Book Review: Grace Under Fire By Frog and Esther Jones

It’s the 21st Century, and magic users are outlaws. The public considers summoners evil and in league with the Devil. So when someone or something wipes out the entire Spokane Grove, police are baffled and wary. After all, what is more powerful than a group of summoners?

Grace Moore is a foodie–and a mid-level Seattle summoner–sent to investigate the murders. Robert is a love-sick teenager who accidentally discovers his talent for summoning. The Demon that’s been unleashed upon Spokane targets Robert as its next meal.

Grace must save Robert, then train him to fight at her side if she has a hope of living through this. The only problem? Robert may not want anything to do with Grace or his new powers.

I loved this 24 chapter book. It was narrated in Grace’s first person point-of-view and in Robert’s first person point-of-view, each rotating chapters. As a reader, I appreciated how the story would show an event through one person’s eyes, then the next chapter would rewind a little bit to show what the other person experienced during that time frame. It was definitely neat when this technique was used for the mall scene.

Since I’m a writer, I carry a black notebook with me everywhere I go. It was a cool concept that Grace’s black notebook was like a passport or I.D., something where she could keep her summoners information in.

My favorite lines were: 1) “Mix the truth into the lie; always made it smoother.” 2) “I decided to go with honesty, up to a point, I hate keeping track of lies.” 3) “I didn’t think I acted like someone who loved to go on suicide missions. I thought of myself as a bookish type.”

I enjoyed the beginning, how we meet Grace and the Council of Summoners she’s involved in. I like how Robert’s high school life was introduced, how he beat the  odds of the geeky bandmate getting with the beautiful cheerleader. But turned out Jeanelle used him until her athlete ex-boyfriend took her back. All this tied into how when Grace and Robert meet, they’re strangers. I liked that they didn’t know each other; that the relationship was in the beginning stages, that they had to learn to trust each other. Both had trust issues.

My favorite scenes: 1) the scene where the Council treats Grace as a sacrificial lamb. They tell her she has to travel to Spokane to investigate a gruesome of murders that people more powerful than her couldn’t survive against 2) the mall scene–had many different layers. First, disgusting event, then fear, then action, then suspense, then humor 3) when they reach Uncle Herman’s cabin for the first time. I loved how Robert pondered back to his childhood to realize crazy uncle in fact wasn’t crazy after all 4) the jail scene–loved the action and with Robert trying his best to help Grace escape even though he’s still only a newbie to his powers.

The story was very entertaining. It had many different layers–one minute there would be sarcastic humor, next action, next drama (sad backstory for Robert), next suspense sitting on edge of seat worried about their safety. I liked that the explanations of Summoners and how they used magic and their equipment was used in the tone of the characters. It didn’t sound like the explanation belonged in an encyclopedia nor did it drag on, slowing the pace down.

Questions rose throughout the story and answers were revealed at the end. The only thing I still wonder about: what happened to Jake, Robert’s best friend, after all the violence in the mall? Did he survive? Get hurt?

Both authors had a brilliant talent with characterization and voice. Both point-of-views were so distinctive that it wasn’t confusing to read. I enjoyed Grace’s sarcastic sense of humor; she was 32 years old, dealing with a lot of obstacles. She had to keep the town of Spokane safe all the while avoiding the cops. Had to mentor Robert and keep him safe. I like how she called him out on his behavior, how she never gave up. It was fun reading their back and forth; his teenager ways plucked her last nerves LOL.

  • Robert was 17 years old; I found him the most engaging. His narration had a way of speaking with the reader as though we were right beside him, experiencing the same things as him. It felt like he was talking directly to me, allowing me to get lost in the story. I felt bad for him because he was an orphan who kept being transferred to foster homes–some violent, some whack jobs. Then he finds out his uncle passed away. I liked that he was a typical teen (full of resentment, manipulated his current foster parents, tested his boundaries to see what he could get away with, felt alone). It was cool that the Summoner’s world was all new to Robert; he talked about it in a naive, child like manner so he could cope. For example, instead of seeing the monster as a demonic, gigantic raccoon terrorizing the city, he associated the monster to one of his childhood idols–which gave it the nickname Rick.
  • Both characters (all of them really) were three-dimensional. Definitely not Mary Sue or Gary Stu types.

I RECOMMEND this book to read.

For more information on the book or authors:

Keep smiling,

Yawatta Hosby

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