Read a full summary of Grace and Fury, the first book in the Grace and Fury series. This page is full of spoilers, so beware! If you are looking for a spoiler-free review, check our rapid review. If you need a refresher on what happened in Grace and Fury, then you are in the right place!
***** Everything below is a SPOILER *****
What happened in Grace and Fury?
Serina Tessaro has trained her whole life to become one of the Heir’s graces, and her younger sister, Nomi, plans to be her handmaiden. The sisters travel to Viridia’s capital city, Bellaqua, escorted by their brother, Renzo. They reach the palace and are separated from him. Just before the Heir’s Graces are announced, Nomi wanders off and happens upon a room full of books in the pallazo. Women aren’t allowed to read, but Renzo secretly taught her as a child. She sees the book he had used. She can’t resist, so she takes it. The Heir, Malachai, and his brother Asa catch her in the hallway. She hides the book and says she’s on her way to the lavatory.
When it’s time for the Graces to be chosen, the first two are announced: Cassia and Maris. Nomi, not Serina, is chosen as the third and final Grace. She is asked if she wants Serina to stay on as her handmaiden, and she can’t refuse. When the sisters reach their room, they are in shock. Serina finds the book Nomi stole and is furious with her sister. The next day, Nomi convinces Serina to look in the book. Serina can’t read, but Renzo read to her as a child, and she has one of the stories memorized. As she recites the story, Ines, the Superior’s head Grace, walks in and assumes Serina is reading. Serina is taken away and sent to Mount Ruin, an island prison for women. Nomi is assigned a new handmaiden, Angeline.
On the ship to the prison, Serina befriends a small girl named Jacana. After Commander Ricci speaks with the girls, a young guard has Serina and Jacana sent to a camp called the Cave. There they meet the Cave’s leader, a fellow prisoner named Oracle. She tells the girls not to show weakness in what they’re about to witness. That night, the entire camp attends a fight in the amphitheater. Serina learns there are five different camps, and every time a boat comes with new prisoners, each camp chooses a champion to fight to the death. The winning camp receives the food rations for the coming days. That night, the Cave’s champion wins, and the Cave earns the rations.
Meanwhile, Nomi runs into the heir’s brother, Asa. He seems understanding and gentle. A few days later, she finds a book of Viridia’s history hidden in her room. She has no idea where it came from, and as time passes she wonders if Asa left it. After her first days in the pallazo, the time comes for the Premio Belaria, the world famous horse race. The Graces must attend. It is said that in some years, men and horses alike die in the brutal race. Asa won two years ago. During the race, Nomi finds Asa, and he tells her Serina was sent to Mount Ruin. He promises to meet with her secretly in three days.
Oracle starts training Serina to fight, and she struggles at first. Oracle gives her the nickname Grace. Serina practices for a week with a girl named Petrel, and when she grows tired, she goes for a walk on the island. Bruno, a brutish guard, catches her, but Petrel comes to her rescue. That night a new boat comes in, and it’s Petrel’s turn to fight. Petrel almost wins, but the final remaining fighter cheats, using a knife to kill her. That night, Serina wants some time alone, so she walks to the cliffs. There she meets the young guard who had her sent to the Cave. His name is Val, and he is different from the other guards. He is kind and warns her not to jump. She decides then that she must always fight back.
Nomi reads the book left in her room and learns that women used to rule the country of Viridia. She goes to meet Asa, and he is once again kind and understanding. He says Malachai is even worse than his father, and he must be removed from the line of the throne in order to make Viridia the nation Nomi dreams of. The two make a plan to frame Malachai for an attempt to have the Superior assassinated. The fake assassination attempt is set for the masquerade ball on the heir’s birthday. Nomi volunteers Renzo as the false assassin, claiming he is her cousin. She secretly writes him a coded letter.
Serina decides to escape Mount Ruin. She and Jacana plan to build a raft and flee the island. They run into Val, and Serina tells him she and Jacana need a secret place to get in the water and cool off. Val suggests some private beaches on the island’s east side, and the girls go there to make a raft. They find the perfect place, with trees and a cave for hiding their scheme. Not long after, a new boat of prisoners arrives. This time, Serina is chosen to fight. She is terrified, for surely she will die.
Before the fight, she takes some time to herself and runs into Val yet again. He tells her the Commander is throwing a crate of weapons into the ring, and she must go for one. She almost kisses him but then runs away. During the fight, Serina lunges for the crate. She finds a knife, and soon three of the fighters are already dead. It’s just Serina and Anika, the fighter from Hotel Misery. Serina gains the upper hand and corners Anika, but she can’t make herself kill her. Instead, she submits and is dragged from the stage.
Nomi attends a party on the Superior’s ship. The Superior forces her to dance with him, and that night she realizes he is far crueler than she ever knew. Later that night, she meets with Asa in the ship’s lower chambers. He tells her to trust no one but him and promises her she will see Serina again. She insists she can get the letter to Renzo, and Asa tells her a man she can give it to on her upcoming trip to a perfumery.
The next day the trip comes, and the Heir takes his Graces into the city. On the return trip, under the guise of choosing the Heir a gift in the market, she manages to slip the letter to the salesman Asa mentioned. After the trip, a storm blows in, and Nomi admits to the Heir that she’s afraid of storms. To her shock, he kisses her, and she runs away just after.
Serina tells the other members of the Cave that the women should start fighting back. Instead of listening, Oracle banishes her. Serina goes to the place on the beach where she had planned to build the raft. Jacana meets with her and suggests sharing her thoughts of rebellion with the other camp leaders. Serina takes her advice and starts by speaking to Slash, the leader of Hotel Misery. Slash says she’ll consider it but only if there’s a good plan. Serina goes back to the beach and finds Bruno waiting there. He attacks her, and she fights back. She kills him in self-defense. Just before he dies, his bullet grazes her arm, and she falls to the ground, hitting her head hard and going unconscious.
Nomi and the other Graces go to the beach with Malachai. He convinces Nomi to enter the water and tries to show her how to swim. Once again, she flees the Heir. Soon after, she visits him for the last time before the masquerade ball on his birthday. She sneaks a letter that could frame him for the assassination attempt into a book in his room. He tells her he was the one who had left the history book in her room and that Asa is not who he seems. The younger prince supposedly told a groom to sabotage the other racers the year he won the Premio Belaria.
How did Grace and Fury end?
Serina wakes to find that Val abandoned his post to help her. He says he came to the island because his mother was sent there for holding a secret school for girls in her home. Val was unable to save her, but he still has an escape plan. He wants to flee the island with Serina. She wants to take his offer, but she can’t leave Jacana. She promises to meet him after she goes to get Jacana, but when she finds her friend, guards surround her.
Serina and Jacana are taken to the fighting arena, where Commander Ricci waits. The other prisoners are called to the amphitheater, and slowly the stands fill. Ricci says Serina must choose one other woman to fight. It can be anyone, but even if she wins, he will kill her after. Serina refuses. Instead, she says she will fight Ricci himself, who laughs and agrees. He corners her, but just before he casts the final blow, the other women storm the arena, led by Oracle and Ember. Finally, the women overcome the guards. Commander Ricci dies in the fight, but so do Oracle, Slash, and Jacana. The remaining guards are cornered, and Val lowers his gun, turning to the women’s side and promising to help. The other women look to Serina for orders, as if she is now their leader.
The night of the masquerade arrives, and Nomi has thought more about Malachai’s warning. Finally, she decides she can’t trust Asa. She tells Maris to find Renzo, but she finds him herself and tells him to run. Nomi finds Asa in the antechamber with the Superior. She tells him Renzo, who she claims is her cousin, is not coming. Malachai enters the room, and just as he does, Asa pulls a dagger from his hip and kills his father. Malachai tries to stop the blood flow, but it’s too late.
Asa goes after Nomi next, but Malachai steps in and stops him. The brothers fight, and Malachai takes a knife to the stomach. Maris enters the room, and Asa has both girls and his brother thrown on a ship bound for Mount Ruin. He tells his guard to throw Malachai overboard as soon as he stops breathing. The book ends with Mount Ruin growing closer on the horizon. Nomi is banished, and the Heir is almost dead. But she has one final hope. Nomi will soon see her sister, just as Asa promised.
There you go! That’s what happened in Grace and Fury, the first book in the Grace and Fury series. Queen of Ruin, book 2, is set to be released on July 2, 2019!
Ready to order Queen of Ruin? Click to buy and help us pay for hosting.
Oh and share this with your friends who might like to read a recap of Grace and Fury.