I haven’t had much experience with “Young Adult Literature,” as I was one of those kids who skipped over that genre because it was for “kids.” However I was recently sent Graceling by Kristin Cashore, and spent two lazy afternoons this past weekend reading what turned out to be a really enjoyable book.
The basic premise is that the universe is populated by those with Graces; they can be for cooking, predicting the weather, or in the case of our lead character, killing. It makes for an interesting base for Cashore’s story, and allows the several unexpected turn of events believable.
Katsa, our lead, has the unfortunate joy of being related to the king of Middluns (the countries that make up the world are Nander (north), Wester (west), Estill (east), Middluns (in the center, Sunder (south), Monsea and Lienid). Believing he has control over her, she allows him to use her as his thug, going out and killing, maiming, or scaring those who have wronged the king.
However at some point in her history she rebels. Not entirely, but enough to create the Council, a group of people – influential and not so – from all over the countries, who save those they can from the kings.
One such mission, however, brings an unexpected encounter, and an unexplained mystery. From here, Katsa’s world gets turned upside down and she is forced to make decisions, run, hide, and do the responsible thing, ignoring her heart.
It really is a wonderful story, and I would definitely recommend this to any teenagers that I know.
That being said, it would not be the first book I would recommend. I believe that teenagers – or anyone, for that matter – should read above their level. It helps them learn new things, learn new words, and be challenged by what they are reading. Cashore ignores this opportunity, and more often than not chooses the easy route for her readers.
Predictability is this books watch-word, and simplistic characters and decisions make for some quick reading at times. It’s not such that it diminishes the accomplishment of Cashore’s debut novel, but it is to the detriment of the book.
Graceling is definitely a good read, especially for anyone looking for a quick read, or a present for that teenager in their life (boy or girl). It isn’t anything to write home about, but not something to snub either.
Review by Joshua S Hill
3 positive reader review(s) for Graceling
Seven Kingdoms Trilogy: Book 1
In a world where people born with an exceptional skill, known as a Grace, are feared and exploited, Katsa carries the burden of a skill even she despises: the Grace of kill [...]
Seven Kingdoms Trilogy: Book 1
It is not a peaceful time in the Dells. The young King Nash clings to his throne while rebel lords in the north and south build armies to unseat him. The mountains and fore [...]
Seven Kingdoms Trilogy: Book 3
Eight years after Graceling, Bitterblue is now queen of Monsea. But the influence of her father, a violent psychopath with mind-altering abilities, lives on. Her advisors, [...]
Dabud from Canada
The book Graceling is well written but second and third novels start to let the first down. The last book in trilogy has enough tears to float a navy and only brings home the fact that Bitterblue is not strong enough to ever run a kingdom, she is beset with indecision and poor judgement.
Simone from Taiwan
I love the book because of the plot and the characters. Both are dynamic, exciting and fascinating and it is very interesting to see how protagonist change and evolve throughout the story. What attracted me the most is when I was reading about the interactions between Po and Kasta. It is a book that I've read and reread for at least five times, and even now I still want to go all over again.
From from From
Wonderfully captivating, if a bit heavy on the romance.
Emily from Chicago
I wanted to put in a quick word for Graceling, since I enjoyed it so much. It was a dynamic read, and very exciting- It actually got my heart pumping a few times with the fight scenes! It had all the things I like in a story, strong female lead, interesting premise and plot, and a little bit of romance. It is definitely a book I would buy to read over again.
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