“When a monster stopped behaving like a monster, did it stop being a monster? Did it become something else?” – Kristin Cashore, Graceling
Synopsis: 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…
Eden: I liked this book and then I didn’t. It had it’s own voice and interesting characters and then about 2/3’s into the book everything just got weird and kind of ridiculous. I think this book was better suited for multiple books and that was it’s biggest flaw. Overall, 3/5 because the beginning was good, but the ending was just poorly executed and felt drug out.
Jenn: Ok, so I really did not like this book. I had issues with the plot and the characters alike. The writing style was not my cup of tea. This book was a disappointment for me. I gave it a 3/5 stars overall.
Caitlynn: Ok Graceling wasn’t a terrible read… it just really didn’t live up to my expectations. I’m not sure if Maas and Sanderson have ruined the realm of YA fantasy for me but interaction between the characters were just lacking for me. All that said, I’ll probably still read the next two books in the series… eventually. I gave it 3.5/5 stars.
DISCUSSION & SPOILERS AHEAD: If you haven’t read Graceling and plan to read it, it would be best not to read anymore.
Caitlynn: Graceling thoughts. Go.
Eden: So much to say… Ok. This book should have been a trilogy. Or at least a duology.
When I started reading I fell in love with Katsa. I loved that she was sarcastic, strong and flawed. She had no interest in children or marriage and I loved it. It was really refreshing to have a main character who wasn’t so over the moon in love that all of her ideals went out the window. About halfway through the book though, Kistin Cashore just gave up. I honestly feel like she was just like, “fuck it, I’ll make this one book and stuff everything in it at once.” This was problematic for me because Katsa completely lost what made me love her. Instead I was just like, “We get it. Bitterblue needs to be saved and this mountain is hell.”
Caitlynn: I’m like the opposite of Eden about Katsa though, I just felt like she didn’t develop the character enough for me to understand how she was feeling or anything.
Jenn: I just really didn’t enjoy this book.
Eden: I think had this been more than a single book she could have more thoroughly explored the world (which I was really excited to see as Katsa left the Midlunds) and Katsa’s growth. Instead, everything felt rushed. I’m assuming this is because Kristin Cashore didn’t think she would get a book deal that would allow her to turn it into a series.
Caitlynn: I just couldn’t get past some of the writing. Some of it was terrible. There were so many moments with characters just sighing. We get it. You’re annoyed.
Eden: No, you’re right there with me. I meant that I loved Katsa when we first meet her. I did not love Katsa after about the first third of the book.
Jenn: I felt no connections to the characters. The plot basically revolved only around the relationship between Poe and Katsa. I felt like the author knew she wanted the relationship to happen but didn’t want to write a contemporary so she tried to haphazardly build a fantasy world around it.
Caitlynn: Yeahhhhhh, I did not have a connection with the characters at all.
Jenn: I’m not even sure why half of the events were in the book. They didn’t make any progress on the plot nor did they offer character development.
Eden: That is why I believe it should have been more than one book. It’s fine to have a relationship. But like, she brought too many elements in to it for it to be a single book.
Jenn: I think the main problem I had with it was that it didn’t stick to a three act structure. It was basically two acts without a central climax or resolution.
Jenn: Also, why did an eye patch fool anyone in this story when I would automatically assume anybody covering one eye was graced?
Eden: I continued to question the same thing.
Caitlynn: I thought the same thing about King Leck, and how anticlimactic was that kill??
Eden: It was like, “I walked into the room, we spoke, and I killed him.”
Jenn: The characters also seemed like stock characters. Like she threw character traits from popular heroes and heroines from other novels into a hat and spliced them together to create her characters. They had no real flaw that made them realistic. It was basically look at the two most powerful people ever. There were no stakes it was clear neither of them were going to die so I never felt emotions for it.
Eden: It kind of felt like she read Throne of Glass and was like, I want to make a character like Selaena Sardothian. And then this is what came from it.
Jenn: I wanted them to all die and fail by the end of it.
Eden: It would have been a much more satisfying ending.