Amelia, the pragmatic idealist's Reviews > Graceling

Graceling by Kristin Cashore
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EDIT: THIS REVIEW IS IN NEED OF A REWRITE.

I bumped this up to 3 stars. There's really only 1 thing about this book I didnt like. Katsa's attitude and some of her decisions.
Second review:

Main idea: My goodreads buddy Isis says it best on her review, and I'll echo her sentiments that "being an angry bitch doesn't give someone a strong constitution or character."
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12/05/2016 marked as: read

Comments (showing 1-48 of 48) (48 new)

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message 1: by Annalisa (last edited Jan 18, 2010 02:03PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Annalisa Amelia,
You may still like the book. The sex scene isn't graphic and after that it's just insinuated; it's not the focus of the story. Sigh. Without that it was such a good story. I'd read a few more reviews (I usually read the 2 & 3 star reviews to get a feel for the negative) and decide.


Amelia, the pragmatic idealist thanks, but I don't think I will. It's not just the sex scene (I can actually stomach those) it's the whole feminist crap and the anti-marriage thing that bothers me. I think I've read at least 100 reviews here, on amazon, on shelfari, on blogs, and in face-to-face conversations... and I don't think I will


Annalisa Okay :). I just want to make sure you read other people's opinions too.


message 4: by Amelia, the pragmatic idealist (last edited Feb 10, 2010 09:06PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Amelia, the pragmatic idealist Well, I guess I did after all! :S


Krista (I remember you, Min) (Critical) Harsh! :) You're so mean to Po... Aw. I didn't think he was girly.


Amelia, the pragmatic idealist haha, I certainly wouldn't date him.


message 7: by Annalisa (last edited Feb 10, 2010 10:24PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Annalisa Haha. Free speech applies to conservatives too. Doesn't it feel like it doesn't sometimes? This is about how I felt with Fire. I couldn't even finish it I was so angry with her. The promiscuity is worse and I didn't even like the story. With this one, I did, which makes it harder. It always breaks my heart with an author ruins her/his own story. I liked Po beforehand.


Amelia, the pragmatic idealist Hahaha well you were so patient with me, Annalisa! I was like, "no I'm not going to read this blah blah blah" but I did anyway :P And it's nice to be in the same boat with someone!


message 9: by Ella (new) - rated it 1 star

Ella I love you! You put into to words what I couldn't. This book appalled me. No one likes to have their beliefs pounded on, and pounded on again. Whenever I see this on all the must-read, bestselling lists I get mad all over again.


message 10: by Ilana (last edited Feb 11, 2010 09:48AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Ilana I am sorry that this book offended your beliefs, Amelia... and I guess Ella, too. I loved it, and I loved Fire even more, but I grew up in a liberal state and a open-minded household where the points of views expressed in Graceling were so normal I didn't even notice them. I do not believe that Cashore meant to "pound on" anyone's beliefs, and I see no reason why children should not be exposed to all sides of the story, and the way people live. People have a right to grow up the person they want to be, and opinions should not be held back from them for any reason. That is only how I see it, and I don't mean to offend anyone in any way. I just thought I'd make another view of the situation clear, because I believe Cashore might have a similar belief.


Amelia, the pragmatic idealist Not at all, Ilana :) Everybody's brought up different. I guess I just have a different idea of age-appropriate things. I just don't agree with sexual content in YA books, and especially if it's presented in a casual, no strings attached way. In this aspect I guess I'm in the minority, but I just didn't see how it was absolutely necessary to put sex in the scenario. That's certainly my way of thinking, though. I try to be open minded about things, but this is a closed issue for me. Oh well :)


message 12: by Ilana (last edited Feb 11, 2010 10:55AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Ilana Well, YA is meant for 12 and over, and I think that by that age most kids know about sex... I mean, it's not like it's described in detail or anything, right? I even know kids that age who write their own stories that at least mention sexual content. I think it has to do with how you're raised, I guess. By the time I was 12 my parents couldn't stop me from reading whatever I wanted, no matter how hard my mom tried before she gave up. I went through a phase around then where I would read adult books ALL the time, and a lot of them had sex. I just really wanted to know everything, I guess. I think that's normal, but maybe it's not.


message 13: by Annalisa (last edited Mar 08, 2010 01:06PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Annalisa Nobody likes to be sold something in literature. You can hate Breaking Dawn because it bends the story to include an abstinence message and you can hate Graceling because it bends the story to include a casual attitude about sex and in both cases you'd be right that a message is superimposed. It's easier to overlook messages that align with your own sympathies, but the truth of the matter is both authors are guilty of letting their personalities/beliefs get in the way instead of letting their characters tell their story.


message 14: by Ilana (last edited Feb 11, 2010 02:22PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Ilana Well, I don't think either author meant it, so I like both books and respect the authors for who they are.


Adris I really like the book but I see your point of view. I love Cashore's writing style but I think her characters are a little bland. They fit a cardboard cut and are very predictable. I also agree with Annalisa, but that's all my complaints. I still think the book was extremely good and loved the sequel even more.



message 16: by Annalisa (last edited Feb 11, 2010 02:52PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Annalisa Ilana, you give authors a lot more benefit of the doubt than I do :). In my opinion, they both meant it. It bothers me because I thought both stories were great ideas and felt cheated by it. Incidentally, I just read over my comment and it sounds snarky. I didn't intend it that way or directed at you, just as an observation in general for all readers. I guess I just have strong opinions :).


Amelia, the pragmatic idealist Well and take into account what messages are saying. Not all of them are "equal," because like Stephenie for example didn't so much push an agenda as she just adhered to morality. You may not like her message, but but what is the worst thing that happened in her story - two teens waited until marriage. What Cashore advocates is much more "mature"/ inappropriate. Once again, I think it is very limiting of an author to require sex in a romantic storyline. And lots of people find that offensive (in YA). On the other hand, I've never heard anyone call waiting until marriage "offensive".


Ilana Annalisa wrote: "Ilana, you give authors a lot more benefit of the doubt than I do :). In my opinion, they both meant it. It bothers me because I thought both stories were great ideas and felt cheated by it. Incide..."

I try to. I can sometimes be very judgmental, but when I do I don't think I get the most out of what I am reading, and so I attempt at letting myself be critical and at the same time putting myself in the authors shoes and seeing where they're coming from. I don't think you sounded snarky, don't worry. I like chatting with all of you. :D



Amelia*annabeth&percy*sittin in a tree* wrote: "Well and take into account what messages are saying. Not all of them are "equal," because like Stephenie for example didn't so much push an agenda as she just adhered to morality. You may not like ..."

I find it somewhat.... Well, not really "offensive", but I did not appreciate the turn of events, that's for sure. For a while she made it seem like the only reason they never had sex was because of the vampire thing, and then as soon as they were married that no longer applied, which bothered me a great deal. So, I really think it depends, Amelia.


Ilana Adris wrote: "I really like the book but I see your point of view. I love Cashore's writing style but I think her characters are a little bland. They fit a cardboard cut and are very predictable. I also agree wi..."

I, actually, think her characters had a lot of depth, and it just was not very obvious at first. But everyone sees things differently. I loved the books very much as well. :D


Amelia, the pragmatic idealist Ilana wrote: "Annalisa wrote: "Ilana, you give authors a lot more benefit of the doubt than I do :). In my opinion, they both meant it. It bothers me because I thought both stories were great ideas and felt chea..."

Yeah maybe I shouldn't take on BD cause Ive only read it once. To be sure, I found it weird that they were getting married as teens - I really don't think Bella knew enough about Edward... Their relationship certainly wasn't perfect, and I don't want to make Stephenie out to be Mrs Perfect, but she didn't put premarital sex into the mix. I don't think it's an "agenda" if it's a moral principle you're upholding. So she's not without issues of her own, but I appreciate her for keeping it clean. I'm just tired of all the "marriage sucks your independence!" message. I've always marriage. What's wrong with marriage? Haha


message 21: by Annalisa (last edited Feb 11, 2010 05:06PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Annalisa Amelia, I totally agree with you. I was just pointing out that Meyer got a lot of flack for her statements and so is Cashore. It's the opposite side of the same coin, but I don't like Cashore's message in YA either. I personally think Graceling should have been sold as adult high fantasy. There doesn't seem to be much YA about it. The messages from Meyer I didn't like were guys sneaking into her room/stalkerish almost, married at 18, the girl begging for sex and expecting the guy to turn her down, her ditching her friends for her boyfriend, the way she treated Jacob after she was committed to Edward, etc. Why do I always end up comparing everything to Twilight! I'm married and marriage is great :).

Ilana, good :). I liked Katsa's character, for the most part. I didn't like Fire's though. She did seem too much like Katsa, but not as sympathetic, and it bothered me that she was sleeping with Archer and not caring that he was sleeping around with everyone else. I didn't finish the book, but I didn't think she was as well developed.


message 22: by Jess (last edited Feb 11, 2010 08:37PM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Jess The only reason I gave this book three stars (2.5 actually, but rounded up) was because, the agenda aside, I loved this book. It would have probably been at least a four star book (means I'd buy it), and quite possibly been a 5 star, which I don't do much.
I totally agree that her agenda ruined the book.
I did like Po though, but I thought that Katsa was such a jerk to assume that he'd "take away her freedom". Whatever, Po wouldn't have done that at all. You can't make your character so tolerant, than make the arguement that he'd "own" her. It just doesn't work.
Annalisa, while I didn't like the way Bella treated Jacob, it wasn't that I was upset with Stephenie, I was upset with Bella. If that makes any sense. And, though Bella did want to sleep with Edward in the third one, by the time he finally said yes (at the end) she's the one who steps up and says no. I liked that, because it wasn't always one person being strong. I hate that in books. And if Jessica was my friend, I'd ditch her too. :)
That's why I never read Fire, I heard she was worse than Katsa. Which is a shame, because I think Cashore has a lot of talent, but I'm not willing to read stuff like that.
EDIT: I wrote my review when the Novacain was still working...I'm going to rate it down.


message 23: by Annalisa (last edited Feb 11, 2010 09:41PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Annalisa Jess, you're right about being upset at Bella and not Stephenie with that one. There's was a lot about that girl that upset me :). And if I were friends with Jessica--no wait, I would never be friends with Jessica :). Don't bother with Fire, she's not as likable as Katsa and the messages were worse. I gave Graceling 3 stars too because I liked the story outside the relationship and Fire 1.


message 24: by Jess (new) - rated it 2 stars

Jess Haha, I changed it to two stars, but I really liked the basic storyline...which is a shame.
I both loved and hated Bella, because I had to ask myself if I would have had similar problems if I were her. A vampire or a werewolf? Yes, I would most definitely have had problems choosing. :)


Ilana Annalisa wrote: "Amelia, I totally agree with you. I was just pointing out that Meyer got a lot of flack for her statements and so is Cashore. It's the opposite side of the same coin, but I don't like Cashore's mes..."

I thought Fire was even more awesome than Katsa and not as bland, but that's just me. It was nice talking with you all! I am not going to get into another Twilight discussion right now because where I am it's 1:15am and I'm tired. :)


message 26: by Annalisa (last edited Feb 11, 2010 10:22PM) (new) - rated it 3 stars

Annalisa Jess, of course it would be a difficult decision, but if she's swooning that much over Edward I didn't think she should be faltering.
Ilana, Unfortunately, I turn everything into a Twilight discussion. It drives me crazy that I do. It seems like most people liked Fire more than Graceling. It could be the attitude I came into the book with, but I just didn't relate to Fire at all like I did with Katsa and it didn't feel as original either. If it's after midnight there, that means it's February 12th and Percy Jackson and the Lightning Thief comes out today :). That makes Amelia happy.


message 27: by Ilana (last edited Feb 12, 2010 09:18AM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

Ilana ME TOO! I AM VERY EXCITED! I have to go to sleep now.... (wave)


message 28: by Jess (new) - rated it 2 stars

Jess I forgot!!!! I have to go see that!


Amelia, the pragmatic idealist Jess wrote: "The only reason I gave this book three stars (2.5 actually, but rounded up) was because, the agenda aside, I loved this book. It would have probably been at least a four star book (means I'd buy i..."

Jess = perfect! Exactly how I felt too! You are so much more eloquent than me... You're right about Katsa, Bella, and everything in between :)


message 30: by Jess (new) - rated it 2 stars

Jess Amelia, I am most definitely not more eloquent than you. Your book reviews are alway my favorite!


Mounica There are YA books out there with such mature content that it makes me wonder if the authors really know their audience--teens. Like, I want to grab John Green by his ear and yell, “Teenagers are not adults! Did you ever think about how Looking for Alaska could negatively influence teens??” God, I hate that book.

And I personally think that Graceling and the Twilight series are different from the above books and similar to each other. Both Bella and Katsa are hesitant when it comes to marriage as they think it that could spoil their love relationship. I guess both books are saying to consider before you take a huge step like marriage. And this can offend some; it’s just a matter of opinion. At least these books don’t casually throw out adult topics like other YA books. But, I do think the sex scene was unnecessary.


Amelia, the pragmatic idealist Lol, I see what you mean, but I personally would never put Kristin and Stephenie in the same league. Kristin pretty much mutilates the concept of marriage (and commitment) and Stephenie seems to uphold it... way to go, Steph


Jessie Hey Amelia,
Thanks for the honest review. I had high hopes for Graceling in the first 70 pages, and thought it would make it onto my favorites shelf. It didn't. Fire is about the same with the agenda and anti-marriage line. It really makes me wonder when two different characters like that are written so similarly...


I am Bastet Haha I just realized I was quoted here. Thank you :)

Lol, Kashore totally has an anti-marriage agenda with this book, it's so obvious.


message 35: by Michele (new) - added it

Michele Great review Amelia, I completely agree! I couldn't finish reading this book because the obvious agenda bothered me so much. -Felt like you were reading Ms magazine- Lol that's it exactly!


Amelia, the pragmatic idealist haha, thank you both! :DD


Aryana i liked the book...and i certainly liked Po...a lot :P...i guess people are free to read it or not...or to like it or not...there are still a lot of great books you can find xD


message 38: by Christie (new) - added it

Christie I think you might be the only person I know who didn’t love this one. I haven’t read it but now I’m curious :)


Amelia, the pragmatic idealist lol yeah I practically hated it. But it's mostly for personal reasons. I still wouldn't recommend it though :P


message 40: by Penny (last edited Sep 13, 2010 08:24PM) (new) - rated it 2 stars

Penny I salute you for not liking this book. I couldn't even finish it, and I tried (several times) to finish it. I struggled after Po and Katsa had sex for the first time. And I'm not necessarily opposed to sex in YA fiction. But the no-strings-attached sex really got to me.

And, I'm sorry, but I was truly disgusted that they got down and dirty right after they kissed for the first time. It felt so quick and cheap, and the scene wasn't even well written. The sad part is I'm sure Kashore was aiming for a beautiful love scene, but she totally failed. I know I exaggerate from time to time, but believe me when I say I felt dirty and ill after reading it. Again, this is from a woman who isn't totally opposed to sexual content in YA fiction, so long as it is tastefully written and has a purpose.

An example of a well-written (not filthy in the least) sex scene is in Jellicoe Road by Melina Marchetta. It's not brazen, it's not descriptive. It's incredibly realistic and even, dare I say, beautiful. It happened at just the right time in the story. I admit the book would have been just as good without the sex scene, as Jellicoe isn't feminist propaganda disguised as YA fiction, but I liked that the author didn't make it seem like losing one's virginity is easy and super-duper enjoyable. At the same time it's beautifully written.

But yeah, Katsa and Po's non-relationship relationship grosses me out. It's even more disappointing that it's two teenagers who are having no-strings-attached sex. It just feels so wrong.


Amelia, the pragmatic idealist hey Penny! thanks for letting me know I'm definitely not alone on this one. I think to be fair, (and even though personally I am somewhat of a hardcore puritanical prude in real life) I can totally handle "love scenes" and even respect them if it's...you know, love. But here? it's just disgusting and vulgar and really bothers me that kids are reading this and (perhaps) thinking that this is okay. Can we have some commitment, please?! I guess we all just have a higher opinion of romantic love. High Five!


Emily I liked this book, but I must say I agree with you on the Po and Katsa thing. And J.R.R Tolkien is better.


Amelia, the pragmatic idealist Thanks Emily! And you're right - there were a lot of cool things about the book. And Tolkien rocks!


Emily Yes I love Lord of the Rings they are my favortie!


Lauren As a teen Reading Graceling for the first time, I couldn't agree more. Modern authors can't seem to write a book without resorting to sex.
Katsa begins the book as a half-wild killer afraid of anything that takes away from her freedom...while being controlled by her uncle. She ends the book still completely afraid of commitment. Bah, I found it most unsatisfactory.


Amelia, the pragmatic idealist Lauren, thank you so much for sharing your thoughts. It's one thing for adults to read YA books and react certain ways, but you teens are the primary audience, so it's great to hear what a teenage reader actually thinks. And you know, I can tell that you're very perceptive and mature from your comment. Thank you for sharing with me! :D


message 47: by KJ Shadows (new) - added it

KJ Shadows Sabriel is amazing <3


I am Bastet I still stand by that original statement. It sums up my problems with Katsa as a character, without the other things that annoyed me (probably irrationally) getting in the way.


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