Book Review: This Vicious Grace (The Last Finestra #1)

Title: This Vicious Grace

Author: Emily Thiede

Pub. Date: June 28, 2022

Pages: 448

Pub: Wednesday Books

Genre: YA Fantasy

Rating: ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️


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?

Emily Thiede’s exciting fantasy debut, This Vicious Grace, will keep readers turning the pages until the devastating conclusion and leave them primed for more!

This will be a spoiler free review. Thank you to NetGalley for an eARC in exchange for an honest and Wednesday Books for a physical copy at ALA back in June. I ended up listening to the audiobook while at work, and absolutely loved it.

I was immediately captivated by this book, was immediately sucked in and couldn’t put it down. The way the book starts…

How could I not be captivated.

This whole thing played out like a movie in my head. So cinematic, so alive and if I can write a book half as good as this – I’ll have won. Like, I’m dying for book two, especially after how it ends.

I loved Alessa as a character.

Everything she’s been through, everything she’s had to sacrifice to be the Finestra – to be the only hope her and her people have against the demons coming to basically end life as they know it. She’s so strong, so guarded and also, so incredibly alone and hurting and no one can see it. The way Thiede wrote her was so vivid and detailed that I had no problem feeling everything she was feeling.

Watching her go from the person she was at the beginning of the book, to the person she became at the end – amazing. I loved it, her journey and how much she grows – how her relationships with herself and other’s change.

And then there’s Dante.

I mean, if you don’t love him from the moment he comes on the page and starts interacting with Alessa then, I don’t know what to tell you. I love him.

He’s slightly antagonistic, sassy, snarky and has a retort for everything. He’s got baggage that makes him keep people at arm’s length, he blames himself for things outside of his control and he’s the type of male love interest I’m almost duty bound to love.

The Moody Guard Type is a weakness – what can I say?

Alessa and Dante are so adorable together – honestly. The way they engage in each other – the constant banter and snark and realizations that they’re not who they thought each other was…

It’s so good and so addicting. The change they bring out in each other, the limits they force each other to confront and everything about them had me in love and nearly raging towards the end. Because if you’ve read this book – you know. It’s why I need book 2, like right now.

I also loved all the other characters – well, Alessa’s brother (though, we got some beef) and the other suitors. The roles they played and how they impacted Alessa and the world around them made for a really good narrative. I loved the breaking down of walls and the relationships that come out of it – how everything comes together towards the end when all bets are off and life is on the line.

I really don’t think I’m accurately explaining just how much I loved this book and the characters. It was all just so good.

As for the conflict outside of Alessa’s internal struggles – the demon swarm coming to wreck life as they know it. I’d be noping right on off the island if basically giant fucking bugs were coming to destroy everything. Bugs and insects are just a giant nope, and if you’re going to make them more demonic – hell no. No thank you. Not at all. Not a fan.

That being said, I could easily picture what they looked like, and that made it and even strong no way in hell.

The way this book plays out is amazing. I thoroughly loved it. I definitely recommend it. I’m going to be sitting here, impatiently waiting for the next one. Because I need more. And 100% I will be reading anything and everything Emily Thiede publishes. I’m so glad I got to meet her at ALA, got her to sign a copy of the book. I cannot wait to see what she does for book 2 – I have zero chill.

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