Saturday, January 22, 2011

Graceling by Kristin Cashore

Graceling

Title:  Graceling
Author:  Kristin Cashore
Publisher:  Harcourt
Publication Date:  October 2008
Format:  Hardcover, 471 pages
Age Group:  Young Adult
Series:  The Seven Kingdoms (Book 1)

Katsa lives in a kingdom where the Graced, those with two different colored eyes and a special talent, are regarded with suspicion and often openly feared.  Katsa has been Graced with killing and has become the enforcer for the king.  In her own way, Katsa rebels against her nature and provides aid to people through out the seven kingdoms through a council which intervenes and attempts to correct injustice.  It is a simple rescue mission for the council that brings Katsa together with Po, leading them on journeys of self-discovery and bringing them together in ways neither could have imagined.

While I enjoyed Graceling, I didn't love it.  The best part about the book was the characters.  Katsa and Po both face internal struggles of self-doubt and both have become used to hiding parts of themselves away from others.  Their strong emotional connection and the questions it raised for each of them were compelling.  The development of their relationship from mysterious meeting to hidden secrets and beyond was more interesting than the actual story of the journey they were taking.

I found the world in Graceling to be fairly generic.  Little is known about the inhabitants of the seven kingdoms beyond general descriptions of the kings in each.  The setting is not described in much detail either except when it is a barrier to survival.  The actual plot of the story didn't hold my attention until Katsa and Po met Bitterblue and then it was more the addition of another interesting character that caught me instead of the actual story.  In some ways the action seemed to resolve itself too quickly because the solution just appeared or the character just suddenly managed to do what needed to be done.

The next book in this series, Fire, actually takes place many years before Graceling.  I really have no desire to read this book because it won't have the characters in it that I loved in Graceling and I'm simply just not that interested in that world.  Kristin Cashore is currently working on the third book in the series, Bitterblue, which will take place after Graceling and will have some of the same characters but I doubt that I will remember to actively seek it out.

I borrowed Graceling from my local library and read it as January's selection for the Reading with Tequila Book Club on Goodreads.  The opinion presented here is entirely my own.

Note: All opinions provided on this blog are my own. If a product was given to me for review, the source of that product is noted in the post. Links to Amazon.com are affiliate links and I do earn a small percentage for each item purchased through those links. Any other referral or associate links will be noted within the post.