Rating: ☕️ ☕️ ☕️ ☕️
Graceling is one of the best YA books I’ve read in a while simply because of the SUPER AWESOME female protagonist who is a butt-kickin’, sword swinging, mountain lion fighting dame. I know, right? THE DEFINITION of what it means to be the opposite of the Bella Swan-like YA female lead. Very refreshing, especially after Beautiful Creatures.
I was sucked into Graceling right from the beginning when it places you in media res — for those of you who aren’t complete English nerds like me, that means smack dab in the middle of some crazy action that’s going down — and we see that Kasta (our fantastic feline) is running a rescue mission for a Council that she’s *ahem* THE HEAD OF. Yeah, this girl’s not sitting around on her butt all day, she gets stuff done. Anyway, we learn that she is Graced with killing and that kinda makes her pretty much invincible, so no one is messing with Miss Kasta. This Grace also causes her a lot of inner struggle in coming to terms with her Grace and not letting it turn her into a monster to be commanded by a hard-hearted king. Who is also her uncle. Seriously, what was with all the family drams drams back then? OH! AND There’s also a super cute prince, a rescue quest and yet an even more evil and more sadistic king, so hey, where can you go wrong?
It was great to read a book set in an imaginary medieval fantasy land again because I loved reading those kinds of books when I was a kid. (Eragon and the Song of The Lioness quartet come to mind.) I just forgot how much I love those worlds and I feel like they aren’t getting published as much nowadays. (Sad but true!)
Now I just want to take this opportunity to gush about Kasta a little more! Kasta is one of the strongest female heroines I have ever had the pleasure to meet in the world of fiction. She is brave enough to defy her uncle and doesn’t try to escape from him by marrying her friend, who proposes. NOPE, NO-SIR-EE. Even though marriage would pretty much solve the uncle problem, she is an independent woman who knows what she wants, says SCREW THIS and just takes control of the situation herself. A character I can respect! Also I liked the fact that when on her journey with Prince Po, she is the one that does all the hunting and things like that. It was nice to read about a girl who could take care of herself and other people and who can step up to the plate when she’s needed to be brave or get things done, unlike some people (*cough* Bella *cough* Lena *cough*…. sorry, tickle in my throat.)
Moving on to her charming Prince Po…
Po is definitely a swoon-worthy guy and belongs up there with all the other literary guys that are super easy to fall for. What I think I liked about him the most was the refreshing way in which he was presented. I LOVED the fact that he wasn’t glorified in the eyes of a lovesick, pathetic excuse for a teenage girl. It made me like him even more when I didn’t have to read exhausting descriptions comparing his shirtless figure to that of a Greek god and yada yada yada. I also loved the fact that even though it is known by EVERYONE, including Po himself, that Kasta is the better fighter, he recognizes this and supports her, saying that he is not humiliated by her superiority, but humbled by it. I mean, is this guy THE BEST or what???
So, if I loved the characters and setting and everything so much WHY OH WHY did I not give it 5 teacups? Well, the ONLY thing was that I found it lagged a bit during some of the journeying scenes and the denouement was a little too long. I think there was around 70 pages left after the climax, which wasn’t too bad, but it definitely could have been a little more succinct.
THAT BEING SAID…
This book was definitely worth the read and I will MOST definitely be looking for Fire (the companion) and Bitterblue (the sequel). Kristin Cashore has earned her place on my bookshelf!
If you want to find out more about Kristin Cashore and Graceling, visit her blog and website here –>http://kristincashore.blogspot.ca/