Sunday, January 20, 2013

Rereading Graceling by Kristin Cashore

In these dungeons the darkness was complete, but Katsa had a map in her mind. One that had so far proven correct, as Oll's maps tended to do.

Here is what I said in my original reviewGraceling is one of my very favorite fantas
y novels. It's set in a land with seven kingdoms: Nander, Wester, Estill, Sunder, Monsea, Middluns, and Lienid. In the lands, some people are "Graced" with a special skill. Their eyes are different colors, and they are called Gracelings. It might be something harmless, like talking backwards, or something dangerous, like killing. Katsa is the niece of the king of the Middluns, and her grace is killing. Or is it? She meets Prince Po of Lienid, Graced with fighting skills (or is he?), who is searching for the reason that his grandfather got kidnapped. She and Po practice fighting often, and eventually, they set out on a journey to Monsea to investigate the suspicious King Leck of Monsea. Obviously, Katsa and Po fall in love on their way.

The characters in Graceling are really wonderful. Katsa is a great strong character, struggling with the way she sees herself, and Po-well, I love Po. There are a lot of surprises in the book, so I won't spoil it, but this is a really exciting fantasy. Definitely one of my Top 10 Books. There are two other books about this land, Fire and Bitterblue, which I look forward to reading. You can read Becky's review here."

As with Throne of Glass, I don't know why I wrote such a short review for a book I love so much. I just kind of glossed over a lot of things. The plot is amazingly suspenseful; you really can't put the book down, and you want to find out more about the characters. I really wish Cashore had written more books about Katsa and Po specifically. Fire and Bitterblue are very good too, but not as amazing. 

I think we can all admire a heroine who can "beat a man senseless with both arms tied to her sides", who can snap a neck like that, and easily outpower ten armed guards. And yet, unlike Throne of Glass's near perfect Celaena Sardothien (smart, athletic, attractive, bookish, musical), Katsa has her flaws: at the beginning of the book, she thinks that she's a savage monster because of her extreme killing ability. But others in the novel help teach her that that's not what she is: she's an extremely kind person (though maybe not to her horses), and she's helped a lot of people. And I just love Po too. The ending with Po is really sad, though I won't give it away. At least he doesn't die (oops). 

Graceling is one of those fantasy novels that are grounded in reality; it's set in a different world, but the only "magical" thing in it is the Graces. Everything else is very similar to our world (at least in the Graceling Realm. The Dells, the lands over the mountains, are full of fantastical things. Read about them in Fire). And I like that. Because you can really identify with the characters more. 

Read Graceling:
  • if you like fantasy 
  • if you are looking for a wonderful, action-packed book
  • if you like books with strong heroines
471 pages. 
Outstanding Book That Will Stay On My Bookshelf For Rereading (jf I own it)!

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