Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
You can read the Goodreads summary here.
I'm not a fantasy fan at all. Back in high school it seems all we did at each other's birthday parties was watch LOTR DVDs, and I usually sat there bored. So when my book club choose Graceling as our June read, I was admittedly apprehensive. Most of the time I hate made up names and places in books and the little maps at the beginning of such books don't usually help. Sure enough, after two chapters of Graceling I was ready to give up, but I plowed ahead so I would have something to say on Saturday night.
But you'll notice above I gave the book four stars. How is this possible? Well, I'll tell you, by about a third of the way through I was actually enjoying the novel! And by about half way through, I didn't even want to put it down. It quickly became a "stay up until 2 am and just finish it!" kind of night. You know a fantasy book is good when I actually like it!
Graceling is a coming-of-age novel about a young Graceling named Katsa. Gracelings have two different eye colors and special powers that could be as mundane as nothing, or super-powerful and extremely useful like the ability to kill, survive, or sense other through walls. Since Katsa is the King's niece, she is often forced to use her Grace to his benefit, killing foes or at least threatening them, but this isn't the life Katsa wants. Deep down she's much more peaceful and wants to put her Grace to use for good, not bad.
That's pretty interesting in and of itself, and I did enjoy learning about how Graces worked. But, being the hot-blooded female that I am, there was something a little more interesting to me in this novel... and his name was Po.
Oh, Po. *swoon* If you thought Edward Cullen was dreamy, you were wrong. You must read Graceling and swoon over Po. Everything about him is adorable: his name, the way he puts Katsa before himself, the way he wants to protect her even though she's a million times stronger than him... I could go on. Of course, Po is extremely interested in Katsa, but Katsa has sworn of marriage and babies. Yet at the same time, she's drawn to Po as well. Oh sexual tension, love it!
One of my favorite characters was young Bitterblue, Po's cousin who must be saved from her evil father. Bitterblue was only ten years old, but she was strong and lovable. She was very well spoken for a child her age and had an infallible sense of right from wrong. The third book in this series focuses on her and I'm excited to read that eventually and learn more about her.
This book goes to prove you cannot judge a book by it's beginning. Three or fours stars - that was the question. Well, after sleeping on it last night I'm giving it four stars because once I finally got into the novel (about one third of the way through) I had a definite sense of un-put-down-ability. I will be continuing on with the series at some point, though I think I'm more eager to read Bitterblue than Fire. If you're a huge fantasy fan though, I guarantee you're going to love this book and you should definitely give it a look.