Thursday, October 4, 2012
Graceling, by Kristin Cashore
- Graceling Realm #1
Release date: October 1st 2008
Published by: Harcourt
Genre: Young Adult/ Fantasy
Find it on: Goodreads, Amazon
In a world where people born with an extreme skill - called a Grace - are feared and exploited, Katsa carries the burden of the 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 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.
I'm ashamed to admit that I didn't have high expectations when it came to Graceling. I've seen some really good reviews around lately, people loving this book to death, but for me, it wasn't all that good. I'm not saying that Graceling is a bad book (far from it!) but it didn't hold my attention the way I wanted to. It took me nearly three weeks to read a 400-page book, and that's too much for me.
The world-building and the characters are really solid, and when I say solid, I mean it. They're consistent, and complex enough for you to understand their motivations, but still know that there's more to it than it looks like. I've learned to read Katsa's point of view and think of her like a real person, not a character. That's pretty damn impressive. Kristin Cashore has a way with words, and because of that, she can create realistic scenarios and beautiful descriptions that are as detailed as possible without being boring.
I had no idea what to expect from Po and Katsa's relationship - on the summary it says that they become friends, but I've seen a lot of people saying that they're cute as a couple, so I didn't know what to believe - and I was incredibly satisfied when Kristin Cashore took this aspect of the book down to a whole different road. I can say for sure that their romance, and their friendship, are intertwined, and it's as perfect as it can possibly be. I'm happy about how this turned out.
However, I had a hard time connecting with everything in Graceling. I could see how the descriptions were beautiful and could be very engaging, but it failed to capture me. I wasn't enthralled by Katsa's awesome fighting skills - they were very cool, though - and while I understood and liked Po a lot, I didn't fall for him, not the way I wanted to. Graceling was pretty entertaining, but I'm afraid I can't say it's one of my favorites. I will continue reading this series, though. It has a lot of promise, and I still hope that Cashore will manage to wow me and show me what she's really capable of doing with her readers.