For the sake of spoilers, I will not be including an official summary for Queen of Ruin, the sequel to Tracy Banghart’s Grace and Fury.
My Rating: 4.5/5 Stars
Tracy Banghart’s Grace and Fury was unexpectedly one of my favorite 2018 reads. I didn’t know much going into this YA dystopian, but I fell in love with this story that focused on sisterhood and had many The Handmaid’s Tale vibes. Grace and Fury follows sisters Nomi and Serina, as Serina trains to be one of the Superior’s Graces, the shining example of the perfect woman. When the rebellious Nomi unexpectedly gets chosen as a Grace, and Serina instead gets sent to prison for Nomi’s secret and a crime she didn’t commit, the two sisters each must figure out their own survival, in hopes of reuniting with one another. That being said, I couldn’t wait to dive into Grace and Fury’s sequel, Queen of Ruin.
I reread Grace and Fury right before reading Queen of Ruin. The beginning of the sequel flows nicely from the first book’s ending. I wouldn’t say a reread of Grace and Fury is necessary to jump into the sequel, but I am glad I did to re-familiarize myself with this world’s terms and people.
If you thought Nomi and Serina were rebels in the first book, think again when it comes to Queen of Ruin. While Nomi has to adjust to some of the violence, Serina has turned into a full-out female warrior. There’s definitely more action scenes in this installment, which ultimately added to Serina’s changed character and the story’s high stakes. All of the female characters in Queen of Ruin are more than ready to rebel and claim their rights in this world where women aren’t even allowed to read or write.
Despite that I liked this expanded Serina, I think Nomi is still my favorite of the two sisters because much of her storyline is more politics-focused. I also enjoyed her POV for getting to see more of Malachi. Although I do like the ‘good guys’ in this series and yes, they are also the romance interests, I appreciate how Serina and Nomi’s romance and relationships aren’t at the heart of the story. Like Grace and Fury, Queen of Ruin reminds readers not only of Nomi and Serina’s bond as sisters, but also their bonds with the women of Mount Ruin and the Graces.
What I think prevented me from giving Queen of Ruin a full five stars was that the book felt anti-climatic at ‘big’ moments. I think one of the reasons why I enjoy these books so much is because although they tackle big themes and issues, the dystopian world itself is pretty simple. However, the major plot reveals and some of the actions scenes felt predictable. Additionally, although this is not really a reason why I didn’t give the book 5 stars, but I wish the title was more similar to the first. I understand the title’s reference to Mount Ruin, one of the series’ major settings, but I wish it flowed better with the title Grace and Fury.
I’m bummed that I didn’t LOVE this one as much as Grace and Fury, but I do think it was a very solid conclusion. Grace and Fury and Queen of Ruin just feel so different from what’s out there in the YA dystopian and fantasy world, but have such relatable themes and simple world-building that will make readers of all genres want to dive right in. I wouldn’t necessarily want another book in this series because I don’t think it’s absolutely necessary, but Tracy Banghart leaves the story in a realistic way. Change isn’t going to happen overnight in Nomi and Serina’s world. The ending isn’t necessarily cheery, but it is full of hope and strong female leaders.
Queen of Ruin comes out on July 2, 2019.
This review is based on an advance reading copy. By no means did receiving this ARC affect my thoughts or opinions.
Have you read Grace and Fury? Is Queen of Ruin on your TBR? Share in the comments!