Author: Kristin Cashore | Website
Publication Date: October 1st, 2008
My Interest: Book review suggested / Recommended
Age Group | Genre: YA | fantasy, adventure
Series: Yes, 1st in the series
I’ve been putting this review off for a couple of days because I just don’t know what to say about this book.
Firstly, it wasn’t my favorite. Secondly, I’m not even sure if I want to read the rest in the series, but alas, I’m OCD about it and I will.
Graceling is set in a world where some people are born with Graces–talents of extreme skill. The don’t manifest right away, but are known when the child’s eyes change color. Each actually become two different colors–the signifier of the Graced. Katsa finds out at a young age that she is Graced with killing, and that only adds twofold to the normal fear and exploitation of the Graced. Because of her Grace, she is sent to live under the whim and call of her Uncle, King Randa, where she is used to torture and kill his subjects who betray him.
But then she meets Prince Po, a Prince Graced with Combat skills, and her life changes dramatically. As she journeys with him, not only does she learn of a terrible secret locked away in another kingdom, but she also discovers the truth about her own Grace.
I must admit, I listened to this book via audiobook, and it was my first one, so I initially thought that was what influenced my dislike of this novel. But, I actually read the last couple of chapters, and I still didn’t like it. However, I love the imagination and idea of a “grace,” and the concept of the novel was interesting, but Katsa herself (which sounds too much like Katniss) annoyed me. Yes, she is a strong heroine and she can honestly take care of herself, but there just seemed to be a lot of feminist, I-can-do-everything-by-myself-I-have-no-weakness moments. It could be my literary brain reading into it, but she just didn’t have any flaws! I mean, come on! Everybody has some sort of issue.
The world building Cashore did was great though, and she had a lot of depth and history to not only the characters, but the land. It just seemed that at times, she forgot something, even something little, and her characters then fell flat.
It’s more of a YA read, but be warned there is violence (not too terribly graphic) and a sex scene. I’m interested in the following two novels because book two is a companion novel rather than sequel, and book three is sort of a sequel/companion. I’ve heard good things about both, so maybe they will redeem Graceling.
So far, I’ve definitely read better trilogies.
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