The Vicious Grace by Emily Thiede #BookReview #EpicFantasy #YA

You can listen to this review without being directed to another site by just pushing play above.

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!

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?

What’s it about (in a nutshell):

This Vicious Grace is an explosive epic fantasy in a delightfully immersive world populated by complex characters that find their way into your heart and mind. This is one of the best books by a debut author I have read this year.

Initial Expectations (before beginning the book):

Looking at the cover, I see a young woman holding or picking a lemon. It looks like blood is dripping down the “I” in Vicious. It has a sort of Garden of Eden feel, though she is holding the lemon instead of an apple. The blurb on the cover, “Her Gift Can Save, or It Can Kill,” gives away the most about the story. This is a debut fantasy, so there may be components that reflect that – world-building that is incomplete or not immersive, etc. The blurb speaks of a young woman who has the gift to magnify her partner’s magic but has not found that partner. She must find that partner to survive the coming storm of demons. This Vicious Grace sounds like an intense “chosen one” epic fantasy with magic, demons, and more.

Actual Reading Experience:

I wasn’t sure what to expect before I started this book and it surprised and delighted me in all the best ways. There is absolutely nothing about this story that indicates it was written by a debut writer.

The world-building is immersive and detailed. I found myself quickly drawn into this land. It’s beautiful and has some elements that are unique and others that are relatable, making me feel like I could truly experience it with all my senses. It felt like there was a mix of Italian and maybe Spanish influences, and the island felt like one found in the Mediterranean.

The slow-burn romance felt very authentic while at the same time in keeping with the magic, abilities, and responsibilities of the characters. It’s definitely a romance that will carry even the most hardened heart away and make romance lovers swoon.

I loved how the theme of loneliness versus community played out. That is the most impactful aspect of this first book of the story. How Alessa’s loneliness is conveyed is relatable and touching.

I loved the main characters – Alessa and Dante – and found them intriguingly layered and well-developed. The only thing that caused me a little bit of disappointment was the support characters. In a tale as rich as this one in world-building and character development, I would love to have that richness stretched to include the support characters. They came off as a bit one-dimensional and possibly even stereotypical.


Alessa is the island’s Finestra – a person given the power to amplify someone else’s magic ability. She is supposed to choose a magic wielder (Fonte), pair with them in marriage, and destroy the wave of demons that will be coming. She is strong and determined, asking for forgiveness rather than permission.

Dante is a fighter that Alessa found when she needed someone of her own hiring to protect her from the island’s inhabitants. He is a loner, loves to study the island’s history, and is a skilled fighter. He helps Alessa figure out more about herself and where her strengths lie.

To Read or Not to Read:

This is a highly immersive epic fantasy in which lovers of the genre will be happy they dove into and followed Alessa on her journey of self-discovery, love, and righting past wrongs.

My Rating:

Rating: 4.5 out of 5.

18 Replies to “The Vicious Grace by Emily Thiede #BookReview #EpicFantasy #YA”

  1. The blurb caught my attention more than the cover, which feels kind of busy. I love slow burn romances, and the Mediterranean vibe along with the magic adds a little heat- sounds great!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. This sounds really good, Tessa. It has a great hook. I ran over to Amazon and sighed at the price. I need to check out reading for Netgalley because these kindle books are all so expensive. I wonder if they’d be satisfied if I only read one or two books a month. Hmmm. Thanks for sharing another awesome-sounding read. Amazing for a debut author. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

      1. I don’t even know, but what a great thing to find out! There’s a fee to join out library, so I’m not a member (one of the disadvantages of living in a teeny town). It would be worth signing up though. Thanks!

        Liked by 1 person

        1. Oh, wow – I didn’t know libraries couldn’t charge for membership. I’m in a small town but close to a large city, so everything is done county-wide including the library system.

          Liked by 1 person

Comments are closed.