Tracy Banghart’s Grace and Fury is one of the biggest feminist stories of 2018. Many have compared it to The Handmaid’s Tale since it features a dystopian world where women are considered men’s subordinates and are punished heavily when they do not act as they are meant to.
Serina has been groomed her whole life to be a Grace, a concubine for the Superior. It is considered an honor to be chosen, and she will be one of the first chosen for the heir, Prince Malachi, meaning she has a chance for her children to be his heirs and for herself to be head Grace. Her sister Nomi has never been expected to amount to much in life. She fully expects to be her sister’s handmaiden when she is a Grace, but circumstances change when the two of them enter the palace. Prince Malachi meets Nomi first and decides he likes her more. Unprepared, wild, and rebellious, Nomi must become someone she is not and hide who she really is if she is expected to survive inside the walls of the palace where the rules for women are enforced the most. Serina in turn must take the fall for her sister’s shortcomings leading to an understanding of the way they are treated as women that she never understood before.
Through the twists and turns of this novel, there are many points which stand out and make one think about how we as women are treated in the world. The most important thing being that if you don’t actually have a choice in the matter, you didn’t actually choose your path. This is a lesson which Serina learns on her journey. She spent her whole life preparing to be a Grace, and was happy to be considered for it, but when a woman is chosen as a Grace, they must obey without hesitation. They must consider it an honor. When chosen, Nomi is not honored, she is horrified and fights her predicament. Serina too begins to see life through a different lens and begins to fight through her situation. They are truly characters that girls and even fully grown women can look to for inspiration.