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Thursday, June 21, 2012

Review: Graceling by Kristin Cashore

Graceling (Graceling Realm, #1)Pages: 472 (hardcover)
Spoilers: High
Rating: 3 
Summary from Goodreads:
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 

Finally! It took me forever to write this.

I picked up Graceling because the reviews were really good on goodreads. I expected to really like it. But I ended up being underwhelmed.

I really liked it at first. I felt engaged and could fell the potential of an amazing story oozing off the pages. But it started to lose me after a while. The action fizzled. It tried to pick to pick back up again with A LOT of added action but by that point I was gone. 

The romance was adequate. I really liked Po. He is a typical wet dream hero. He's kind, understanding, attractive, and doesn't care that Katsa beats the shit out of him, and of course has no faults.

Katsa really confuses me. She says she doesn't want to get married or have children. Hey me either. But every time she and Po have sex or I don't know, look at each other the author makes a point to say that Katsa will not get married or have children. I get it! It's explained that Katsa doesn't want the freedom he would "give" her to be a gift. Maybe I don't understand what most marraiges are like: a partnership between two people who love each other? Isn't that what she and Po have? Maybe marriage is different in this world. I don't know. I get the message Cashore is trying to say, but I don't think it was executed well. 

Do not read this part if you don't like spoilers.

So Katsa and Po went off the find Bitterblue (Po's cousin) that is the princess in a neighboring land and to find out why her father kidnapped Po's grandfather (or uncle, I can't remember). It turns out that the King had a mind control grace and was actually evil and wanted to hurt Bitterblue. They find her and are going to help her. So Po goes to try kill the King but gets hurt, so he makes Katsa to go on without him because he's dead weight . This leaves Katsa to have to take Bitterblue to Po's family on the other side of the fictional world. They must pass over a dangerous mountain because everywhere else is guarded except this one as no one has ever survived going over it. 

They make it after a rather boring, but supposed to be, excitement. The King's there controlling Po's family and Katsa. Well he threatens Po so she kills him. Yay the end, right? The problem of the story has been resolved right? Right. But alas the book continues on.

No now I must mutter through Katsa and Po's family going to find Po (while they discuss why she's not married to him, come on I am over this). Oh and Bitterblue has suddenly stared talking like a 30 year old. What? Anyway they make it to Po and he's not himself, and being all moody, and I don't give a shit anymore. Turns out he's now blind! Dun dun duh. Shoot me. That has no point! At all. Why would you add it? My only guess is so he has a fault. Or for some shock value. But the problem is, that it's not shocking, it's completely useless. 

But I will say that I liked it. As far as a young adult fantasy novel it's good. Adequate action and intensity in the beginning. And I liked the scene where Katsa kills the King. I could pretty much leave the rest. Including the second half of the romance. It got real repetitive real fast.



  1. Great review! I felt the same way about the pacing of this book. It got off to a promising start, lost its momentum for a while, then tried to recover with nonstop action.

  2. LOL! I love your GIFs. Sorry you didn't enjoy the book, I loved it from start to finish, I had pacing issues with the second one Fire, and then loved the thrid Bitterblue again (actually Bitterblue's my favourite of the lot).

  3. I'm all hesitant about this starting this book. I've heard some really great things about it. But I guess everyone has their own tastes. Thanks for the honest review =) Oh and love the gifs.
    I tagged you in the Liebster Blog Award. Check here for details:


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