Book review 8 - Graceling by Kristin Cashore

Pages: 471
Publisher: Graphia
Publication date: October 1, 2008
Deadly Grace
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 Graces 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...
My thoughts:

*4.5 books*

I really enjoyed this book. I attempted to listen to the audiobook but I wasn’t enjoying the audiobook narrator voices so when I found Graceling for 1$ at a used book store I knew it was destined to be. 

This book has everything I love. Nothing complicated. A strong female lead. Amazing secondary characters. A really interesting world and really interesting “powers” called Graces. The world was plain and nothing too unusual but very good. I love love the idea of Gracelings. I love that it’s not something everyone has, and I love how complex they are. Katsa’s grace was so amazing. I love how it began as something terrifying and dangerous and turned into something beautiful. Learning about the many different graces was nice, but I would have loved to learn about even more of them.

Now characters: I loved Katsa. I actually at the beginning found her a touch unlikable but that went away. Her sarcasm and her humour were everything I like in people and I love her interactions with Po. They were both such strong characters, as was Bitterblue. It’s clear that Cashore is not interested in weak useless characters and I love that. Everyone had a place, a purpose and a point.

I’m just going to give an entire section here for Po though. What can I say about Po. What a precious little child. Willing to get beat up constantly just to fight Katsa. So protective of Katsa and Bitterblue. Protective of Katsa but also realizes that he will never be able to protect Katsa better than she protects herself. He teases her in such a loving way, but he’s just so loving in general. Like with the horses. He constantly cares about their wellbeing because he knows that Katsa is rough on them and he just sometimes reminds her to care for her horse because not everything is as tough as her. He is gentle in all the ways that she is rough and they are the perfect match because they compliment each other where the other lacks. And essentially their entire relationship can be summed up in:

Po: Katsa no
Katsa: KATSA YES!!

My reasons for a 4.5 rating, instead of a 5 star, are two fold. It was the plot and the ending.

I really did enjoy the plot. But there were some definite slow moments. A lot of kind of mountain travelling that doesn’t really further the plot a lot. Same with their very long stay in the cabin and their boat journey. So while I did like it. I found it lacking and a bit slow. Also, the fact that this is a companion series rather than a trilogy is a bit disappointing because I feel like there wasn’t much that happened and I don’t feel ready to be finished with Katsa and Po.

Another little thing is the book is so clearly about killing that one king but in the end that scene was also a little underwhelming.

My problem with the end, to me, seems quite obvious. It’s just not enough and it’s not an ending. Again, it feels like a story that continues to another book because it was such an open ending. There was no character development for Katsa. She had the oppurtunity to grow after taking care of Bitterblue and maybe see that she could be a mother and a wife. The fact that Po and Katsa kind of ended the book apart with no intention of ever being married really disappointed me. I don’t see the purpose of including a romance plot when you leave it like that at the end. I am sure in Bitterblue we might get an update about them but I am really really underwhelmed with the ending.

I will say that the Po thing at the end really made me sad for him.

Overall, I really adored this book. I’m going to read Bitterblue soon and then read Fire after that. I am looking forward to really seeing if there is any sort of Po/Katsa development that will make this less of a disappointment to me. 


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