Thursday, March 21, 2013

Book Review: Graceling

by  Kristin Cashore
Date Read:  3/17/2013

Rating:  ★ ★ ★ ★

This book actually deserves 4.5 stars. But I cannot justify 5 stars because there were some things that I didn't like in this book. But if you took those few things out, this was a great book.

I thought the concept of the Gracelings was unique. Certain people being graced with certain abilities. Some abilities are helpful, so hurtful, and some to be used in bad ways by bad people. I felt bad that in some kingdoms, gracelings were looked upon as a sort of illness and they avoided them at all costs. But the world was very interesting. All the Kings weren't evil. There were decent people who wanted to help in all the different kingdoms. I really ended up liking this world.

At the beginning, the world was a little overwhelming. A lot of names of people and kingdoms were thrown at the reader, and there was no way I was able to keep them straight. But as the story went on, it focused on just a few of those kingdoms so I really began to understand it all. But there are still some kingdoms that I don't know much about.

For the most part I liked Katsa and Po's relationship. I loved their banter back and forth and how they would protect each other no matter what. I loved watching their relationship form. This book did a very good job at character and relationship development. Nothing ever felt like it happened too fast. This book felt soo long, and thought it was long at 472 pages, it still felt longer. In some ways that was a bad thing, and some ways a good thing. That means that I felt that everything that developed in this book had good timing.

The action scenes were great. I loved watching Katsa learn to respect herself and control herself. She had a lot of self-discovery. However, I never understood her opposition to marry. There were no good reasons. Whereas in the Hunger Games, I understood completely why Katniss didn't want children, because they would be subjected to the reaping and perhaps be chosen and killed in the Hunger Games. That is a pretty darn good reason. But Katsa didn't have those reasons. There were really no good reasons. I didn't understand it. And I'm very pro marriage, to not having good reasons, I can't understand why you wouldn't want to get married and have a family. If you're living with someone and you love them and you'd protect them with all measures, why not get married? What's the difference when you get married? I don't get it.

The major thing I didn't like in this book was the casual sex in the middle of the book. In the end it didn't add to the story at all. We knew Katsa and Po had a relationship, we didn't need the random sex. And some of the details afterward. I just thought it was weird and not needed. And I hate the message that it sends to young girls. And it really bothered me that Po told her that she'd take whatever she'd give him. What man does that? That really turned me off for a while. In the end I know they had a certain understanding between them, but it really bugged me.

The story also turned in to a traveling story for quite a while. Katsa and Bitterblue spent pages and pages just traveling over the mountains. I found myself skimming the pages to get back to the good stuff. I find it hard to just read about traveling, but I know others like it, because people read the Lord of the Rings. lol. But it's just not for me. I know it added to Katsa's strength and to show what Bitterblue had to endure, but it just got old.

I really liked Bitterblue. What a fiesty little thing. I loved that she would stand up for herself and how mentally strong she was for such a young girl. I cannot wait to read her story actually. I would love to watch her mature even more.

This book had more closure that I've ever read. I usually find myself cursing at authors because they didn't give me enough closure. But this one had almost too much of it! The bad guy was dead and I still had 17% left...well, I guess that number was slightly skewed because the book actually ended at 94% (so I guess I had 10% left which doesn't sound quite as bad). But when the book is 472 pages, that's almost 50 pages of closure! [Spoiler: I didn't see Po's blindness coming at all. It didn't surprise me much once I thought about it though. And it was actually a very good ending. The story was still happy, but it was interesting to watch him deal with this. But the reader still knows that because of his grace, he can still see, so he didn't lose everything. He just sees the world differently now.]

Overall I thought it was a very good book. A little long. And there were a couple things that were hard to get passed, but it was a very good book. I will definitely read the sequels. I definitely want to know more about Bitterblue's story. And I'm not sure what Fire is about. But I look forward to reading it to find out.


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