Friday, April 24, 2009

Kristin Cashore/GRACELING


Katsa is "graced" with the ability to kill, a magical gift that is manipulated by her uncle, the king of one of seven kingdoms in the realm. Katsa hates acting the thug and starts an underground group of do-gooders, called The Council, to counteract the evil of her uncle and others like him. When a secret rescue mission for The Council brings Katsa into the thick of sinister happenings in a neighboring kingdom, she'll need the help of Prince Po, who is also graced with a great skill for fighting. But Po is hiding something, and Katsa is dangerously attracted to him.

I devoured the first half of this book because the character dynamics are great. The interchange between Katsa and Po is snappy (and often made me laugh out loud). Katsa is an interesting character, rough around the edges but likable, admirably skilled but with mixed feelings about her grace. The sinister mystery that catalyzes the plot drew me in, but ultimately had no real bearing on the storyworld, which was a bit disappointing. But this is more of a character story, and the characters are very well done.

The second half of the book didn't interest me as much. I skimmed over much of a long trek through the wilderness where the character dynamics didn't have as much opportunity to play out. Another problem I had with the book was that I didn't buy some of the most important character motivations: why does Katsa let her uncle control her, and why does Po feel such a great need to keep a secret? We're given reasons, but they don't go deep enough to be convincing. Still, I really liked the story and I'll be keeping an eye out for the two companion books.

5 comments:

moonrat said...

eek, i hate long treks through the wilderness. that's where most books go wrong for me.

Cheryl said...

Steer clear, then. I'm guessing you're not big on high fantasy? That genres seems to involve wilderness treks pretty often.

Leigh Russell said...

The trek through the wilderness in Lord of the Rings kept me engrossed but I agree, long treks are generally dull. I suppose Tolkien's trek was puncuated with adventure. I quite like some fantasy, but will probably give this one a miss.

Cheryl said...

There was certainly a lot of danger involved in the trek--it was of an escape through the wilderness. But it was quite long. The book is 450 pages or so.

Leigh Russell said...

But 450 pages wouldn't seem long if the book held your interest. I think the 'length' has more to do with whether the narrative engages your interest than with actual number of pages.