The Savage Grace by Bree Despain – book review
The story begins with Daniel, formerly cured of his werewolf curse, now stuck in the form of a white alpha wolf and perhaps a true Hound of Heaven. Daniel’s father, Caleb, the megalomaniacal man hellbent on not earning Father of the Year, still has plans to kill Sirhan, the one true alpha, and take his place. Caleb’s grudge runs deep, and his actions affect all the characters as they try to keep ahead of him.
Jude broods, Talbot seems to want to help (but who can trust him?), and Grace is trying to hold everything together while dealing with her mother’s nervous breakdown, her father in the hospital on life support, new powers, and Gabriel’s very intense expectations of her fulfilling a messianic role.
Despite the aggressive plot, I had problems with the first two fifths of the book. Something about the voice and narrative felt off to me. There were good scenes, like when Gabriel and Grace discussed how Grace blamed God for her troubles, but there were other scenes where new werewolf details would pop off the page then be explained by Grace thinking, “Oh, yeah. I’ve read about this before”. I wonder if there may have been too many lose ends from the second book to tie up in the beginning of this book. Overall, the story and writing were slow to find their stride in the beginning.
Those are minor details, however, that might not bother everybody. I felt the real problem with the story in the beginning was that the story didn’t work well with Grace playing opposite a furry Daniel. Grace needed Daniel as a human. Grace and Daniel weren’t just a cute couple; they were the core of the story. They worked and flirted together. They worried and felt pain together. They plotted and schemed together. They moved the story forward as a unit.
Once Grace rescued Daniel, Despain seemed to find her story’s voice again. The Savage Grace began to feel like the sequel I had looked forward to with Despain’s sensual descriptions and witty conversations. In fact, once Daniel returned, there was an excellent balance and flow between conversation and action again.
One aspect of this final book in the trilogy that I enjoyed very much was the use of religion as a positive force. Grace used religion, prayer, and worship as her center without the story being preachy. One would expect prayer to be critical to a Hound of Heaven’s spirituality. I have to caution readers, however, that the idea of Grace and Daniel as angels of God is often compromised by their language. This installation in the series seemed more potty-mouthed than the others.
Will you enjoy this series? I believe it has a lot going for it. Its spicy dialog, intrigue, and good world building are notable. The theme of redemption runs like a river throughout the books, giving the story arc more strength than other paranormal YA stories I’ve read. Grace is a strong female character who is both strong and feminine. Although she loves Daniel, her love for family is a stronger motivating force. Grace is nothing like Bella or Katniss. I’m surprised more people haven’t taken notice of her.
Release Date: March 13, 2012 (USA)
ISBNs: 1606842218 (9781606842218)
Alcohol/Drugs: 2 (referenced)
Language: 3 (scatological and deity)
Sexuality: 2 (sexual tension, but no sex)
Violence: 3 (brutal violence, death)
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