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Graceling by Kristin Cashore



Publication: 2008
Genre: Fantasy
Length: Trade Paperback - 471 pages.


Of the three YA books I picked up a few weeks ago, I was actually looking forward to Graceling the least. With a few notable exceptions, the typical fantasy is not my cup of tea. What I mean by that is the general setting and world of high fantasy. Medieval castles, peasants, lords and kings just don't do it for me. I was understandably hesitant, then, when I chose this novel.

The concept of Graces, however, won me over. I thought it was such an interesting basis for a book and was really looking forward to learning more how they worked. Unfortunately, there isn't a lot of examination in Graceling outside of Katsa's own musing on her character. Usually, this would have me put out a bit, but I really did enjoy Katsa and I kind of miss her now that the book is finished.

Graceling also builds slowly. It was during the first half that I still had doubts on whether I would finish the book because of all the horses, archery, swords, blah, blah, blah. I understand that this is my own personal beef with the genre, but it did have an impact on my enjoyment of the story. The second half, luckily, really picks up once Katsa and Po start looking outside themselves a little more and the romance is set to the side in favour of the plot.

I enjoyed the underlying plot, the idea of Graces, and Katsa herself (including her strong feminist sentiments) but I don't think I'll be reading Fire, the sequel. I've heard that it follows Bitterblue, a minor character in Graceling and while I had nothing against her, she isn't the character I grew to appreciate and she isn't Graced.
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