Book Review: The Grace of Wild Things

Publisher Summary:

An inventive and fantastical reimagining of Anne of Green Gables—with magic and witches!—that explores found family, loss, and the power of a girl’s imagination, from the acclaimed author of The Language of Ghosts and The School Between Winter and Fairyland.

Grace has never been good at anything except magic—not that anyone believes her. While other children are adopted from the orphanage, nobody wants Grace. So she decides to make a home for herself by running away and offering herself as an apprentice to the witch in the nearby woods. After all, who better to teach Grace to use her magic? Surely the witch can’t be that bad.

But the witch is that bad—she steals souls for spells and gobbles up hearts. So Grace offers a deal: If she can learn all 100½ spells in the witch’s grimoire, the witch will make Grace her apprentice. But if Grace fails, the witch can take her magic. The witch agrees, and soon an unexpected bond develops between them. But the spells are much harder than Grace expected, and when a monster from the witch’s past threatens the home Grace has built, she may have to sacrifice more than her magic to save it.

Inspired by Anne of Green Gables, this is a magical story of found family, loss, and the power of a girl’s imagination.

My Thoughts:

I thought this book was so much fun! I would have absolutely loved it as a kid – I loved it even as an adult!

So the big question everyone wants to know the answer to…how much of it is an Anne of Green Gables story? In my opinion, the similarities are mostly very broad ones. Grace is an orphan, her first adoption didn’t work out, and the character Grace is very inspired by the character of Anne. Grace is enthusiastic, curious, is prone to flights of fancy and romanticism, has a very dear and close friend, and there are two direct incidents that were definitely directly out of Anne of Green Gables but with a twist to make it work with this book.

There was magic, and witches, fairy princes, and a quest that Grace had to fulfill. The witch was not nice, she was definitely an evil witch (at least in the beginning) but the book takes a turn, and Grace and the witch become a family of sorts, so it is also a book of found family, which I love.

By far though one of my favorite characters is Windweaver, Grace’s familiar and pet crow. She found him as a baby and nursed him to health, and Windweaver is arrogant, yet loyal and loving with Grace. He also adores poetry, but only poetry about birds.

The ending felt maybe a bit rushed but it was also emotional, and moving. I was actually pretty upset over something that happens in the end but like Grace I understood it was the right thing.

Overall, this is a fantastic book that is like Hansel and Gretel meets Anne of Green Gables, yet strong enough to not simply be a retelling. Grace and the witch, Windweaver and Sareena, all are wonderful characters in their own right and stand on their own against these famous backdrops and comparisons. I do think this book might be scary for sensitive young readers, who are not fans of scary stories. While most of the book is not scary there are references to children being cooked in the oven, so be mindful of that if there is a child in your life who would not react well to those parts.


Book Review: Emily Wilde’s Encyclopaedia of Faeries by Heather Fawcett

Book Description:

Cambridge professor Emily Wilde is good at many things: She is the foremost expert on the study of faeries. She is a genius scholar and a meticulous researcher who is writing the world’s first encyclopaedia of faerie lore. But Emily Wilde is not good at people. She could never make small talk at a party–or even get invited to one. And she prefers the company of her books, her dog, Shadow, and the Fair Folk to other people.

So when she arrives in the hardscrabble village of Hrafnsvik, Emily has no intention of befriending the gruff townsfolk. Nor does she care to spend time with another new arrival: her dashing and insufferably handsome academic rival Wendell Bambleby, who manages to charm the townsfolk, get in the middle of Emily’s research, and utterly confound and frustrate her.

But as Emily gets closer and closer to uncovering the secrets of the Hidden Ones–the most elusive of all faeries–lurking in the shadowy forest outside the town, she also finds herself on the trail of another mystery: Who is Wendell Bambleby, and what does he really want? To find the answer, she’ll have to unlock the greatest mystery of all–her own heart.

My Thoughts:

I adored this book!! I have always loved anything faerie, my whole life, so when I saw this book I knew I had to read it. It also has an academic theme which is another of my favorites to read about.

Emily is a bit of a … hmm. Emily is all academia, all about her studies, very logical, very smart and sharp, driven, committed. However, she is a bit prickly as a person. She is perfectly happy with her books and her dog Shadow and her research, and as far as other people go, she needs them for research purposes but does not want to hang out with them or be like, friends. She sort of gets off on the wrong foot when she arrives in the village of Hrafnsvik, which is not great since that is where she plans to stay for an extended amount of time for research purposes. Despite having made contact with a brownie, her time is not going all that smoothly.

Enter Wendell Bambleby, a fellow academic full of the charm and joy that Emily lacks. He is Emily’s total opposite, and she doesn’t regard his work ethic in the highest esteem. However, he soon has the townsfolk wrapped around his finger, which does make the work and research easier. And Emily and Wendell do seem to have a little something sizzling between them, just under the surface.

Emily and Wendell soon learn about the the Tall Ones, a group of fae that prey upon the townsfolk, and Emily is resolved to learn more about these mysterious, dangerous fae. She also starts to put a few things together about Wendell too, while some delightful romantic tension builds between them.

My only complaint is the ending! I needed more story and now I have to wait for the next installment and I hate that! I am not good at waiting and I want to know more about Emily and Wendell and this world of faery.

I loved this book completely and if you like adventure, academia, or faery stories, then I highly encourage you to read this one.