Graceling, by Kristin Cashore

I guess it was my fault that because I chose to read two amazing books in the same week (Graceling-below-and The Hunger Games), everything else I try to read doesn't hit home. Not to mention that each of these books has a sequel/prequel coming out soon that I'm much anticipating. But I have to wait, which doesn't much help the satiate-the-unhappy-reader quest that's now started. I need to find more well-written books like these!
Anyway, I didn't want to post two book reviews back-to-back (I'm striving for a mixed-plate here), but this one is just too good NOT to review.

The book I'm talking about is called Graceling, and it is a debut novel (a debut novel!), by Kristin Cashore.

In a world where people born with an extreme skill--called a Grace--are feared and exploited, Katsa carries the burden of a skill even she despises: the Grace of killing. She lives under the command of her uncle Randa, King of the Middluns, and is expected to execute his dirty work, punishing and torturing anyone who displeases him.

When she first meets Prince Po, who is Graced with combat skills, Katsa has no hint of how her life is about to change.

She never expects to become Po's friend.
She never expects to lean a new truth about her own Grace--or about a terrible secret that lies hidden far away. . .a secret that could destroy all seven kingdoms with words alone.

"I'll tell you my reasons if you'll tell me yours."
"I'll tell you nothing, and you must let me pass."
"Must I?"
"If you don't, I'll have to force you."
"Do you think you can?"

My Thoughts
The main characters: Katsa is a kick-butt heroine, and one tough chick. She's also smart and (contrary to her own beliefs) caring. Po is the perfect hero in this story, who is blessed with an awesome Grace, and has a funny, but not overwhelming, sense of humor. Both are not without their faults, which makes for interesting and believable actions from both characters.

The Story: I loved, loved, loved, this story. In the ever-growing fiction genre, it's really nice to find a book that's original not only in it's magical (the Graces) elements, but also in the writer's voice. This is partially a love story with a romantic tale, but it has enough action to fill the book and keep the reader entertained throughout. I found myself needing to know what would happen next with each new chapter. I loved the subtle hints that were given throughout the book that were easy to pick up on (every book needs those). And I also loved the things that hit me in the face as they were revealed. Talk about some good WOW moments!

Negative Nancy: All good books have their weak points, and this one is no exception. In regards to characters, I loved that Katsa is such an independant individual...BUT I think she may have been too independent and tough for my tastes. My motto: "Once the girl's hair comes off, I officially don't care for her." :) Luckily, the story kept me involved enough to keep reading. Also, I thought the pacing lagged in some parts, but it wasn't enough to take me completely out of the story.

My biggest problem with the book I can't discuss here, because it would be a huge spoiler. But take comfort in knowing that there are others who do discuss this, so feel free to spoil yourself with them.

Recommended reading for mature teenagers and older. If violence isn't your thing, you may want to pass on this book. There isn't a lot of detail, but Katsa is "Graced to kill" and does so in sometimes gruesome ways. Also, there is implied sex; not graphically described, but with enough information that you can get what's going on. As far as swear words, I wish I had paid more attention, but I'm not sure if I remember any (I was too into the book). I can't be sure that there weren't, so please don't take my word for it.

The prequel, Fire, comes out in October of this year. I read the synopsis and think I may die of waiting. Seriously. Once you read Graceling, I dare you to read the synopsis of Fire and not get excited. Just don't read it until you've finished Graceling. :)

Click here to purchase Graceling from Amazon.com.

1 comment:

  1. Wow, I haven't heard of these books before - I'll have to look into them. I totally understand that feeling of being let down by every other book after reading such good ones!


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