by Kristin Cashore
Katsa killed her cousin at the age of eight...with her bare hands, and without any training in fighting. Her Grace is killing, and her uncle, King Randa, decides to have her trained by the best warriors and use her for his own purposes. Now ten years later, known as the Lady Killer, and kept in the palace as her uncle’s secret weapon, Katsa has no friends aside from her cousin Raffin. The rest of the court finds her Grace-marked eyes (one blue and one green) disconcerting, and fear for their lives if they angered her. One night, on a mission of her own, Katsa meets another Graced fighter, a Lienid who, strangely, trusts her. Wary, Katsa can’t believe she’ll have anything to do with him other than go back on her stupid choice to let him live.
I really, really loved the first half of this book. Katsa’s character is so well developed—her reactions to new things like trust and finding that she’s not as heartless as everyone lead her to believe are so realistic. And her friendship with Po (whose name unfortunately reminds me of the littlest Teletubby) is completely believable and very sweet.
However, the second half became a lot more generic and didn’t capture my interest as much. Perhaps it was because I was distracted from the book at an inopportune time—right before Katsa and Po’s relationship became romantic—and it made it seem like the two halves didn’t quite fit together. (That was a very slight spoiler because despite the description of Katsa and Po being “insurmountably incompatible,” you can tell right away that they’re not going to be.)
The plot was fast-paced and the characters’ missions changed throughout the course of the story, giving it a good range of situations and keeping it interesting, but at times I wanted to scream at the characters. They could be so dumb! It took them forever to realize things sometimes, while I’d been suspicious about it for the last fifty pages. Graceling is a stunning debut novel, and a pretty darn good novel at all. I highly recommend it, especially for fans of Tamora Pierce. Also, The Hunger Games (which I have yet to read because too many people have it ahead of me at the library) is said to be on some levels similar, so if you’ve already read Graceling, check that out, too.
And because there's a book trailer for it that I actually like (except for Po! He's supposed to be blond!), I'll provide that, too:
Sunday, October 5, 2008
by Kristin Cashore