaks of the grace year. It’s forbidden.
In Garner County, girls are told they have the power to lure grown men from their beds, to drive women mad with jealousy. They believe their very skin emits a powerful aphrodisiac, the potent essence of youth, of a girl on the edge of womanhood. That’s why they’re banished for their sixteenth year, to release their magic into the wild so they can return purified and ready for marriage. But not all of them will make it home alive.
Sixteen-year-old Tierney James dreams of a better life—a society that doesn’t pit friend against friend or woman against woman, but as her own grace year draws near, she quickly realizes that it’s not just the brutal elements they must fear. It’s not even the poachers in the woods, men who are waiting for a chance to grab one of the girls in order to make a fortune on the black market. Their greatest threat may very well be each other.
With sharp prose and gritty realism, The Grace Year examines the complex and sometimes twisted relationships between girls, the women they eventually become, and the difficult decisions they make in-between.
Like with Fight Club, I am going to break the rule: You do not speak of the grace year…. Well I won’t be giving specifics on the grace year…. To find out everything, you must read this book!
In this dystopian world we can say goodbye to “Sweet Sixteen” and hello to “The Grace Year”. When all girls turn sixteen, they are sent away to fend for themselves for a year….Wait! I mean the girls are sequestered together to cleanse themselves of the magic they possess that will drive men crazy with lust and women crazy in anger and jealousy. Once the girls are cleansed they are then ready to become wives, if they have been previously chosen. This is also if they survive their grace year, which not everyone does.
Our protagonist is Tierney and it is time for her grace year to begin. We go on her journey of preparing for her grace year. She knows what she wants her future to hold and knows it will be that way despite the grace year; but will it be as she wants? Tierney is a tomboy in a world where women are the ‘weaker’ gender, so she isn’t your typical female. I liked Tierney and was rooting for her to pull through and survive her grace year despite the odds against her.
The Grace Year is a mix of The Handmaid’s Tale and Lord of the Flies with a dash of The Hunger Games. This is a world that today’s woman would not want to live in. It is a dark, disturbing, and violent novel that also pulls you in and you don’t want stop reading. While reading it you will feel a variety of emotions and it also leaves you thinking about so many things. Then we have that ending which leaves you open mouthed and hoping that Liggett writes a sequel. Movie rights have been optioned and I hope they treat the novel right.
I would suggest this novel for ages 15 and up given the violence that occurs.
Many thanks to the publisher for granting me an arc copy via Netgalley. It was an honor to read and review The Grace Year.
Today Kim reviews The Blood and Salt Series by Kim Liggett . She loved the first, but the second one was not really for her. She rated the series 4 stars.
Books in the Series:
Blood and Salt
Heart of Ash
Blood and Salt
Published: September 22, 2015
Romeo and Juliet meets Children of the Corn in this one-of-a-kind romantic horror.
“When you fall in love, you will carve out your heart and throw it into the deepest ocean. You will be all in—blood and salt.”
These are the last words Ash Larkin hears before her mother returns to the spiritual commune she escaped long ago. But when Ash follows her to Quivira, Kansas, something sinister and ancient waits among the rustling cornstalks of this village lost to time.
Ash is plagued by memories of her ancestor, Katia, which harken back to the town’s history of unrequited love and murder, alchemy and immortality. Charming traditions soon give way to a string of gruesome deaths, and Ash feels drawn to Dane, a forbidden boy with secrets of his own.
As the community prepares for a ceremony five hundred years in the making, Ash must fight not only to save her mother, but herself—and discover the truth about Quivira before it’s too late. Before she’s all in—blood and salt.
Heart of Ash
Published: February 20, 2018
Ash may have escaped the immortal-worshipping cult that killed her mother, but the love of her life is still under its thrall. Dane has been possessed by his diabolical ancestor Coronado, a man who’s fabulously wealthy, dripping with fame, and the leader of Europe’s most dangerous immortal network. Dane begs Ash to join him at Coronado’s castle in Spain, and swears that his blood bond with Ash is stronger than Coronado’s hold over him. Ash is desperate to help Dane vanquish Coronado without having to sacrifice herself to the darkness. But when you’re all in, blood and salt, the only way to hold on to the light might just be by setting everything on fire.
Kim’s Rating of the Series: 4 Stars
Kim’s Review of the Series:
I found Blood and Salt by mistake three years ago during my scary stage! I had been looking for another book but got the title wrong and found Blood and Salt instead. Totally worth it! I really enjoyed this first book. I love the setting, the characters, and the story. Ash and Rhys are teens, but they are far more mature than the typical teen. They’ve grown up with a very unconventional mother who raised them away from the cult she was born into. I’m just weird, y’all know this about me already. Cults are fascinating!
All my friends make fun of me because I grew up in a “cult like” environment, so the character that I identified with most is Beth. She’s quirky, sheltered, optimistic, and innocent. She’s definitely more perky than I was when I left college, but I like her a lot. She adds a humorous side to the story that helps lighten a rather dark situation. And the legend of Katia and Coronado brings some historical realism.
This is the second time I’ve read this book, but the first time was long enough ago that I didn’t remember what happened. Everything fit perfectly together and made sense. It was dark and creepy and although the ending was technically a cliffhanger, it didn’t drive me nuts. A solid 5 stars!
Unfortunately, Heart of Ash did not live up to the standard Blood and Salt set. The first book was on a smaller, more intimate scale that held the tension really well. Then Heart of Ash turned it into a global conspiracy that just took away from the original story. Where Ash used to be a mature teen who had to deal with a lot of adult stuff and did it capably, she then turned into that annoying teen who flip flopped on every little thing and spent most of the book talking herself in and out of loving Dane. OMG stop!! Y’all got way bigger fish to fry here! It felt like Blood and Salt should have had just a few extra pages that could have resolved the whole saga, but Leggitt tried to draw the story out and fell flat. Katia and Coronado’s story became petty and unrealistic (fantasy realism is different than actual realism lol). I was so excited about this sequel . . . but overall I just didn’t like it. I’ll give it 3 stars.
I think I’d recommend the first book with no hesitation to anyone, teens included. Yeah, go ahead and read the second book, but really only to resolve the story. So the whole series gets 4 stars.
Author: Kim Liggett
Published: January 10, 2017
Reviewed By: Kim
Kim’s Rating: 5 stars
“I plead the blood.” Those were the last words seventeen-year-old golden boy quarterback Clay Tate heard rattling from his dad’s throat when he discovered him dying on the barn floor of the Neely cattle ranch, clutching a crucifix to his chest. Now, on the first anniversary of the Midland, Oklahoma, slaughter, the whole town’s looking at Clay like he might be next to go over the edge. Clay wants to forget the past, but the sons and daughters of the Preservation Society―a group of prominent farmers his dad accused of devil worship―won’t leave him alone. Including Ali, his longtime crush, who suddenly wants to reignite their romance after a year of silence, and hated rival Tyler Neely, who’s behaving like they’re old friends. Even as Clay tries to reassure himself, creepy glances turn to sinister stares and strange coincidences build to gruesome rituals―but when he can never prove that any of it happened, Clay worries he might be following his dad down the path to insanity…or that something far more terrifying lies in wait around the corner.
Holy. Crap. I read this book in one day and even ended up having to delay dinner because I was so engrossed. At one point, I was reading it in the middle of the night while Ivan was a work, and I ended up having to text him to get some reassurance because I was so freaked out! I seriously loved this book so much! The characters were all believable and likeable and without that annoying teenage drama.
Liggett spun this web of conspiracy and evil and demons and led me all over that dang wheat field before I realized where the heck I was and how the story was going to end. And the ending? Dude, I’m still processing. I’m not one for re-reading books as soon as I finish them, that’s my mother-in-law . . . but that’s exactly what I wanted to do after I finished this book. Not sure I want to visit Oklahoma now . . . I’m just kidding, who wants to go with me?? ? This is definitely not the book for younger readers, there are some adult themes and a little language. But this is the perfect book for that teenager who loves the creepy and weird! I would recommend this to anybody looking for a scary read! 5 stars!!!