Wow. Well, let me just start off by saying that I didn’t expect to enjoy this book as much as I did. And I know that I was quite shady straight off the bat with this book, because after reading the blurb I wasn’t necessarily hyped for it. In fact I legitimately thought that this would be a 3 star read and it would have me rolling my eyes a lot of the time.
I was really only here for this book for the witchy vibes and the back of the book had me wondering if this was going to be a bit pretentious in places. But I have to say that my first impressions were completely wrong. So I’ll shut my mouth on that one and take back my cynical eye rolls!
Although having said that, there’s a reason why I wasn’t hyped for this book, and it is the blurb. It’s pretty awful – in my opinion. So I implore you, please try not to judge this book by the blurb on the back, because it doesn’t do the book any justice and the actual plot and story deserves a better blurb. At least in my opinion.
I know this book has mixed reviews, and not many people (when I’m writing this) have given this book flat out 5 stars. Perhaps it’s because I read this book at the exact right time I needed it in my life without even realising it. Perhaps I connected deeper than I initially thought I would. Who knows. But this book affected me in ways I didn’t expect.
I even made a Spotify playlist straight after reading it. Feel free to give it a listen as you check out my review!
Anyway, let’s start with the negative so we can end on a positive.
There’s a lot of swearing in The Scapegracers and let’s be clear – I’m not exactly a stranger to swearing. It’s a natural thing for me as well as many other people. And I don’t think swearing is a bad thing at all. But sometimes the swearing got a bit too much in The Scapegracers. There was something unnatural about the way all of the characters used swear words. It was almost like they were trying it out for the first time and hadn’t quite learned how to swear, because yes there are right and wrong ways to swear. Every now and then it worked, but more often than not it didn’t land, or it made me cringe or roll my eyes. Naturally these all took me out of the world, which was frustrating.
I really appreciated the female friendships in The Scapegracers, but the immediate acceptance of Sideways seemed a bit unrealistic to me. I went to an all-girls school, and female friendships are complicated let me tell you! And there was just something off about how Sideways was brought in so quickly and accepted by all three girls equally – it just seemed too convenient.
I loved the chapter titles, but sometimes they didn’t work with the chapters. I bring this up because some did, so it was noticeable when others didn’t. It’s a minor point really, but it still irked me a little.
Perhaps the biggest story problem that I had was the antagonists. When we are introduced to them they were really intense, and then…. we got nothing from them? It just seemed like a missed opportunity or a ‘why bother’ moment. I know they are probably waiting to come back in the sequel, but I just kept waiting for them to come back but they just…didn’t.
Ok, let me move on to some of the positives!
I really loved the story. I think that’s fairly obvious. And again, the blurb doesn’t do it justice. I didn’t realise that this was going to be a series when I went into it, but I’m so grateful for it! I have to admit that it really did surprise me to learn that this will be a series, because I had serious stand-alone vibes right up until the 80% mark! But I’m honestly excited to spend more time with these characters, and that’s probably because I connected deeply with a lot of the characters.
Another positive is that I loved the writing. I know this seems to have been something of a contentious point with other reviewers, but it worked for me. I liked the style and flow of it, and, other than the awkward swearing, a lot of the dialogue felt really natural.
I also appreciated the representation throughout The Scapegracers and it never felt like the author was checking a box or that I was getting beat over the head with it. It felt natural, genuine and real – as all representation should be!
I also really loved the magic system – the whole thing. I mean, obviously there’s the witchy vibes which I’m living for, but the magic system in itself was a lot of fun. I loved the whole spectres aspect and how they related to colours! I thought that was really unique and I enjoyed it immensely. It had me wondering what colour mine would be! My guess… either a gunmetal colour or a red so dark it’s almost black,
Alongside the magic system I also really appreciated the modern day setting without us needing to hang on how the abnormal is in the normal-ness. Ya know? We got to get on with the magic and not worry about it contrasting with the ‘real’ world.
I was also really enjoying the mystery and high-stakes of some scenes that were present throughout the book.
There’s probably so much more that I have to say. But I’m finding it hard not to fangirl as it is. So hopefully I’ve been coherent enough to tell you the pros and cons that I had with The Scapegracers.
I had a great time reading The Scapegracers and I can’t wait for the next book in the series!
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