Sunday, September 18, 2011

Review: Graceling by Kristin Cashore

Graceling (The Seven Kingdoms, #1)
Kristin Cashore 
First published October 1st, 2008
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 . . . a secret that could destroy all seven kingdoms with words alone.

This was my first experience with an Audiobook and I was pleasantly surprised. I loved that it had a full cast audio and the narrator was great.

I'm not a huge fan of Fantasy novels. I only picked this up because it was recommended by a lot of my friends and I found an audiobook version of it when I needed one. I'm pretty sure that if I would have read it rather than listen to it, it would have gotten a 3 star. I would have likely felt bored about half way through. But the audiobook went along pretty quickly and I found myself enjoying the flow of the story.

The plot wasn't anything noteworthy, especially the first half. It was mostly men fighting and treating women like crap. The characters is what saved it for me. I really enjoyed Katsa and Bitterblue. They were strong and brave. Katsa has a huge heart and does what it takes to survive. I loved how much she cared about Bitterblue, even when her mind was on Po, alone and hurt in the forest. I liked Po too, but I enjoyed the journey with Bitterblue a lot more.

Once we meet Bitterblue is when I started to get very interested in the story. It quickly got intense and very emotional. They were knocking on death's door and the suspense kept me in tune. I also found the Graces very intriguing - they're special abilities that some people are born with. Like great fighting abilities, mind reading etc. It was original and gave extra kick to the characters.

The writing was very sophisticated. I loved the prose and the character voices. The pace was a bit slow, but the audiobook made it move along regardless. Though I can't say how reading it would have been like. The world building was pretty great. I lost track of a few minor characters, but the kingdoms and politics were fun to process.

I'm not sure if I will read the rest of the series or not. Most likely I will try to find the audiobooks. I'll check into the reviews first and we'll see. This isn't usually my choice of book, though, and it's the first Fantasy novel I read that has gotten more than a 2 star rating from me. So that's something!

4/5 hot espressos