Saturday, May 5, 2012
Graceling by Kristin Cashore
Katsa has been able to kill a man with her bare hands since she was eight—she’s a Graceling, one of the rare people in her land born with an extreme skill. As niece of the king, she should be able to live a life of privilege, but Graced as she is with killing, she is forced to work as the king’s thug.
When she first meets Prince Po, 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 learn 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.
With elegant, evocative prose and a cast of unforgettable characters, debut author Kristin Cashore creates a mesmerizing world, a death-defying adventure, and a heart-racing romance that will consume you, hold you captive, and leave you wanting more.
A quick scan of its goodreads page tells me that Graceling's been rated almost 59,000 times, and at least 100 of my friends have read it. Clearly I have been slacking on catching up with the rest of the world, but at least I'm finally getting there, because Graceling is totally worth all the hype.
It was initially difficult for me to get into Graceling because it's so very "fantasy" in every way. The character names are odd, so I had trouble getting used to them, and there is so much world-building to be done that the beginning is a bit slow. The book also centers around Katsa's big epic quest to save the kingdom, which is a rather traditional storyline. However, once it gets going, Katsa's journey is so exciting that I forgot all about the slow start. Katsa and Po go so many places and encounter people from numerous kingdoms, so there is never really a dull moment. And, with all the fighting and action that goes on, even the sections where their journey slows are never boring.
However, what makes me like Graceling so much is that it has the rare quality of making me feel so many things that I don't care about the imperfections. For example, I really don't like how quickly the ending happened. It seemed that as soon as Katsa's journey reached its most intense point, the moment was over. But while I was reading that point, I could not have cared less. I flipped the page to that point and my thoughts consisted mostly of gasping and "AHH"s. I had a similar emotional reaction to pretty much every aspect of this book. Every Grace related twist, every adorable Katsa and Po moment, every infuriating Katsa and Po moment, every fight scene, every moment of Katsa being incredibly fierce, and everything in between: ALL THE FEELINGS.
There are characters and scenes I wanted more developed in Graceling, but I loved reading it so much that I will happily sings its praises forevermore.
Book details: Graphia/Paperback/$9.99
Source: sent by publisher for review