This Vicious Grace by Emily Thiede

*Spoiler free*

Thank you so, so much to Emily for the ARC!

Three weddings. Three funerals. Alessa’s gift from the gods is supposed to magnify a partner’s magic, not kill every suitor she touches. Now, with only weeks left until a hungry swarm of demons devours everything on her island home, Alessa is running out of time to find a partner and stop the invasion. When a powerful priest convinces the faithful that killing Alessa is the island’s only hope, her own soldiers try to assassinate her. Desperate to survive, Alessa hires Dante, a cynical outcast marked as a killer, to become her personal bodyguard. But as rebellion explodes outside the gates, Dante’s dark secrets may be the biggest betrayal. He holds the key to her survival and her heart, but is he the one person who can help her master her gift or destroy her once and for all?

I have wanted to read this book for awhile. And if I’m being completely honest, the fact of three weddings, followed by three funerals, was basically all I needed to become incredible eager to read it. Then, finding out it has demons, and a girl whose touch can kill, but can be used to save her island, if stops killing her partners, made me want to read it even more.

I love, love, love this book. It promises to be a romantic fantasy, and it completely delivers. It delivers on everything it sets up to do.

While this book is a fantasy, and it has magic and demons and all that good stuff, there is something so distinctly human about it. Alessa craves affection, relationships, closeness. She’s a teenager with the literal weight of her world on her shoulders, and she feels like everything is falling apart around her. She feels like she isn’t good enough. And every character is like that. They have their own struggles and wants and needs. And I loved that about this book. It thrust teenagers into a world ending situation, but it kept everything human about them. They feel, they make mistakes, they want. It made the book comforting in a way, and all the better.

I adored the characters. Even the ones I thought I was going to hate, and was almost cursing when they were first introduced, I actually ended up really liking them. I loved Alessa, who wants to be loved so badly. I loved Dante who craves affection even though he will tell you he doesn’t. I loved all the Fontes. They surprised me, and I loved how they surprised me. I want to give everyone a hug.

The relationships in this book, oh my gosh they are done so well. It is a romance, so the romantic elements were truly top notch. So much yearning and feelings and tropes. This book leans into tropes big time and it is one of the best things. It completely owns it. It’s two people trying to save the world, while trying not to fall in love. Of course it’s amazing.

But there is also friendships and familial relationships. How they twist and grow. How they can hurt, but how wonderful they can be as well. It’s a book about human connection, and how powerful that can be.

I found this world and the magic and the demons to be downright fascinating, and so well crafted. Everything about this book felt so well crafted. There are so many scenes were I just want to scream because they are so good, and so, so well written. There is so much genius in them. I love them so much.

There are also so many mentions of cats. It was amazing.

I really, really loved this book. Teenagers trying to save the world, making inappropriate jokes, trying not to fall in love, tropes, and so much amazingness. It’s so good.

This Vicious Grace comes out June 28, 2022! You can add it on Goodreads and pre-order a copy in the meantime!

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