State of Grace

Finished State of Grace by Hilary Badger.  I received a copy from the publisher for review.

Summary (from Goodreads):

Ever since she was created, Wren has lived in an idyllic garden with her friends. Wren’s deity Dot ensures the trees are laden with fruit and the water in the lagoon is crystal clear. Wren and her friends have everything they could possibly need right there, in Dot’s Paradise.

If only Wren could stop the strange, disturbing visions she’s started having. Do these visions make her less worthy of Dot’s love? And what does Blaze, the most beautiful and mysterious of Dot’s creations, know about what’s going on in Wren’s head?

Wren is desperate to feel Dot’s love, just like everyone else. But that’s harder than ever when a creation she’s never met before arrives in the garden. He claims to be from outside and brings with him words and ideas that make Wren’s brain hurt.

Gradually Wren and Blaze uncover the truth: they’re part of a clinical trial of an ominous drug called Grace.

And as she deals with this disturbing knowledge, Wren confronts a horrific secret from her past. Now she must decide whether to return to the comforting delusion of faith or fight for the right to face the very ugly truth.”

This is a very interesting take on the utopian-that-is-really-a-dystopian trope.  Initially, Wren’s life and world seem pretty close to ideal: she’s friends with everyone else who lives there, and everyone seems kind and good and no one has any real issues.

And then cracks start to show.

One of her friends starts to become a little violent; another is questioning whether Dot (their deity) really exists.

Now Wren has to figure out how she wants to live and if she wants to risk the life she has for the life she could have.

This is a very interesting premise and it’s well-told.  I wish it had been a little bit longer and that Wren’s growing sense of unease had been a little slower, but overall everything made sense and flowed well.

I look forward to seeing what Hilary Badger does next.


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