Last night I finished reading Graceling by Kristin Cashore. I downloaded it on my iPad and took a look at the cover. I will admit that I was a little put off by the quote on the cover, stating that the book “will slake the thirst of Twilight fans” (Publisher’s Weekly). I’ll be honest with you here. I have read Twilight and while I enjoyed it a lot at the time and touted it as “the best book I have ever read” (yes, that’s a quote from myself), I have since changed my tune. Now I’m not going to turn this into a Twilight bashing, but there are many books with a similar sort of plot and appeal, that have been created with far superior writing. I think perhaps my attitude has changed since the movies have been released and the teen angst appears to be so much more apparent in them. I have also realised that I prefer your traditional Dracula sort of vampire, not ones that sparkle. Anyway, this book that I have just finished reading should not be compared to Twilight. In no way are they similar – aside from maybe being aimed at teen readers.
The story is set in a fictional country, in a time when warriors fought with swords and bows & arrows. Every now and then a child is born who is Graced. The Grace is unique to each child and could be anything from an unusual aptitude for swimming, to exceptional skill with a sword. It is here that we meet Katsa, who has the unenviable Grace of killing. She is similar in some ways (name aside) to Katniss in The Hunger Games, in the sense that in the grand scheme of things, she is at first an unwilling heroine, rebelling against “the man”, so to speak. She is not one of the most loveable characters I have come across, but you have to admire her determination and humility in certain situations. The supporting characters are well created, do not overpower Katsa at all and are complimentary to her. I feel like Cashore has been careful not to have too many characters with large roles, perhaps being her first novel she did not want to load down the story with too many overpowering people and instead focus more on the plot instead. This I am very happy with as it has allowed the story to flow nicely and enable you to read it quickly, without trying to remember who was who.
I found it quite difficult to believe that this was Cashore’s first novel. While she has not gone into immense detail about the world she has created, she has given enough for you to be able to imagine it while you are reading, and there are enough similarities to our own world for it to be almost believable. From what I understand, this is the first in a series of books about the Gracelings, and I really hope that Cashore continues to build on the world she has already created and enrich it further.
RATING – 8 out of 10.
WHO SHOULD READ IT – If you enjoyed The Hunger Games you will like this, and I suppose if you liked Twilight you will enjoy this also.
WHO YOU’LL LOVE – Raffin was my favourite. Not a large role in the book, but he certainly lightens the mood when he is there.