Genevieve's Reviews > Graceling

Graceling by Kristin Cashore
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's review
Mar 23, 2009

it was ok
bookshelves: fiction, sff, ya-childrens
Read in March, 2009

This one has been getting a lot of praise, but it didn't do much for me. Although I liked the premise––a strong heroine with a moral dilemma! danger and intrigue!––and the first scene drew me in, I was disappointed by the execution. The world felt unimaginative and barely sketched-out (to the point that the names of five out of seven kingdoms are thinly disguised versions of North, South, East, West, and Middle); the plot was thin and most of the characters flat. The 'some people have special powers and are feared by others' thing is not new and exciting in and of itself (superheroes anyone?), and unfortunately Cashore doesn't explore the areas that might have made her version interesting––I don't think the psychological impact on Katsa of having a killing gift was really followed through, for instance. (And the special-colored eyes screamed cliché.)

The best part of the book was the interaction between the two main characters, Katsa and Po, but even they seemed inconsistent and not fully realized. The young girl character who came in later on was a complete cipher, while the characters at the castle felt like types rather than real people. I also could not believe in any of the intrigue/mystery bits––all the characters, even the spy-master, seemed remarkably un-suspicious and ready to jump to conclusions.
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