Wednesday, September 17, 2014

State of Grace by Hilary Badger...

Title- State of Grace.
Author- Hilary Badger.
Publish date- October 2014.
Publisher- Hardie Grant Egmont.
RRP- $19.95 (AUD)

Review time...

(A Brief) Synopsis:
A carefree, happy, perfect world where you only have to be dotly to be happy. Two or three rules to be abided by and your days are free for however you would like to spend them. It's all you could wish for.
Or it's a lie, because something isn't quite right. 

Thank you to Hardie Grant Egmont for this review copy!
(The way this ARC was posted was so neat! It came wrapped in twine with the paper flower in the middle and made quite a talking point for whoever saw it!)

What I thought:
It was not until I was very nearly finished that I knew without a doubt that I was definitely reminded of The Maze Runner when I read this, just it had more people and htey were all glad to be where they were.
I had briefed the idea fairly early on- there are similarities throughout that felt familiar- but when there came a really unfortunate seeming and very spoilery sucession of words very close to the end there wasn't really any going back, and as different in many other ways as the books are I don't know that I'll ever be able tot think of this as anything but "The Maze Runner where people were happy".

It was very readable, though, and from the get go I was intrigued. I hadn't heard of the book before and decided not to read more of the back cover than the words "creepy", which made it a really interesting experience, going in completely blank- and I was perplexed, too, because the creepy-ness did take a fair while to come into the story, though the anticipation for it was actually fantastic. I couldn't stop wondering how the idyllic paradise in which these 100 teens were living would be suddenly changed, and when it came it was the kind of creepy that is slow. You don't even think it is creepy, not at first.

The setting was really interesting for me, too- where could the place these people are be? I was taken in by their day to day life, lernt the rules they had to abide by with interest and internally grimaced at the very, very, awkward names boobs and male genitalia were given- I actually have no idea why the names were changed, now on the other side of the story and knowing everything, but it was disconcerting, to say the very least.

Wren, as the protagonist, went through a pretty massive transformation: from the carefree, happy girl who loves the life Dot has given her to a girl afraid and anguished by the strain of feeling like she's somehow upset her creator and is terrified of what that means for her, and it really a believable journey, though I have to say I did miss the joy that shone through from Wren in the very first chapters more than once. I felt a sense the deeper I delved into the story, as if I too was leaving the bright, sun filled carefree life I'd led before, just like her. I was, however, not truly attached to her or any of the other characters, though many held aspects that were possessed really wonderfully, and the scenes in which they truly lit those aspects up were beautiful ones for Wren, Blaze and Fern.
Wren's narrative was very much one full of multiple words to try and multiply the expressive point of a single thing, with lots of "totally"s, "seriously"s and "obviously"s, and whilst a lot of the time it fit her character and all kept up the flow of her storytelling, more than a couple of times it got to be a little too much for me.

I was lucky enough to be provided with an ARC to review, and as such it had a few spelling mistakes and the like, but I would also hope that the number of people in paradise would be lowerd in the final publication, from 100 to fifty, because we met perhaps 10 of those people and I could never believe there were more than even 40. The writing and description made me feel like it was so many less.
There was also a pretty spoilery thing with a name, and it really took away from the story for me, felt so easily explained away. I could've liked the story a level or two more without that coming in altogether.

So whilst it did feel like Maze Runner in some really important ways, and I never was truly in the story, it was enjoyable for the most part, and exciting.
I could believe it might be real, for sure.


  1. Hmm the premise is so interesting that I'm intrigued. I don't know if I would really like it though - the Maze Runner was just an alright read for me. I love the simplicity of the cover though! I might read this though because I am so curious about what is really going on!

    1. I think this is a pretty neat cover, too, though it's actually only the ARC cover and the one it's being published with it a lot more detailed. I like this one more, personally!
      I'd be very interested to see what you thought of it, Charlene! Do let me know! xx

  2. Hey I had a different coloured flower to you! Mine was purple, I think.
    I totally hadn't realised the similarities this book has to The Maze Runner, but now that you bring that true. So damned true.
    Also, there were 100 people in the "paradise"? There is no way that is true...especially because the MC mentioned at some point that she's friends with everyone or something like that.

    1. They were so neat!
      There were, and I just thought that was so strange because it didn't seem that huge, it didn't seem like there were that many people there- no clustering or anything, and we hardly got to know 90 of them.

  3. I haven't heard of this one before but I am certainly intrigued and will be adding this to my TBR list. I haven't read the maze runner so when I read this I won't have it to compare to and might enjoy it more. Great review, thanks for sharing.

    1. It comes out in a month or so, and I think the word about it will really start going out then. I hope you enjoy it, Rochelle, and that not having read The Maze Runner does make it a better read for you than it was for me!

  4. I had issues with the Maze Runner so I would love to give this book a chance. I liked the concept of the Maze Runner but I didn't feel that it was great... sooo many questions. I love the packaging of this book! So pretty!

    1. This is slightly more creepy than TMR, but less gory (which I didn't think Maze Runner was, actually. It's less violent, this one.), and the way the happiness in the beginning (even if it doesn't last) is written so beautifully.

  5. Very interesting with the Maze Runner similarities, I haven't read that book (or this one) but I do like the sound of this one. Seems like the main character goes through a lot of character development but if you can't really connect with her it's all for nothing. Great review, Romi!

    1. It lives up to a lot that is set out in the premise and idea, so even though things niggled and didn't always work for me, there's a strong possibility that it would be the opposite for you, Alise, and you'd end up really enjoying it! I hope you do, if you give it a try! x

  6. Very cool packaging, indeed!! I haven't actually read The Maze Runner yet so I wouldn't be reminded of that were I to read this one like you were. I'm definitely intrigued by the premise! But oh, your reference of the awkward names for genitalia made me guffaw! That just sounds bizarre X)

    1. It was such a talking point, with people seeing it on my tbr and me going into the fact that this was how it arrived unexpectedly. I had a lot of fun with that!
      It was a bit bizzare, and there wasn't any real explaination as to why it was like that- I could've understood it a bit more if there was a reason behind it, or anything obvious, but there was nothing, so it not only felt awkward, but unnecessary, too.

  7. HI ROMI!


    (and that flower is adorable! :))

    1. ELLA THANK YOU! xxx

      Isn't it neat? They come in such great colours. You could have a room full of them and nothing but.


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