Monday, July 30, 2012
A Savage Conclusion
Werewolves are tricky business. They are right up there with vampires in the "played out" category. But Bree Despain got in before the market was flooded and gave us a different kind of werewolf book. She gave us one full of mythology and faith and curses and real wolves. In The Savage Grace, her Dark Divine series comes to a thrilling and bittersweet conclusion.
Grace has sacrificed everything for Daniel. She has been infected with the Urbat curse (werewolfiness), she has forsaken her family (granted her brother just tried to kill her), and she was forced to kill Daniel, the man she loves. Of course she only killed his wolfie, evil half, but now he has transformed into a giant white wolf and he can't shift back into a human. As each day passes, Daniel, the pack's true alpha, loses more and more of his connection to humanity and gets farther away from Grace. Not to mention he has left her with the "Lost Boys", the boys from Grace and Daniel's pack, now that Daniel has claimed Grace as his mate (a fact her father was NOT thrilled to learn about).
Grace throws herself into finding a way to bring Daniel back to the two-legged, less furry kind of boyfriend, but she is so concerned with saving Daniel, she doesn't realize how much danger she could be putting her friends and family in. Not to mention, she has two crazy packs after her for two very different reasons. Caleb, Daniel's insane father, has a pack of Urbats, demons and vampires ready to overthrow the pack and kill as many people as he can. That doesn't even consider Sirhan's ancient pack, who want Grace because they think she is the Divine One. But Grace feels like anything but Divine. She feels like she has failed everyone she has ever loved. Is redemption even a possibility at this point?
I am always a little skeptical about a book that has religion as a backdrop and not the focus. If it is the focus, I know what I am getting myself into and what to expect. If religion is a backdrop, it can either be handled very well, or it can become too preachy where it feels like a sneaky way to shame and guilt. I hate that. So I know I was skeptical at first that there was a religious element to this book, but it wasn't preachy or obnoxious in any way. In fact, it was so much a part of Grace and her family that a beautiful and faithful acceptance came out of all of them. It was the type of faith you can respect and appreciate rather than feel lectured by. I loved this part of Grace, and in the end, it was her compassion that set her and Daniel apart from the rest of the Urbats out there. In a world of hurt and viciousness, Grace is a healer with the compassion to care about even the people who want to kill or enslave her. That is a beautiful underlying moral in this story.
As a conclusion, this story had it all: action, fighting, redemption, and a bittersweet finale. It was an ending you don't totally expect, but are completely satisfied with. There are some losses, of course, but there are also some beautiful connections. The first half of the book is all about saving Daniel, and the second half is all about the threat of the other packs, so the book is very divided from one end to the other. But this doesn't feel forced or stretched at any point; it is just the evolution of Grace in this final installment. If you loved the rest of the series, this is a graceful (pun intended) way to say goodbye to your beloved characters. You won't be sorry, except to see them go.