Release Date: October 1, 2008Review: High-fantasy is really not my thing, and when I started this book, I was reminded why. There were too many unfamiliar location names, the language was strange and it seemed like there wasn't anything interesting going on. It took me around 60 to 70 pages to actually get into this book, but I ended up enjoying it.
Publisher: Harcourt Children's Books
Page Number: 471
Synopsis: 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.
My feelings for the book throughout my reading experience:
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At first, Katsa was really awesome. She totally kicked butt and she was admirably independent. This book is written in third person, and as the case usually is in that kind of POV, I didn't particularly connect with Katsa, but I still liked her. I also really liked Raffin (Katsa's cousin and best friend) and Po. Po was an odd character. I loved him for the first half of the book. By the end of the book, he's transformed completely, and although I do understand how drastically things for him changed throughout the course of the book, I still wish he was more like he was in the beginning. I felt that he was too vulnerable and broken by the end.
I had a love/hate relationship with the romance in this book. For the first half of the book, I adored Katsa and Po's friendly, yet flirty relationship. I even liked the angst in the midsection. But then... things got too... insta-intimate for me. I mean, (*slight spoiler*) their first kiss led immediately to their... erm, first time. I didn't like that abruptness. Afterwards, their relationship turned into more of a physical one, fueled by lust rather than love. There were still portions that convinced me they were truly in love, but there were also parts that kind of made me question it.
The plot was slow, yet entertaining. Sometimes, I would get completely sucked into Kristin Cashore's world and I wouldn't be able to put the book down. But sometimes, mostly during Katsa and Bitterblue's journey together, I felt like things became too repetitive and dragged on. I think that the book could have been shorter. The climax was kind of anticlimatic, which I was disappointed by.
Also, random note, this book's length is freaking strange. Like, seriously. I have no idea why, but it took me a long time to get through this book, and it's not because I was reading sporadically or anything. I think it was the formatting or maybe the font size... I don't really know, but usually, if reading one book for a whole day, I'd finish or at least be close to finishing. For this book, I read it for one whole day, and I was still only half way in.
Graceling has definitely changed my perspective of high-fantasy. I'm not exactly eager to read more of the genre, but Graceling is one of those great books that seem to defy my general reading rules. I think this book could've been a standalone. But there's a second and third book, so I'll have to pick those up soon.