Graceling by Kristin Cashore (October 1st 2008—Harcourt)
Grade: 5 stars out of 5
Summary: Katsa can kill a man without even batting an eyelash for she has the Grace of killing. Her uncle, Randa, had taken Katsa under his wing since she was an infant, but he exploits her ability and sends her on various missions to show that the king is always in power—murdering those who stole from the king, broken arms or fingers if you go against the king.
But Katsa has her own missions aside from the king’s orders. During one of theses mission she runs into this a skilled fighter, but not skilled enough to take her down. When she later arrives home she soon discovers that this stranger happens to be Prince Po from Lienid, an island country. While she is shocked about this, she later befriends him in the most extraordinary way.
Together they will go an adventure to discover what has happen in another country that left his sister, the Queen, locked up in her room. And they will also discover something about their feelings along the way…
Review: Graceling was gorgeously put together and packaged with a beautiful bow presenting itself to the lucky readers.
Let’s start with the world that Kristin has created. It is luscious, detailed, and filled with imagery. What is even more helpful is that if you do happen to be troubled, there is a map in the book that shows the countries and has symbols to point out key locations. Think of Eragon if you will. However, I do have to mention that the various names and overly descriptive backgrounds of each country may bog the reader down. I know for me, it forced me stop reading for some time. It was around the first couple of pages, 30 or so, that made me frustrated—it gave too much at one time. I got lost in the details, in the many names, and the situations.
After I got through the muck, Katsa turned out to be a thrilling character. She was a strong female character who can kick almost everyone’s butt. She had strive, devotion, respect, and a clever mind. However, her stubbornness may be a flaw at points, along with some others—which can also give dimensions to her ever expanding character. She desires to bear no children or wedding rings, which later aggravates me especially at the ending with Po. I am all for being independent, but remaining lovers despite equal feelings on both sides kind of does not make sense to me. Okay, it kind of does. Not being chained down, not being forced to think that someone owns you. It just a pet peeve I guess.
Po, weird name I know, was the pretend laidback, but highly sensitive character that played off Katsa very well. He brought out the feminine side of her, her love aspect. He, himself, also plays his own role. He was selfish but also unselfish; he was the sweet gentle man but also filled with anguish. And he can also kick some major booty as well.
Speaking of lovers, I feel that I have to point out that there is indeed sex in this novel. While it may not be explicit, explicit, I have to recommend to mothers who wants to know if their 12 year old daughter can read this or not. Do not unless they are mature enough. So I definitely recommend this book to the older teen group.
Katsa and Po’s relationship develops over a period of time. Nothing too elaborate or fast paced. I definitely felt that this love does not hinder the plotline at all. In fact, I think it may have helped it in some areas. It gave the reason behind Katsa’s decision to leave Po behind a bit of a small heartbreak. But overall more depth, that there truly was a decision behind it all—their reasons and actions. So was it cliché? In some aspects sure. There were twists and surprise, however, which left me smiling at the unexpected events.
Overall: A wonderful and amazing read! I am definitely stalking this new author and cannot wait to see what she has in store!
P.S. Me + summaries = Yan pounding head on desk...repetitively