I really liked The Savage Grace by Bree Despain. It has a unique spin on a classic werewolf story, particularly with the inclusion of religious elements. Some went a little too far, in my opinion, but it turned out to be a really great read.
The third and final book in the Dark Divine trilogy, The Savage Grace continues right where The Lost Saint dropped off. Nick is stuck in wolf form and Grace will do anything to get the Nick she loves back. As a wolf, Nick is literally running farther and farther away from home and himself, and to Grace’s horror, away from her. She is desperate to find yet another cure to an unlikely predicament, no matter the cost.
I admire Grace’s strength and drive. She’s a very strong heroine with the typical flaws that make her seem more human, or not human in this case. Her struggle to not succumb to the werewolf curse inside her was totally believable, and it added an extra delightful layer to the story. Her relationship with Nick seemed real as well. I really enjoyed watching them interact. I could certianly feel the love between them.
I think the main focus in this novel was the relationships between Grace and everyone she loves: Nick, her dad, her brother, etc. Most of the relationships were well-built, except the relationship between Grace and her brother, Jude, confused me. I get that as siblings they love each other deep down even though Jude went off the deep end, but I felt like Despain was trying to create a form of redemption in this novel and it didn’t really do it for me. This redemption is somewhat tragic, so maybe that’s why I’m not thrilled with it. During the climactic end, a lot is going on. I felt like this moment of redemption could have been more built up, it kind of got lost in the chaos at the end, which is sad. It’s a very important part of the story. There wasn’t really any interation between Grace and Jude other than arguing between them, so I felt like there wasn’t enough there in the end to tap into my emotions. However, the moment in the end between Grace and Jude gave me goosebumps.
An originally delighful but ultimately very, very strange part of this series, is the inclusion of religious elements. I thought it was nice to see a “christian” perspective of being a werewolf. I commend Despain for taking on this — what could be — controversial task. I found it cool at first, because I feel as if that is how I would look at things if I were in that situation. However, I think Despain went a little too far. At one point, Grace is the equivalent of Jesus, complete with healing ears cut off by her “disciples” and other miraculous, famous acts of Jesus Christ. It honestly made me uncomfortable, and it distracted me from the story. I know that sounds like a really stuffy religious person thing to say, but it’s the truth. I didn’t exactly understand what Despain was trying to do by comparing Grace to Jesus. Maybe if I understood it better, I wouldn’t hate it so much.
Overall, I thought this series was really good. I was thoroughly involved throughout each novel and became attached to the characters. I even enjoyed how Despain wrapped it all into a pretty package in the end, complete with a bow. I think anyone who enjoys romantic werewolf stories will like this book. It has it’s own original spin so it won’t be anything you’ve read before.