Tuesday, 1 October 2013

Graceling by Kristin Cashore

Title: Graceling

Author: Kristin Cashore
Series: The Seven Kingdoms #1
Publisher: Harcourt
Date Published: October 1, 2008
Buy: Amazon
Goodreads Summary
“His eyes, Katsa had never seen such eyes. One was silver, and the other, gold. They glowed in his sun-darkened face, uneven, and strange. She was surprised that they hadn’t shone in the darkness of their first meeting. They didn’t seem human….
Then he raised his eyebrows a hair, and his mouth shifted into the hint of a smirk. He nodded at her, just barely, and it released her from her spell.
Cocky, she thought. Cocky and arrogant, this one, and that was all there was to make of him. Whatever game he was playing, if he expected her to join him he would be disappointed.”
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 shedespises: 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.

*takes a deep breath*
I remember going on for a day about the pretty cover. I mean it has such a pretty knife on it. I was like coddling it and hugging it and so eager to start it but I wanted to enjoy the anticipation to read it so I decided to not start it just that day but wait until the next.
Gracelings are basically people who have a grace, a grace being a talent, not a normal kind but something that is basically perfected. Katsa’s is the ability to kill people.
Okay so ummm I kind of expected this book to blow my mind away (the cover. It demands me to expect nothing less) but it didn’t. Yes I loved it to bits but it wasn’t the best thing that ever happened to me.
There are some issues with the book which mainly stem from Katsa’s belief about marriage. I see that Cashore is attempting to have a feminist take but it comes out all wrong. It’s like she is shamming marriage, saying it’s bad and that women shouldn’t get married. I see she wants to show Katsa as a person who doesn’t depend on a man and stuff but it didn’t work. Also if she wanted this book to have a better feminist angle, she shouldn’t have had pretty people. Feminism isn’t only about how the personality of a woman, just because she doesn’t like dresses and kicks ass doesn’t mean she is the symbol of feminism, because she isn’t. To show a true opinion, she would have to change the treatment of women in the book, to show them in a way that isn’t shown in most books. In this world, women are looked down upon, leered at, etc. How is that going to give you plus points in the feminist section? Okay I can see this is going to turn into a feminist rant so I am going to move on from this.
This was one of the things that made me cut down a star, the other was that I wasn’t exactly screaming with joy at the ending, I mean sure it was sweet but the author didn’t have to make it end that way, I mean really? It was taking things too far.
Okay so this book has self-discovery, people searching for answers and a nation build on lies.
“….or about a terrible secret that lies hidden far away…a secret that could destroy all seven kingdoms with words alone.”
That part made me want to kill people so I could get this book. I mean I LOVE SECRETS. I love discovering things little by little with clues. The actual secret was so umm lame (for the lack of a better word)? I mean it wasn’t what I expected, plus we learn it rather early in the book so there isn’t much room for suspence.
The self-discovery is more about her learning to love and that she isn’t a terrible person and self-acceptance but the whole thing is toned down, it’s going on in the background.
With that said, I am not sure what EXACTLY this book is about but never the less it was a great read. I cannot believe I haven’t mentioned Po yet, the best thing that happened in this book. I mean we know he is going to be the love interest from the summary but I wasn’t sure WHO he was until we learned that he IS indeed the much awaited Prince Po. The summary makes him sound cocky, but he isn’t, he is a nice guy, he jokes but I wouldn’t go as far as calling him cocky. Although when I had started this book I was kind of hoping he was. Cocky princes are always so cute and fun to read about.
Po is an understanding person, I love the patience he has for Katsa, and he realizes she has a lot of issues. He doesn’t push her, he lets her become comfortable in her own skin, waits for her to realize what it is she wants and ACCEPT it. Most of the times during “the waiting” I was resisting the urge to smack Katsa in the head (although I wouldn’t be able to even if I wanted to :/).
All in all this was a good read and if you can over-look the feminist issues (which I lot of people couldn’t, I didn’t do a great job of that either but because the book aside from the issues was great I didn’t mark it down a great deal) you will enjoy the book.

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