GracelingAuthor: Kristin Cashore
Length: 471 Pages
Paperback, via Amazon.com
Rating: 3.5 Brownies
Kristin Cashore’s best-selling, award-winning fantasy Graceling tells the story of the vulnerable yet strong Katsa, a smart, beautiful teenager who lives in a world where selected people are given a Grace, a special talent that can be anything from dancing to swimming. Katsa’s is killing. As the king’s niece, she is forced to use her extreme skills as his thug. Along the way, Katsa must learn to decipher the true nature of her Grace . . . and how to put it to good use. A thrilling, action-packed fantasy adventure (and steamy romance!) that will resonate deeply with adolescents trying to find their way in the world.
Considering how long it took me to write this review, I can tell you that this book left me feeling pretty conflicted.
I really, really wanted to love this book. I wanted to put it down, as it seemed so many others had done, lurching for my computer to order the next in the series. You may have gathered by this point that that did not happen. In fact, at times I found it difficult to read it for extended periods of time.
That said, I can't place all of the fault on the book itself. It's wonderfully written, and I loved how effortlessly Cashore uses a more traditional manor of speaking. Further, her words wove beautiful images inside my head and I was transported almost immediately to Katsa's enchanting world.
The Characters! Oh, the characters! I loved a good portion of them, namely Prince Po and Raffin, but I felt like I was only given a glimpse of who they were. I adored what I was shown, but to the same length, I felt robbed. After finishing the book it seemed as though someone had dangled an amazing character in front of my face, only to rip it away. At the end of the book, I never got that feeling of loss; the feeling you get when you realize how attached you've become to the characters, almost as though you knew them personally.
Which leads to another thing I struggled with while reading Graceling-- connecting to the heroine, Katsa. She had all the potential in the world to be an amazing female lead. She's strong, dignified and independent, yet caring and selfless with an inner sweet side. When I read the synopsis, I thought for sure that she would be one of my favorite characters. Unfortunately, though she did possess all of the aforementioned qualities, I never felt I could relate to her. This is one of the central reasons that I chose to give this novel 3.5 stars.
I never expected to give this book anything below a 4, but alas, here I am doing just that. 3.5 stars is NOT a terrible rating, and I did really enjoy the book. I'm not sure yet if I'll pick up the other two in the series, but I definitely don't regret reading Graceling.
I'm definitely in the minority giving it anything under 4 stars, so for that, I definitely recommend reading it. Statistically speaking, it's likely that your experience with it will be vastly different from mine. Also, the cover art is absolutely beautiful; every time I look at it, sitting proudly atop my bookcase, I develop a severe case of the goosebumps.
(Seen first on GoodReads)