Graceling❮Reading❯ ➶ Graceling ➮ Author Kristin Cashore – 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 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 She never expects to fall in love with beautiful Prince Po She never expects to learn the truth behind her Grace—or the terrible secret that lies hidden far away a secret that could destroy all seven kingdoms with words alone With elegant evocative prose and a cast of unforgettable characters debut author Kristin Cashore creates a mesmerizing world a death defying adventure and a heart racing romance that will consume you hold you captive and leave you wanting. I wanted so badly to like this book It has so much going for it It is original and inventive I never once caught myself thinking Now where did I read that before? Oh right in the last three books The idea of the graced their skills and their mismatched eyes; of the seven kingdoms; of the characters themselves All of them were uniuely Cashore's own Her prose was clear and lucid though there were passages that dragged and made me want to skip ahead So pacing was occasionally a problem but not the actual words themselves I thought it uite notable especially as a debut However Yes that dreaded however But before we get to that a uick disclaimer I certainly have no say on what Cashore did or did not intend the book to say I only can say with certainty what I find in the book and I hope you can agree that if in addition to great writing and engaging stories one desires one's reading material to have at the very least some simple ethics it is than reasonable that some readers will discuss and debate the ethics and social s that certain features of this book present Personally I appreciate being able to discuss something that a book mentions and which allows me to think of it in an entirely different light I am fully aware that many might feel that this review is biased and unfair written from a narrow minded hidebound mentality How dare I allow my personal convictions to color my view of a book I read? Especially a fantasy book that clearly takes place in a world that is not this one But before you comment to let me know that I am a horrible disgrace and disappointment as a human for allowing my personal convictions to color my view of a book that I have read please take a moment to know that I am not allowing any comments on this review I had nearly 50 comments on this review and I ultimately chose to delete them when the vitriolic contemptuous comments kept coming For those of you whose opinions differed but who chose to share that contrary opinion with civility and tolerance I would like once to extend my sincerest thanks especially to Ariel and Angie For the others that commented to agree or say thanks for the review I hope it helped So back to that however My issue is that firstly what Po and Katsa have is not love Infatuation? Certainly Affection? Sure But love true love is wanting what is best for the other person and doing whatever one can so that the other is able to move toward the best Thus love is at its core sacrificial and giving What is the purpose of Katsa's and Po's sexual relationship? It is of transient emotional and physical benefit but how does it benefit them ultimately? I don’t believe that love euals sex and the book seemed to infer just thatBut say she did love him I'm all for girl power and females don't need a guy to be fulfilled All for that I even understand that at that point in Katsa's life she had just claimed her freedom and could not imagine entering any other station of life that would in any way limit or curtail her personal liberty All well and fine But then she goes ahead and enters into a physical relationship with a guy because she loves him but just can't ever be married to him because that would limit her sense of self and her own freedom to come and go as she pleased Granted the concept of marriage within the confines of that secondary world might differ it could be a total abnegation of self but I never got that sense when they talked about marriages in their society In fact at its core marriage in our world is a contract of personal commitment between two people but Katsa while perhaps legitimately shunning marriage in her world still has no desire to ever commit to Po in any way So it would seem that Katsa's issues had way to do with herself and her own flaws and insecurities than the idea of commitment or even Po Given his affection for her he would never have limited her freedom But flip the coin What if it was Po who “loved” Katsa but refused to marry her because then he would not be free? Where he was the one who would take whatever Katsa had to offer but did not care enough to actually make any sort of commitment to her? That likely would not go over as well It is strange what a double standard we have in relationships esp in a feminist age We praise novels that show females as strong independent individuals even if that means they are also selfish and controlling while we uite rightly condemn that sort of behavior in male protagonists But then not only are we giving a sad view of a strong woman as if that is the only way to portray a vibrant and intelligent female we are also touting a weak and ineffective masculine image that indicates that no male can be resourceful or a leader or else he is preventing the girl from being who she ought to be free to beetc When we did we stop striving for an ideal where both men and women complimented each other each being allowed their own strengths and being euals rather than always rivals and competitors? So again a talented new author but I have deep reservations about some of the messages in this book and I doubt I will recommend it to many people Which is a shame considering the uality of the rest of the story which is easily three stars for the prose though the plot had a few spots that seemed out of place Graceling never seemed like it should have been a love story much less a hook up and I was loving it as a fine fantasy personal growth novel but once they brought in the romantic anti romantic elements it lost me Graceling by Kristin Cashore follows in a burgeoning market for strong female charactersKatsa is much like Katniss from The Hunger Games in her naive perception of the world her coldness and tendency towards pragmatic practicality She is similar to Xhex from the Black Dagger Brotherhood in her disgust of all things feminine The story is well written with engaging fun characters Katsa is fun to read about The plot may be a little predictable at times but it did throw me a curve ball toward the end The romance is lovely between Katsa and Po I take exception though to the message that this book sends It is the same message I am reading over and over again in current literatureFrom Bella Swan who looks down on girls who like shopping to Xhex who must be wrestled into a dress and who sees all signs of emotion as feminine weakness and now Katsa who refuses to marry or have children and who despises dresses and long hairMessage to authors It is not nice dresses and pretty hair and an ability to be weepy on occasion that is the cause for the many ineuality issues that women face Putting a woman in pants does not change how the world perceives her It doesn't suddenly make her stronger and better than the woman in the dress who likes jeweleryYour character does not suddenly become the beacon of the feminist movement because she doesn't like dresses So sick of reading about strong independent female characters who don't like dresses and spend most of the novel putting down almost every other female character as weak and pathetic Graceling has a beautiful cover great premise and lots of hype and would be a terrific novel if it weren’t for the writing and atrocious main character What is with the awkward sentence structures and prose in this book? In these dungeons the darkess was complete but Katsa had a map in her mind It should be In these dungeons the darkness was complete but Katsa had a map in her mind And look at the next sentence One that had so far proven to be correct as Oll's maps tended to do What? That made absolutely no sense Instead One that had so far proven to be correct as Oll's maps tended to be Wouldn't that be better?Then later on Turning when it was time to turn What? Isn't that redundant? And She began to hear voices as she entered a corridor where the darkness flickered orange with the light of a torch set in the wall Dude darkness does not flicker orange if it did then that would not make it dark And it's not with the light of a torch but light from a torch That whole sentence is just full of awkward phrasing and clunky descriptionAnd the next Katsa crept toward the light and the sound of laughter How can she creep toward laughter when it wasn't even introduced earlier? It just does not get any better And later on she pulls her hood down over her eyes What the hell How do you expect to fight if you can't see where the heck you're going or what you're doing It's not a surprise she trips over the four guards because OBVIOUSLY you can't see anything Why does she need to pull her hood down to hide her eyes when the guard she fights later ALREADY KNOWS WHAT SHE IS? Okay that's it I'm done But the biggest offense of the book was the main character Katsa is the most annoying aggravating self centered abusive and violent character I’ve ever had the misfortune to read from the eyes from I thought Bella was tops in annoying meter ranking but Katsa wins the prize During the book there were many instances where I wished I could rip her hair out and run her through with her own sword She has some of the big Mary Sue tendencies It wasn’t so bad that she was Graced with some special ability but hers was off the wall unbelievable that I couldn’t give her any sort of realistic credibility at all Not only can she kill anyone with her bare hands she’s faster than anyone builds fire better than anyone hunts better than anyone shoots and fires arrows better than anyone yet she doesn’t suffer from the freezing cold as the rest of her comrades it just slows her down when other normal people would be down on the ground dying from hypothermia She doesn’t even tire like the rest of them because she just has unending bundles of stamina So much so that she can go for days without sleeping even though they were in some pretty gruesome and difficult battles And the list goes on I mean what can Ms Perfect not do? And don't give me that crap about how it's logical because of her special grace There's a special balance between believable and ridiculous and I'm sorry but this is way over into the ridiculous areaBut that wasn’t the worst of it Katsa’s most nonredeemable factor was her attitude No one can tell her to do anything she doesn’t want to do even if it’s for the wiser And if she doesn’t like what she hears her first reaction is anger and then she throws a tantrum until she gets her way But yet every situation she finds unappealing to her the first though that comes to mind is violence I clearly remember a scene where Po told her his opinion which wasn’t demeaning cruel or hurtful at all and you know what she does? Hits him so hard he falls off his chair and has a wicked bruise W T F And not only that her characterization is inconsistent She’s supposed to be this bad ass chick who takes no crap from anyone and doesn't need a man in her life to define her but as soon as Po enters and tells her he’s going to leave she cries tears because she “doesn’t know why”? What the hell kind of crap is this? And what is her utter revulsion to marriage? I mean I don’t want to get married as well but Katsa’s reasoning behind this is not concrete or sufficient enough to support her viewpoint that she vehemently defends many times throughout the book Not bringing children into this world yes I totally get it and understand but marriage? Especially when Po is searching for a sign of commitment on their relationship If she did not want to marry him or anyone in particular she could supplement this in other ways but she doesn'tI was absolutely disgusted disgusted by the way she treated her horses She treats them as a way to serve her own self satisfying needs without care The first instance that stuck me was when Po and Katsa were riding off somewhere and she slammed her horse against Po's because she wanted to get his attention W T F Not only is that dangerous to the rider because they could fall off but it's dangerous to the horse Slamming into another horse while you're riding is NOT something you do The horse could have fallen because the impact threw him off balance and you're obviously not going to walk away from that injury free or it could have tripped and then fallen Not to mention she ALWAYS pushes her horses to ride fast because she has no patience and wants to get there faster and if someone tells her they needed to rest the horses or they'll break them she just throws hissy fits about how they have to hurry and they're just slowing her down Horses are not machines good god They're living breathing animals that need care just like we doThe next one was near the end of the book where she pushed everyone so hard and rode for hours at a blistering gallop just so they could reach their destination faster And then I clearly remember someone Skye I believe it was telling her that she lamed a horse And you know what Katsa’s response to this was? “Oh he’s not lame He’s perfectly fine” and then throws a fit about how he’s slowing them down and they need to get up and ride him harder so they can get to their destination faster OMFG I almost threw the book across the room in rageThe place names were very uncreative You might think they’re clever but they were shallow attempts at trying to make them seem “fantasy” epic like They were just barely concealed renamings of East West South North and Middle And I didn’t even get started on the writing It was super choppy suffered from an annoying excess of repetitive phrasing and without a lot of “showing” The structure was all the same Katsa went and did this did that felt this and so on and so forth Another problem was the insane amounts of info dumping in the beginning After the third page I just couldn’t give a rip about the places’ history what it looked like who was who’s fatherI can see why a lot of people love this book There’s romance a super strong female character that kicks butt and the tried and true uestadventure formula of a fantasy novel But it’s just not for me I absolutely hate not finishing a series so I’ll probably read the next one but ugh not looking forward to it My opinion? Avoid this book I may probably be stoned to death for this review because every where I go it seems to be so well loved and praised with glowing reviews July 2020 I cannot look at my original review for this book any It's time it went under a tag I won't delete it because it's sorta fun and deeply embarrassing to look back on the silly things I thought when I was younger But I don't believe almost all of the things I wrote 9 years ago If I ever do a reread I'll write an updated reviewOld review posted 7th May 2011view spoilerFirst thing I need to point out is that I consider myself a feminist even as far as to take an active role is such matters Previously I have written articles on Feministing and I honestly think so many of these issues are still very important in today's world However you look at it the battle for euality has not been won and has in fact become rather dormantOn that note I love reading fiction by feminist writers Atwood never fails to deliver and The Handmaid's Tale is one of my favourite books of all time Similarly with Virginia Woolf's A Room of One's Own except Woolf's writing can make you want to slit your wrists at times The point of me saying this is that when I heard Graceling called 'feminist propaganda' rather than being repelled I was intrigued I love modern stories with strong heroines who can stand up for themselves and don't need to wait for prince charming to swoop in and save them Katsa fit this in many ways true but I have so many issues with the feminist ideals in this novel that I don't know where to beginI am constantly faced with the irritating irony of radical feminists The irony being that their favourite passtime is telling women what to do Real feminism as in the one that actually cares about women is about choice not about having to follow strict guidelines in order to banish the image of feminity It's people like Kristin Cashore who make the term 'feminism' seem like a dirty word Being strong and capable of making your own decisions is one thing but the extremes of having to prove that you don't care about your looks or refusing to wear a dress is ridiculous I wear dresses I wear make up I like to make the effort to look nice but in Cashore's world that means I'm a weak pathetic wannabe housewifeFor me the main mistake that Cashore makes is to assume that anything 'girly' is bad It's an ongoing debate about women and feminism For example take the stereotype that women are emotional and are therefore weak than men The argument is Is this wrong and women are not emotional? Or does what's wrong lie in the idea that emotions are a weakness because they are a feminine trait? Radical feminism continues to try and spit on traditional aspects of what it means to be feminine Of course it is arguable that the idea of 'feminine' is created through socialisation eg dressing babies in either pink or blue depending on gender but it has long been my opinion that if you take the colour pink a worldwide symbol of the female gender and make it into something that should be disgusting then that's about as anti woman as you can getMargaret Atwood understood the dangers of radicalism and wrote the novel to go with it In the same way that extreme socialism becomes the mirror of totalitarianism radical feminism begins to mirror sexism And that's why I had issues with a great deal of Graceling But what I did like was the love story between Katsa and Po once Katsa got over the idea that he would somehow take possession of her after sex Po was a sweetheart and an all round likeable character And don't get me wrong I never really disliked Katsa because the fact that she refuses to wear a dress and doesn't want children is entirely her choice and that's what's important I liked her strength and at many times I felt her frustration particularly with regards to the girls throughout the kingdoms who were never taught to protect themselves because their fathers and brothers were expected to do it I completely agree with the idea that the girls should have been taught self defence and self sufficiencyThe whole backdrop of magical kingdoms and whatnot was alright It fit nicely around the main characters but I found the love story to hold most of my attention and that's why I've decided that I don't want to read Fire The reviews of it tell me that romance comes far behind the whole fantasy aspect and I still have Tolkien nightmares Yeah so not a bad story but so many things disagreed with what I stand for hide spoiler When a monster stopped behaving like a monster did it stop being a monster? Did it become something else? Authors take note This is YA Lit done rightKatsa is a monster She's been one ever since she discovered the power of her killing Grace Onlyshe starts to wonder does she have to be?In the Graceling Realm those born with heterochromia different colored eyes are blessed with a Grace A Grace can be anything from the mundane ie holding your breath indefinitely to the cruel ie mind control Katsa has been blessed with a killing grace Ever since she was a child she could murder at the slightest touch A Gracling born into her kingdom is automatically offered to the King her uncle Under his thumb she murdered tortured and struck horror across his lands and the seven kingdomsHowever as she grew older she became less comfortable in her own skin So she formed an alliance with sympathizers and started moonlighting as a hero When a mysterious prince one with a silver eye and a gold eye and graced with fighting visits to her kingdom she finds herself uestioning everything she's ever doneFirst off abso freaking lutely loved this premise The powers the suabbling kingdoms the atmosphere YES Mercy was frightening than murder because it was harder Second off I loved Katsa's strength She's far stronger than any man in the kingdom but the writing and the characterization is done so well that she never dips a toe into Mary Sue territory nor does she get thrown into the self sacrificing woe is me category She's a badass who's earned her credentials And I adore her sass Perhaps I can stay by the fire and mend your socks and scream if I hear any strange noises Third off I loved the love There was no falling in love at first sight no shoe horned love triangle and NO weird YA boy smells I adored between Katsa and her beau Po and I will defend their love to my dying day They have such a stable healthy relationship something that is woefully in short supply in YA Katsa sat in the darkness of the Sunderan forest and understood three truths She loved Po She wanted Po And she could never be anyone's but her ownIf you are in the mood for uality YA lit pick this series up This is my fourth read through and I loved it as much as the first The 2018 PopSugar Reading Challenge A book about a villian or antiheroAudiobook CommentsHoly mother of pearl Full cast audio production each character had a different actoractress there was music between chapters AND the kid voices sounded really realistic An absolute pleasure to listen toYouTube | Blog | Instagram | Twitter | Snapchat mirandareads Happy Reading What I think about when I hear the namePo Po the Panda Po from Telletubbies A crazy guy like Edgar Allen Poe PooKatsa Ketchup Mutant KatnissRor Roar I'm a T RexTealiff Tea LeafSkye Skype A modern name which you will NOT find in a medieval placeKing Randa Ranting Panda King Ranting PandaDrowden Drowsy DrowningThigpen Pig pen Thinking penLeck Lick Peck Neck Smack Some other variationLienid An insult Hey you LienidBy the way Po's real name is Greening Grandemalion Great at least its not Yellowing Grandemalion or Purpling Grandemalion or something stupid like that That would sound really weird unlike Greening Grandemalion which is a name someone would normally give to their child YeahIf you have any suggestions about what the names from Graceling sound like feel free to put it in the commentsNote Next up is the review which is very thorough about the issues of Graceling's worldbuilding This is going to take a while but stay with me Thanks Actual Rating 25 starsWhen reviewers criticize Graceling they often complain about the view on feminism I think enough has been said about that so for detailed reviews about that issue I recommend Amanda's review and Tatiana's reviewHowever this isn't Graceling's only flaw The other big problem is the black and white world buildingWorld of Graceling Graceling is set in a european ish medieval land with horses taverns kings castles and anything else you would except to find in such a place The land is divided into seven kingdoms Lienid the island kingdom Monsea a kingdom closed off by the mountains Middluns the middle kingdom and Nander Estill Sunder Wester which surround Middluns on the North East South and West side respectively See what Cashore did there? Another aspect is the Graced; some people are born with special abilities called Graces such as mind reading excellent swimming skills killing etc There is great prejudice against the Graced except in Lienid and one can tell if another person is Graced if the person's eyes are mismatched colors Random comment One of my friends has eyes like this It's a condition called heterochromia iridum But sadly my friend has no superpowers AnywaysI think we can all agree that European medieval worlds are definitely overdone; nearly every epic fantasy or high fantasy is set in one However authors can still make them fresh if they add complexity to them with new aspects or intriguing historyExamples of Fresh Intriguing WorldsFor example in Cinda Williams Chima's Seven Realms the generic fantasy world is made fresh by complex struggles between Gray Wolf ueens Clan and Wizards There is a well developed and uniue culture in the world stemming from the struggles between Clan and Wizards and the history is complex and believableAnother example is The Well Between the Worlds It is a retelling of the King Arthur tale set in a medieval world but adds the elements of the Wells the sinking of Lyonnesse and industrialization to make a breathtakingly fresh and original world So what's the matter with Graceling's world?Why Graceling's World building Simply Isn't Good EnoughFirst off there are only a few fresh aspects of this world1 The idea of the Graced2 Some cultural aspects of the Lienid like the gold jewelry Po's tattoos and the ringinheritance thingand that's pretty much it But there's got to be Anything Tell me is thereA religion? NoHistory? Like references to why the kingdoms are how they are etc? NopeMythologylegendsstories about old heroes Graced etc? NoUniue cultural aspects? NoneAnything that separates the world of Graceling from other fantasies? I'm sorry but there is other than the Graced nothing original hereOkay okay we get it Nothing new here But sometimes generic fantasy worlds are complex There are complex issues complex characters and complex motivations which make up for the lack of originality In fact a world lacking new ideas sometimes portrays old ideas in a new light What about Graceling? Is there any complexity?Lack of complexity in GracelingPart One The Inhabitants of the worldEEEEEEVIL PEOPLE The villain view spoilerKing Leck hide spoiler When a monster stopped behaving like a monster did it stop being a monster? Did it become something else? This is one of my most reread books of all time and it was such a big influence on both what I write and what I love to read and I love and appreciate it every time I think this book is a little bit misunderstood sometimes Graceling opens as Katsa a character graced with the skill to kill people—literally actually murder them—puts a group of guards out cold rather than killing them while trying to rescue a falsely imprisoned old man She then returns to her palace where she is thought of and treated as a weapon for a cruel king She thinks of herself as a dog and a brute and an idiot until she and a new friend move to track down the answers to a mystery dogging a nearby kingdom Katsa prizes her mind it is the only she has ever had to herself One of the first things we learn of her is her hatred for mind readers and while this serves a plot purpose it also ties in well with her other fears Her body and power has for so long been Randa’s as a weapon But she is not a weapon Though Katsa could and would kill the bad guy to survive a horror movie she also does the right thing or tries She cares for other people in her own stubborn and angry way To move anywhere beyond her own self image she must go from thinking of herself as a killer a monster a weapon to thinking of herself as a justice seeker She must find love Po and allow herself to care for those around her Bitterblue And she must go from thinking of her talent as a curse to thinking of it as a tool The graces are a neutral element—both good and bad depending on their useThe thing about the climax of Katsa's character arc is that it isn’t defined by violence it’s defined by Katsa regaining power over her mind view spoilerIt isn’t a great feat that she kills; we know all along that she can kill anyone she wants It is the fact that she kills someone as he tries to control her mind that is so important Her conflict is never about her physical power but about her love for Bitterblue and Po And she wrests back mental control not through her grace but through her love for other people hide spoiler Updated 040114 I happen to like books which feature kick ass feminist heroines and are light on the romance so I should like this book right? Yeah but I don't First of all Katsa acts like a petulant little girl throughout the entire book not some strong feminist poster woman Katsa shows very little if any personal growth over the course of this novel Also I felt like the author spent too much time trying to sell us on the following ideas femininity is an idea forced upon women by the patriarchy men don't respect women commitment ruins relationships marriage is a tool of the devil and so on Look I understand that some women feel that way and I'm completely cool with it I'd be lying if I claimed that I've never thought some of the same things during my lifetime That said I hate how the author seems to be shoving very specific views down my throat instead of telling me a story that challenges me to think for myself This book is written in such a way that it makes me think Cashore the author is using her character her story as a vehicle to voice her very strong opinions Don't get me wrong I don't necessarily have a problem with that sort of thing it's just that this book is being touted as 'feminist' but I fail to see true feminism within the pages of this book I mean I guess you could consider it a version of feminism but it's not very inclusionary In fact it's a very bigoted version of feminism Other than Katsa every other woman in this book is portrayed as weak and dumb So basically unless you're an angry dress hating man hating woman with an aversion to commitment there is something wrong with you News Flash femininity isn't anti feminist I'm sorry but it is possible for independent intelligent and stable women to embrace femininity without losing credibility And anyway isn't that the point of the feminist movement? Gaining euality without having to act like 'one of the guys'? I mean sure you can reject femininity if you want but don't go around assuming that those who are feminine are pathetic weakling losers who do nothing to help the cause It just so turns out that line of thought is backward and does nothing to advance the cause Also Katsa's view of other women in the realm is uite condescending in that she never seems to consider how privileged she is compared to some of these other women Katsa's lucky in that she has the ability to kill pretty much anyone she wants so it's not like she has to do a damn thing anyone tells her to do Despite all the crap she supposedly has to put up with Katsa has benefitted from an education and she's also afforded freedoms than most women because someone else pays her bills She doesn't have to milk the cows or churn butter or become a serving wench She doesn't have to prostitute herself out in order to make ends meetGirlfriend needs to shut the hell up about all that because it's not like she's doing anything other than making a hole observations Katsa's not doing anything to change the way all women in the realm are treated which is fine it's her life whatever She just needs to uit it with the judgmental attitude toward others who can't afford to live or think the way she does I could have handled Katsa's aversion to having a relationship with Poe if she hadn't had any feelings for him or if she knew she wasn't emotionally ready to make any sort of commitment But no Katsa's aversion to commitment was built up do be some great personal strength of hers In the end it just felt like she 'she' being Katsa Or Cashore Kat Shore? was trying to prove a point or something like look at how independent I am I'm not a barnacle I don't need a manexcept for when I needs teh sex So Poe my lover sorry you lost your sight and all but I'll prolly be drunk dialing you in the future cause I am comfortable with my sexuality kthanxbai sob Walking away is waaaaay hard which is why I am so strong sob Grrrrrrrrrrrrrl Powerrrrrr Yeah because being in a loving trusting eual and committed relationship isn't a sign of strength Strength can only be had by loners who don't like to commit because doing so will supposedly lower their self worth ummmI meanindependent people Also it has to be said The love scene grosses me out as much or than the sex scenes in Titanic andor Avatar Some people just don't know how to write a love scene James Cameron and Kristin Cashore are among that group One last thing why is it that no one seems to have an issue with Katsa hitting Po literally knocking him to the ground so hard that he bruises? All he did was voice his opinion that's it Had the tables been turned had Po hit Katsa for voicing her opinion you people would be unbelievably angry I'm sure some of you would be burning Cashore in effigy Let's do a little of this whole turning tables thing Pretend that Katsa is actually a male character and Po is female Okay how much do you love this new topsy turvy version of Graceling? Not very much you say? Yeah I thought so If you ask me Katsa is one of the least deserving protagonists She's a violent judgmental a hole who shows little to no personal growth over the course of this entire book I don't care if she had a difficult childhood having a difficult childhood doesn't mean you have to go around inflicting the worst parts of yourself on others Having a difficult childhood doesn't give you license to be an awful personTwo stars because the concept was cool Too bad it was poorly executed it is so hard to write reviews for books i actually like no lovetalking about this book is like trying to describe to someone a relationship from long ago that was bittersweet and is now over but i have never had a relationship that involved so many horses and swordplay not even metaphorically and fewer people care about my love life than about this book i see you ariel you are glowering at me with tiny slitted eyesbut this book is like a wonderfully sweet relationship at the beginning you can't even imagine how you ever got along without itand your friends ariel try to talk you out of it oh don't get with that guy he gave me herpes or whatever but at the beginning everything was shiny and magical and when things started to go a little bit awry i wrote it off as a glitch a bad day that didn't necessarily mean that we weren't super awesome soulmatesbecause it's true the girl time in the mountain seuence was the weakest but i really thought the book rebounded to perfection afterward we can forgive one drunken dalliance can't we? one lapse in judgment?? what happens n graceling stays in graceling? yes?i just loved so much about this book i never ever get invested in the love story side plots of these teen fiction books i have yet to be on a team but this time i fully believed in their attraction and i really wanted these crazy kids to get together and kick ass together forever their fighting scenes when they were fighting each other were hugely eroticand for once the male lead seemed worthy in a way that others have not been their shyness their tenderness i found it very sweet and if i was a crying type of girl i would definitely have cried at this oneso i am seriously bummed that the seuel is about the early life and times of king lamewad and not about anyone i actually cared about but i will probably read it anyway completist that i amand eventually because i think i have largely abandoned this metaphor and it is very important to follow through even though there were bumps in the road and people got hurt and friends were less free with advice in the future the experience was a generally positive one and the memory lives on as an Important Time where everything seemed possible even liking a book ariel said was badcome to my blog Okay so this was a re read on audio and I thought it was really cool with the multiple narrators and music and stuff But sometimes one of the voices rubbed me the wrong way and the music went from fantasy to what sounded like western music Lol Maybe it was just me I still loved the book though I am in love with Katsa She is an awesome inspiration for women warriors in a book She kicks arse and takes names I love the fact that she doesn't care anything about marriage or having kids She's like my hero I need a tshirt I wish I had her Grace The characters in the book are so wonderful even the evil jerks are played out very well I was so happy when Katsa met Po Are they made for each other or what? I don't like what happened to Po though I have a special place in my heart for Oll Raffin Bann Bitterblue and Helda These are some wonderful characters with a great familyfriendship Katsa isn't like normal women well that's obvious but she doesn't care about any of the every day things women care about She even hates her long hair because it's in her way of doing what she's trying to do Katsa is Randa's mercenary and her Oll and Giddon go out to do his bidding although it's Katsa that dishes out the pain After some time she starts to get tired of doing this to people You will have to read the book to see where that goes Giddon is a good person he just doesn't really understand Katsa and wants too much I enjoyed all of the fighting and sparring between Po and Katsa I loved when she was in a real fight too Not very many but they were the best Then again most people would walk or run away when they saw her coming anyway She's that bad and scary Did I mention Katsa has some cool eyes A lot of the Gracelings have different eyes from everyone else but Katsa has some beautiful ones I am so glad I finally got to read this book it is sooooo awesome