Publication: 28th June 2022 – Hodder & Stoughton
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?
It doesn’t happen often that I start reading a book in the morning and I finish it on that same day, especially since I spent eight hours of that day at work (working, not reading 😉), but that’s what happened with This Vicious Grace. I was hooked from the first page and I stayed up late at night to finish reading it.
Alessa is the Finestra. Chosen by the goddess, she has a gift that will magnify the power of her chosen partner, the Fonte, so they can protect the island of Saverio from the attack that it’s coming. The only problem is that everytime she touches them they instantly die. After the death of three partners, a few assassination attempts instigated by a priest, and the escape of Fonte candidates from the island, Alessa asks for the help of Dante, a fighter marked as a killer, to protect her.
I loved the characters of Alessa and Dante. Their chemistry is off the charts and their easy and witty banter made me often laugh. Alessa is a fantastic and interesting protagonist that you can’t help but like and feel for her. When she became the island’s Finestra she had to give up any relationship with her family. Also, since her touch kills, all the Fontes are afraid of her and stay away. She longs for friendship and contact and the only one who is not scared of her is Dante, but he has his own demons and secrets to face.
The writing is addictive and the world-building is incredible and compelling. It is based on Italy and the Italian language, used as an old language, is often used for proverbs and swear words.
This Vicious Grace has romance, friendship, action, and twists and it kept me hooked from the first to the last page. I can’t wait for the sequel to come out!
A huge thank you to Hodder & Stoughton and NetGalley for providing me with a proof of one of my favorite novels of the year!
Emily Thiede is the author of This Vicious Grace. A former school teacher, Emily is a creative writing instructor and board member for Writer House, a local nonprofit, and a co-host of the Basic Pitches podcast. When she isn’t writing, Emily enjoys exploring second-hand bookstores, fostering rescue kittens, and getting lost in the woods near her home in central Virginia. You can find her across social media platforms @ektwrites and on her website, www.ekthiede.com.