I must commend the imagination of Cashore. It was nice to hear a supernatural power called a Grace, each quite complex, instead of just relating it toI must commend the imagination of Cashore. It was nice to hear a supernatural power called a Grace, each quite complex, instead of just relating it to magic. However, the many themes covered in this book- falling in love with a prince, escaping an evil ruler while rescuing a princess, and medieval-like Kingdoms (With somewhat unoriginal names like Middluns, Sunder, Wester, etc.)- have been rehashed before. But, I'm getting ahead of myself....
In short, Graceling is about a girl, Katsa, with a Grace that is quite powerful, and many believe it is the Grace of Killing. She meets a prince who also happens to be Graced. The ever so romantically named Prince Po. Both characters are well developed and mature throughout the story, though I believe Po to be written more multi-faceted than Katsa. As guessed they fall in love.
I do enjoy how their relationship develops. They become intimate friends first and we, as readers, get to glimps how much each means to the other. I suppose I use the word "glimps" because when Katsa does realize, quite suddenly, that she is in love, they proceed to consummate the aforementioned love. Did I mention it all happens very quickly? On one page Katsa is head-strong and independent. A few pages later Po and Katsa are in bed.
After she realizes her love for him, the rest of the story heavily focuses on their feelings instead of the reasons why they feelings continue to develop. I also was a little ruffled by the sex, though not explicitly described, that seemingly is randomly thrown in their without driving the plot much or developing their relations further. Also, Katsa's reason for not marrying Po seems rather...feeble.
But other than that, and trying not to reveal too much, the book is quite original-though the Middle Age theme of the book is already a cliched theme in the fantasy world of literature- and imaginatively thought up.
In short, nothing explosively new and exciting but a decent book nonetheless....more
The first HALF of the book could have been a bit more succint. I felt it dragged on too long and that almost made me mark this book with threes stars.The first HALF of the book could have been a bit more succint. I felt it dragged on too long and that almost made me mark this book with threes stars. But I couldn't, not to this lovely work of literary art.
I understand that the first part sets up the character and how she is like. We feel for her because of all she's been through and how she still tries to have a normal childhood (soccer, a little stealing, and a childhood romance). But it dragged too long and detered from the plot of the story. Another falling grace was that, no matter how hard I tried, I could not love Liesel. I liked her tremendously, but her character, I felt, was never developed very fully.
Maybe it was Death narrating, which detracted from her actual thoughts and emotions. But a third party narrator shouldn't have that effect. I think mostly it the fact that she never said very much nor did anything on her own very much (at least for a book character which, in order make a book work needs to have the protagonist do more than day to day activities).
The book itself had a lot of short sentences and short chapters, which made this 500 plus page book an easier read than expect.
Overall, Zusak does a wonderful job in writing. One of my favorite parts, at least in terms of writing is, (and I'm not putting it in quotes because this is from memory:
Rudy smiled. It was like a skid across his face. He waited.
Otto wasted no time in loosing control of his bike, sliding across the icy road, and skidding to a halt.
With that, one can see the use of short sentences and Zusak's unique style of simile's and metaphors. He combines the intagible and turns them tangible, especially when describing words-their heaviness and often very real effects.
At first, with most reviews, people often described the power of books in Liesel's life. But this story was much more than that, for which I am pleasantly surprised. Though I hated myself for it (for what is more cliched than using war to analyze humanity-the loss, the suffering, the growing up) I did appreciate Zusak's take on war and the emotions it brings out. Cleverly, but not quite as original, Zusak uses Death to contemplate the complexities of human nature. I must say he succeeds quite well and this is more than a girl who thieves for books....more
A long title and a lot going on in the book. Yet, a volumous amount of words does not equate to volumous amount of content.
I was sorely tempted to giA long title and a lot going on in the book. Yet, a volumous amount of words does not equate to volumous amount of content.
I was sorely tempted to give this book two stars. But, and now I will list the paltry amount of well-deserved praise for the book, Larsson does create a slight sense of anticipation, and his characterization was none too shabby either.
But even those deserve praise with a grain of salt. The "page-turning" did not happen for me until well past the middle of the book. Larsson spends too much time building the situation, the journalist trying to solve the case spends much of the time sitting around, contemplating the murder, and having good bedtimes with girls before he actually does anything.
Even the characters seems to extreme and flat. Lisbeth is a bad girl, and no one knows her pain except her. But, of course, who is the only one who can cheer her up, Mikael, imagine that. Then Larsson ruins the moment between the two by giving them an intimate moment that neither moves the plot forward nor has any other reason behind it-except of course adding to the sexual appeal this book has (for what's a thriller without violence and sex?)
Lisbeth of course is also the girl that has convenient tools for an investigator-photographic memory and hacking skills the likes of which the world has never seen.
Lastly, the plot. I felt that nothing truly happens until well into the last quarter of the book. After all the laying around, contemplation and internet hacking on Lisbeth's part, several gunshots are fired, we find an intersting twist (a terrible pun on my part with how the one character is mentally) and finally the solution of the crime. One good thing though, I do appreciate how Larsson led us astray slighty so that the crime did not seem to easy to solve, made me think a little-which I appreciate from any book.
If I seem a bit sardonic, forgive me-I just expectd better with all the hype. I will say this, as mentioned before, the book is not necessary a light read and intellectually there was a fair amount. If any book- whether by twists and turns of the plot, layering of character, or the subtle explanation and philosophies of humanity-can allow a certain degree of intellectual freedom, it deserves no less than three stars....more