Author: Hilary Badger
Genre: Young Adult, Science Fiction
Release Date: 24 September, 2014
Source: Hardie Grant Egmont
Nothing and no-one exists beyond the garden where Wren and the others live, but that's okay – they have everything they could possibly need right there, in paradise. The trees are laden with fruit and the water in the lagoon is as clear as crystal. Wren's world is a utopia.Review by Nara
If only Wren could stop the strange visions she's started having: flashes of another world, where there are people she doesn't know – couldn't possibly know – but who somehow feel familiar. And what does Blaze, the most beautiful and mysterious of creations, know about what's going on in Wren's head?
When she uncovers the lies that are propping up everything she has ever believed in, Wren must choose: remain in blissful ignorance or face the ugly truth?
It's not too often that you come across a utopian book rather than a dystopian in Young Adult, but that's exactly what State of Grace is: a book set in a beautiful paradise where every need is attended to and all the inhabitants are friends. But of course, it wouldn't be much of a book if there wasn't some sort of twist. Some sort of dark side to this utopia. A revelation that all is not quite as it seems...
I have to admit, it's pretty easy to predict most of the plot twists. One reason for this is because the author leaves a lot clues here and there to direct you to the reveal. The other reason is because, to be blunt, the twists are kind of obvious. They're not really ground-breaking, shocking twists- I just feel like I've seen most of them before. Along with the predictable twists, I also had a few minor issues with suspension of disbelief which I can't really go into because of spoilers, but I'll just say that some aspects of the novel had me going "really??"
The world building was pretty decent. It definitely seemed as if quite a lot of thought went into planning the "paradise" where Wren lives- the rules, the deity/creator known as "Dot", the secrets... Badger also does an excellent job of building up tension, and pairing that with the gradual peeling away of the layers of the world made for quite a satisfying read.
State of Grace probably isn't the most unique and unpredictable book out there, but it's certainly an intriguing and well executed story that you should get your hands on if you're tired of the dystopian craze.
World Building: 3.5/5