Saturday, December 18, 2010

Book Review: Graceling

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 truth about her own Grace- or about a terrible secret that lies hidden far away.....

Is it just me or does it seem like a lot of book heroines lately have names that can be shortened to Kat? So far this year I've come across three: Katarina Bishop from The Heist Society, Katniss Everdeen from The Hunger Games, and now Katsa from Graceling. Pretty crazy!

Anyway I picked up this book because I've heard so many good things about it since I've entered the blogosphere. No idea why I hadn't heard about it before but better late than never right? Just as a warning this review does contain spoilers!

I had no trouble getting sucked into this book. Katsa may not be your stereotypical heroine but she was still very relatable. Her transformation from a willing pawn, to a girl who wants to live life on her own terms was brilliantly done. I think that the character development was definitely the strongest aspect of Graceling.

I don't think that the plot was the greatest. It was pretty much your run of the mill overthrow the bad guy win back the kingdom kind of story. Thats not a bad thing, but there are just so many other books with similar plot outlines. This was definitely more of a character driven novel, as compared to a plot driven novel.

My favorite character in Graceling would probably have to be Bitterblue. She was wise beyond her years and I loved that she had such an inner strength. I especially liked how her and Katsa ended up developing a sort of student/mentor relationship.

I have one really strong misgiving about this book. Katsa and Po's relationship. Now I know that people just love Katsa and Po together and at first I agreed. Po brought out the best in Katsa and he really helped her realize a lot of truths about herself. But then we got about halfway through the book and their relationship changed from slightly romantic inklings to full on lovers. Which was just really, really, awkward in my opinion. I mean I get that Katsa has issues with letting go of her freedom after being manipulated her whole life but seriously? The only way to reconcile that with their relationship was to have them become lovers?!?!?! That just bugged me and it just seemed really weird. I hoped that by the end of the novel Katsa would finally realize that marrying Po was a good thing but no. They just remained lovers..... ehhhh. That was the one big problem I had with this book.

Overall I thought that Graceling was an okay book. It had good character development, which I really enjoyed, but the storyline was sort of generic. And then there was that whole awkward lovers aspect which totally threw me for a loop. I give Graceling 3 and a half stars out of 5.

Julia :)


  1. Julia,

    Very insightful review. I was totally bothered by the "lover" relationship between Katsa and Po. It was so odd and icky.

    I really like Bitterblue, too. :D

  2. Great review. It gives me a heads up on what to expect especially in the romance department since I have this on my TBR shelf :)

  3. I was in the minority (or so it seemed) who also just sort-of-liked Graceling. But seriously, read FIRE, the author's second novel. Sogood.

  4. I'm really on the fence about this one. I've heard a bunch of good reviews, but I also read an absolutely terrible review from a person who I tend to agree with. So I'm unsure. The idea of an icky romance doesn't really appeal either...

    I appreciate your honest review. I think I'll still hold off on this one. I have heard Fire is better though.

    Oh, and, yes, it seems like lately everyone is either Kat, Violet, or Evie.

  5. Julia,

    I love Graceling, I gave it a 5 out 5. But it's nice to read a review that differs from mine every now and then. :) I totally agree about the name thing, though. It's quite the trend, isn't it?


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