Book: Graceling by Kristin Cashore
Series: Graceling Realm #1
Date Published: October 1st, 2008
Date Started: December 4th, 2013
Date Finished: December 10th, 2013
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 new truth about her own Grace – or about a terrible secret that lies hidden far away…
I have to admit, Graceling took me a long time to finish based on the rate in which I usually read. I was having a difficult time with this book because I was always unsure where the story was going. Now that I finished it, I still don’t think I’ve grasped the full point of this book.
Graceling is about a young girl named Katsa. There are special people who have certain abilities and skills that make them exceptional. These skills are called a Grace. Katsa’s grace is killing. Because of this, her uncle who happens to be a king, uses her as his personal attack dog to do his will. People fear her, and this makes her very awkward. Until one day, she meets a man her age who is also Graced with a skill similar to hers. This man is a son of a king of a different land. They become friends, and essentially band together to face their fears, and uncover a terrible truth in the kingdoms.
This book is really hard for me to describe. I don’t understand what the plot really was. As I kept reading, I kept hoping that the true plot of the book would be revealed to me. But it never was. The book felt like it was more of a journal of Katsa when her life was changed from her usual norm. There was one point when I felt that there was a plot, and the book kept leading up to this moment of facing a terrible truth. But once that moment came, it was so anticlimactic. After it was over, there were still several chapters left in the book. I figured that there must have been a larger overall point to this book, but it just never came.
As for Katsa herself. I liked her character. She was meant to be a strong willed character who could not be tied down by any one man. But when she fell in love, she still hung onto that ideology and it made for a really awkward relationship. It just seemed she was against the idea of the label of committed relationship. It’s understandable, but she swears herself to one man only. After that happened, I really didn’t see a point to her fighting that label. It just seemed as though she made the relationship more complicated than it really needed to be. Katsa did go through a transformation in the book that was really apparent. She was this dark, uncontrollable girl who just killed and had to always be moving. But once she started making friends, she seemed to calmed down. I liked her transformation. I have to say it was one of the more redeeming qualities of the book.
Other than that, I really don’t know what to say about this book. I can’t comprehend what really happened, so I really can’t comment too much on it. I’m not quite sure if I really liked the book or not. I usually like a book that has a theme or motif to it, an underlying message in which I can learn from. But I don’t feel like I really learned anything from this book. It just felt like a story without a message.
There are two other books in this series called Fire and Bitterblue. Fire is about a completely different character, but is still based off of the same realm. Bitterblue is about a young princess turned Queen that traveled with Katsa in the first book. However, the book takes place a couple of years after the events in Graceling. To be quite honest, I am unsure at this point if I will continue with the series.
My score for this book is somewhere between 2.5 and 3/5.