Friday, September 20, 2013

Review: Graceling - Kristin Cashore

Kristin Cashore
Series: Graceling Realm, #1
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy 
Rating: 3.5 out of 5 stars
Word Rating: Interesting
On Goodreads

Read this book.
Pick it up. Open it. Start reading.
And then, even if you really want to stop, or read it later, or go do something else, keep reading.
Keep reading until you finish the book.
And then come back and thank me.
Or throw things at me, depending on whether you enjoyed the book or not.
The point I am trying to make here is that Graceling is a wonderful book, but it did start off a little shaky. While the storyline in the beginning was fine, the writing style didn't exactly leave me thinking this was that great of a book. This soon changed, however, as I grew to appreciate the way Kristin Cashore phrased things and the way her characters stood out. There are so many elements that just make this a great novel, and I know I can't wait until I have a chance to read more books from the Graceling Realm.

Katsa, our protagonist, is someone who has been "Graced" -- given a strong ability or power -- with killing. This causes a lot of people to stay away from her, even though she is good at heart. The story revolves around her journey with Prince Po, and also the eventual romance that results between them. I really love how headstrong and tough Katsa is. She doesn't take rudeness or misbehavior from people. Katsa is not afraid to tell people what she thinks. I love that even though she is so strong, she is also human, and sometimes makes rash decisions. Overall, I really like Katsa and her tough nature.

In fact, this book is filled with awesome characters. Po is also a great character, and his kindness and generosity are very refreshing. Reading about his encounters with Katsa kept making me curious as to how the two would supplement each other's personalities. King Leck was another character I really liked reading about, although I felt immense hatred for him as a person. And we can't forget dear Bitterblue, of course. Her character was so intriguing, another book in this series is named after her. Basically, Kristin Cashore did a fantastic job creating characters that were brought to life and affected her audience.

The writing itself of this book is very interesting. In the beginning, I wasn't sure if I liked it or not because it sounded a bit juvenile to me. However, the style of narration grew on me and I can't imagine the book written any other way.
There are some wonderful gems of description, like:
"She'd never seen silver trees that climbed straight up into the sky, and rock and snow that climbed even higher, to peaks impossibly high that shone gold in the sun." 
"Katsa lay on her back and looked up at the high ceiling. The light poured into the room from the great, east-facing windows. The days were beginning to shorten. The air would crispen soon, and the castle would smell like wood burning in the fireplaces."
I love the simplicity of Cashore's words -- they manage to be concise but still get her point across. The very beginning of the book, however, was not as well written and seemed somewhat choppy and not the greatest. However, the choppiness went away and left the reader with wonderful narration and a great story.

I would definitely recommend Graceling to everyone. I think it's a spectacular book that has an interesting voice and awesome characters and I, for one, cannot wait to get my hands on the other books that take place in this realm.
- Noor

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