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Past Discussions of Group Reads > Graceling--For Those Who Have Finished

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message 1: by Jamie (The Perpetual Page-Turner), The Founding Bookworm (new)

Jamie (The Perpetual Page-Turner) (perpetualpageturner) | 4407 comments Mod
Please use this thread to talk about the book as a whole after you have finished.

Some general starting questions:

Did you like or dislike the book? Did you like the ending? Favorite characters? Favorite quotes? Did you like the author's style? Were you confused by anything in the book? etc.

Feel free to post any discussion questions that are more specific to the book once you have finished. The moderators and discussion leader will try and facilitate the discussion but since everybody's reading schedule/life schedule are different, they may not be able to do so at the beginning of the month. So, any discussion questions are welcome! :)

message 2: by Daisy (new)

Daisy | 686 comments I LOVED this book, read it a couple of weeks ago. While I thought the ending wasn't perfect, I did like it and I hope there'll be a sequel or another story set in this universe where we'll meet Katsa and Po again. I loved both of them.

My favourite quote: "I'm not going to wear a red dress," she said.
"It would look stunning, My Lady," she called.
She spoke to the bubbles gathered on the surface of the water. "If there's anyone I wish to stun at dinner, I'll hit him in the face."

I think it shows Katsa's no-nonsense personality.

message 3: by Sarah (new)

Sarah (sarahsaysread) This book was fantastic! Katsa was a great heroine - she was strong, intelligent, and completely loyal to herself and what she wants out of life. She was so sassy and funny, and she stuck to her guns on the whole marriage issue (where in a lot of novels, a woman might give up her former intentions and go ahead and marry once she's in love). But I think Po was my favorite character - he was very cool and confident, but such a sweetheart. AND he was awesome and tough. And both of their Graces were kick-ass. The whole concept of Graces was very interesting, I really liked the world the author created.

I didn't like the ending only because I didn't want the story to end! I'm DYING for a sequel! I heard that the author is working on a book about Bitterblue, and that Katsa and Po will make an appearance in it. I can't wait!

To hold me over, I'm going to start the other book in this series, Fire. It's set about 35 years before Graceling.

message 4: by Jamie (The Perpetual Page-Turner), The Founding Bookworm (new)

Jamie (The Perpetual Page-Turner) (perpetualpageturner) | 4407 comments Mod
Am I correct in that this was her debut novel? Did it feel like a debut novel for you guys? I haven't read it yet so I can't comment but I thought I heard it was her debut novel!

message 5: by Jamie (The Perpetual Page-Turner), The Founding Bookworm (new)

Jamie (The Perpetual Page-Turner) (perpetualpageturner) | 4407 comments Mod
Like I said, I haven't read this, but I'm trying to work on the discussion aspect of the group reads this month so I just found a discussion guide and picked a question that wouldn't spoil it too much for me that I hadn't already heard about this book.

Katsa is fiercely independent yet she is able to care deeply and love Po. Po is equally self-sufficient yet falls deeply in love with Katsa. How does the tension between being independent and being in love affect their relationship?

message 6: by Daisy (new)

Daisy | 686 comments I think it was her debut, Fire is the prequel, but it came out after Graceling.
I thought the concepts of Graces was really original as well!

As to the relationship between Katsa and Po: I think Katsa struggled with this more than Po does. I felt like she was really scared to lose herself because she loves him and at first doesn't know how to deal with this, because she never wanted it in the first place. I think Po is more mellow and accepting of his feelings than Katsa.

message 7: by Tahleen (new)

Tahleen Jamie, it really didn't feel too much like a debut, though there were some parts that might indicate it. She is a fantastic writer, and she created an incredible world, but there were some parts that seemed sudden and flat, like the ending. It had so much build up, and then BOOM it's over.

Daisy, I agree; Katsa is very opposed to losing any sense of autonomy, and she is convinced that a relationship with Po will end it for her, despite her abilities. It's the sort of society where a woman will lose her independence if she marries, as she will be expected to care for her husband and have children.

What do other people feel about how they didn't get married? I was a part of a discussion in another group about this; some people were really upset they didn't get married. It's a big departure from what we are used to.

message 8: by ♥Xeni♥ (new)

♥Xeni♥ (xeni) I actually bought this book a few minutes after I found it on Goodreads. I can't remember what part of the site it was on, but I was so enthralled from the first that I paid the full Amazon fee to get it (instead of buying it second hand) so that I could have it faster.

Because of that, I read it in September.

But, to get to the basic discussion questions:

Did you like or dislike the book? I loved the book; it was intricate, it had a fresh scope on a fantasy realm and it had a, if not sympathetic then at least understandable heroine.

Did you like the ending? I felt that it came way too suddenly. The whole "One-Eyed King has taken over Po's castle and almost kills everyone" seemed like a cop-out ending! The author had a max page limit she couldn't go over and thus wrote such a bad ending. The book could have continued for another 200 pages, EASILY!

Favorite characters? I think all the Graced are a favorite character of mine, just because they hold such a unique appeal. But otherwise it would have to be Bitterblue!

Favorite quotes? I didn't write down any, or mark any, so in that regard the writing didn't awaken anything wonderful in me.

Did you like the author's style? In a way, it was annoying. She would write and write and write about this one adventure (like the long trek over the mountain) and then zoom through more important plot groupings (say the evil King's visit to the island).

Were you confused by anything in the book? I think that there wasn't anything specific, but I didn't like how Katsa's Grace was explained. Or Po's for that matter. I want black and white in those cases, and it was just too much grey.

On another note:

What did you all think of the similarity of "Katsa" to "Katniss" from the Hunger Games series? Name wise, or otherwise.

message 9: by Tahleen (new)

Tahleen Xeni, I agree with you about the ending, and about the buildup of certain scenes. Have you read Fire? I actually liked that one much better.

I also noticed the Katsa/Katniss thing! I don't remember if I was confused by it, I don't think I was, but I read them at the same time and thought it was funny how two of the characters in such hyped-up books had such similar (and at the same time unusual) names.

message 10: by ♥Xeni♥ (new)

♥Xeni♥ (xeni) Mhh, after I finished Graceling I immediately bought Fire. The two have since been cuddling on my bookshelf here. :P

Fire was SO different from Graceling. At the time I was thinking "this author should have separated the two ideas (graces vs beautiful monsters) and created two different worlds from them. I think that would have been much more interesting. Fire's writing style bugged me a lot more than Graceling too, though! The author took the whole "writing very specific detailed scenes, followed by vague allusions" to a whole new annoying level. If someone would rewrite Fire, not constrict themselves to a word limit, that book might even be wonderful.

But they both have an amazing world view / plot elements.

message 11: by Tahleen (last edited Nov 09, 2010 07:58AM) (new)

Tahleen I'm really looking forward to seeing what she does in the third book. Did you know she writes out her drafts in longhand? How crazy is that?

Speaking of the third book, do you think Bitterblue will end up having a grace? I personally hope she doesn't; it would be great to see her succeed without having any sort of extra powers.

message 12: by ♥Xeni♥ (new)

♥Xeni♥ (xeni) I hope she manages to merge the two worlds into one in the third book. Find some way to bring the beautiful monsters together with the Graces.

I don't think she dare give Bitterblue a grace. She has such a strong personality already. And what kind of grace would fit a monarch like her anyway?

message 13: by Tahleen (new)

Tahleen It's true, I think that's where she's going with it. I'm sure the two worlds will merge in this third book—after all, there was a bit of crossover in Fire. Maybe Bitterblue will figure out how to cross the uncrossable mountains.

message 14: by ♥Xeni♥ (new)

♥Xeni♥ (xeni) Like send her trusty survival-graceling subject? xD

message 15: by Tahleen (new)

Tahleen Well of course, who else! :) I'm sure she'd go too, though, and she will be the one to save the day. Gotta have some saving of the day in there, especially by someone without a grace.

Speaking of which, I wonder if that does happen, what the motive for the crossing will be.

message 16: by ♥Xeni♥ (new)

♥Xeni♥ (xeni) Threat, would be my first bet. Second would be curiosity (i.e. where did Bitterblue's father come from, since all they know is that he came from over the mountains). And third would be greed, although I don't see Bitterblue as a monarch who would be motivated by greed.

message 17: by Tahleen (new)

Tahleen Oh, I forgot about that, good reason! Curiousity, I mean.

message 18: by ♥Xeni♥ (new)

♥Xeni♥ (xeni) Back to the Katniss - Katsa name thing!

I was scoping out another group and the moderator had posted a link to Literature-Map. So I put in Suzanne Collins and look who is close to her on the map: Kristin Cashore!!

See it yourself here:

message 19: by Sarah (new)

Sarah (sarahsaysread) I don't think the ending with King Leck bothered me because it was a shock that he was there! I was expecting her to follow her normal plan and BAM he shows up. And I guess it kind of had to end fast after that... the longer you spend near him and hearing his lies, the harder it probably is to break away.

I was wondering if Bitterblue will end up having a Grace... Part of me hopes me does, even if it's a kind of boring one. But she's already like 8 or 9, so I thought that if she had one it would have shown up by the end of Graceling. I can't wait for it to come out though.... I wish there was a solid release date for it.

message 20: by ♥Xeni♥ (new)

♥Xeni♥ (xeni) I wish there was a solid release date for a lot of 3rd-in-a-series books (Primarily The Wild Rose and Captal's Tower by Melanie Rawn. The former been waiting for about a year, the latter for over 10 years. xD)

But this one ranks up there too, at least for right now. I hope it's as exciting as Graceling and Fire!

message 21: by Niel (new)

Niel | 390 comments I really enjoyed this book. One reason is it is in the fanatsy catagory and I like most books in that gatagory. The ending was a little to there I mean it just happened there was no action or a rise to that point of the story. My favorite character would have to be Po because of his attitude and the manner of him. Also because of how he struggles with himself after he looses his sight.

All in all it was a very interesting read.

message 22: by Roshio (new)

Roshio | 53 comments I loved it! read it a few months ago so its not exactly fresh. But I remember loving Po! aaw he was just so cute at the start even when she 'didn't' like him! I wish it had ended on a more 'romantic' note but I was happy enough, plus theres a sequel, whoop! (even if it is about Bitterblue, but I don't mind too much). I didn't like the fact that Leck was killed so easily but other wise I think I gave it 4 stars!
p.s. I remember reading reviews and people having a problem with her not wanting to get married, anyone else have a problem with that? I was okay with it to be honest.

message 23: by Niel (new)

Niel | 390 comments I find her not getting married fine because she is a free spirit and she can not stay immobile.

message 24: by ♥Xeni♥ (new)

♥Xeni♥ (xeni) I don't condone the whole policy of marriage. It seems to me like it's a way of signifying that the characters will stay together for ever, but if you take a look at our society today, that's not what marriage does. And if you look into history, no one ever really married for love either.

Them not marrying is a stronger statement of their love than if they had followed the rules of society and stooped to that binding.

message 25: by Niel (new)

Niel | 390 comments I see a lot of sense in what you say Xeni because marriages use to be arranged and the two people may never have loved one another.

message 26: by ♥Xeni♥ (new)

♥Xeni♥ (xeni) Not just that, but for the longest time it was unfashionable if you were in love with your spouse.

And these day's it's no better. People get married for love, then fall out of love, and get a divorce. Then remarry another 4 times. As though divorce is the new fad. King Henry VIII sure did set a trend.

message 27: by Niel (new)

Niel | 390 comments You have a point people seem to get married these days just to get divorced and then repeat it over again.

message 28: by Tahleen (new)

Tahleen That's not a fair thing to say, I don't think. There are many people who have been married for years and grow old together. You can't make a blanket statement about marriage like that. And it's a strong religious belief for some people, too, to get married to the one you love before you have any sort of sexual relationship with them.

That said, it doesn't always happen that way, it's true. In Katsa and Po's situation, it will probably work out better for them to not get married.

message 29: by ♥Xeni♥ (new)

♥Xeni♥ (xeni) Hmm, my parents have been married for 24 years, so I know how else it can go. But you can't say that the tabloids aren't full of people using marriage as a publicity thing, and then divorce right after for more publicity. And whatever people will see in the media they'll do themselves, because it's the "in" thing.

I'm not saying that everyone is doing that, but it is what our society today tends towards.

I don't know about the whole religion thing, since I haven't studied more than the general aspects of most religions, but take a look at the Mormons, who allow multiple marriages for MEN. But they are only a small part of all the religions in the world.

message 30: by Daisy (new)

Daisy | 686 comments I agree with Tahleen, I know lots of people who have been married for ages and are very happy together. And I hope to marry my boyfriend some day and do the same.

For Katsa and Po to get married would have been unnatural and I think Katsa would feel trapped because of it, now she stays with him because she wants to.

I thought it was a nice touch that Katsa killed Leck because he was trying to hurt the man she loves. I was shocked that he had taken over Po's castle and thought he was a horrible man all-around.

I don't think Bitterblue will have a Grace, it should have showed by now and both her eyes have the same color, but it will be interesting to continue her story.

message 31: by Tahleen (new)

Tahleen That's only the Fundamentalist Mormons, and they are breaking the law. Mainstream Mormons don't practice polygamy.

I know you didn't mean it that everyone did it, but that's just what it sounded like. I guess I didn't think it was fair to make a statement like that; I know a lot of marriages don't end well, or aren't happy, but that's just not how it is for everyone and I wanted to just say something in defense of marriage. That's all.

message 32: by ♥Xeni♥ (new)

♥Xeni♥ (xeni) And you are entitled to your opinion :)

message 33: by Sarah (new)

Sarah (sarahsaysread) I thought that the fact that Katsa never agreed to marriage was definitely different for a book, and I liked that. In a lot of books, the "romantic" thing would have been for her to give in and agree to get married. So I really dig that she stuck to her guns and didn't marry.

On current-day marriage, I think a lot of people just don't take it as seriously as they used to. It's really easy to marry, and easier and easier to divorce. And while marriage was originally a business arrangement, there was still an element of romance or love in it - women at least hoped that they'd end up married to someone they cared about, and I'm sure men wanted to actually like their wife, rather than just tolerate her. And it's not so much a business arrangement these days as a declaration of love - unfortunately, it's so easy to marry that a lot of people do it before really thinking it through.

I'm actually the opposite of Katsa - I want to be married someday, and my boyfriend doesn't - at least not anytime in the next ten years or so. I know marriage isn't everything, but it does mean something special to me - it's a big committment and it still symbolizes a lot to some people. And there are practical legal aspects to it - as a spouse you're considered family, which means that if your spouse were to get into an accident, you wouldn't be barred from seeing them in the hospital immediately, you'd have certain rights after they pass, etcetera.

I think it really just depends on the type of person you are, whether or not marriage is for you. Unfortunately, I think marriage is a subject that parents don't talk to their kids enough about. They tend to hide their own married-life problems from their children, but then those kids grow up having unrealistic ideas of what marriage is. They rush into it and end up marrying the wrong person. And then instead of trying to actually work at making marriage succeed, they get a divorce and start all over again.

ANYWAYS... just my little two cents :o) Has anyone read Fire by the same author? Fire is a young female who isn't opposed to marriage, but doesn't want children. I really like that Cashore brings up these issues in YA books, it kind of gives teens something to think about.

message 34: by ♥Xeni♥ (new)

♥Xeni♥ (xeni) Fire was... odd. I couldn't identify with Fire herself very easily, but plot wise the story was unique.

message 35: by Sarah (new)

Sarah (sarahsaysread) That's true - Fire wasn't nearly as good a heroine as Katsa, I think because she had way too much inner turmoil going on. I did really enjoy the story though.

message 36: by ♥Xeni♥ (new)

♥Xeni♥ (xeni) It's not so much the inner turmoil as the inner ambiguity? I couldn't really follow her though processes anyway. Some of the conclusions she drew just made absolutely no sense; not logically, not emotionally. More like the author wanted the plot to move that way so that later on the in the story someone else can say "see, you were WRONG, but now you changed, so you're good now" or something like that.

message 37: by Tahleen (new)

Tahleen I think I liked Fire better than Katsa. I remember liking the book a lot more, in any case. I felt like Cashore had grown as a writer since her first book.

message 38: by Chris (new)

Chris | 93 comments Daisy wrote: "I LOVED this book, read it a couple of weeks ago. While I thought the ending wasn't perfect, I did like it and I hope there'll be a sequel or another story set in this universe where we'll meet Kat..."

According to the author's blog, there's a second book out called Fire. It takes place in the same universe but looks like it has different characters. She's working on a third book called Bitterblue so I would assume that one has the same characters, or at least some of the same.

message 39: by Chris (new)

Chris | 93 comments Jamie wrote: "Am I correct in that this was her debut novel? Did it feel like a debut novel for you guys? I haven't read it yet so I can't comment but I thought I heard it was her debut novel!"

It was very well written so no, I don't think it felt like a first novel. But I'm pretty sure it's her first published work. My only problem is her somewhat frequent use of sentence fragments. I'm an English tutor and grammar Nazi so I kept running into those and getting a bit irked.

message 40: by Chris (new)

Chris | 93 comments ♥Xeni♥ wrote: "I wish there was a solid release date for a lot of 3rd-in-a-series books (Primarily The Wild Rose and Captal's Tower by Melanie Rawn. The former been waiting for about ..."

I can't wait for the last book in the Inheritance Cycle. Still no guestimated release date on it from Christopher Paolini :(

message 41: by ♥Xeni♥ (new)

♥Xeni♥ (xeni) The next book in the series, Fire, is set 30 years (or so) earlier and deals primarily with how the One-Eyed King came to be, although the focus isn't primarily on him in the story.

message 42: by ♥Xeni♥ (new)

♥Xeni♥ (xeni) Inheritance Cycle... isn't that that darn Eragon series? xD

In case it is, don't take it personally when I say I hate the book; the writing was so bad, and the plot is much much much too big to only fill a scant few novels. That's like a Shanara plot. Or a Sword of Truth. Or Star Wars. Or Valdemar. Or that one series of sci-fi/fantasy that made it into every English language shelf of bookstores around the world and the series is at like 500 books already... started getting published in the 80's.

Needless to say, I think Paolini tried to grasp too many straws and failed miserably. And the movie was much much worse! So, me, I'm not looking forward to that one!

message 43: by Chris (new)

Chris | 93 comments I think a main difference between Katsa's marriage and comparing it to modern day unions is that back then, for a woman, marriage meant being trapped in a lot of ways. There was really no birth control so you were locked into a life of baby-making and child rearing. One of the aspects of Po that makes him such a likeable character is that he will 'take Katsa however he can get her.' Right now, I'm pretty neutral towards marriage, ya know, maybe if I find the right person, but I know I don't want kids. Finding a guy who goes along with that perspective of things is a lot more challenging than you may assume. The guys who are willing to commit and want a life with you usually associate that life with kids and a family.

Anyways, point being, Katsa's dilemma with marriage was very unique and I love her decision and commitment to it. I'm a history major and I think I've decided that if I lived in those times, I'd be a nun. Not because I am religious at all, but because that was really the only civilized option for women who didn't want to trap themselves in a life ruled by a family.

message 44: by ♥Xeni♥ (new)

♥Xeni♥ (xeni) There were actually a lot of ways to not have a baby (see Forever Amber, which was denounced at the time of writing because there were 70 references to sexual intercourse, 39 illegitimate pregnancies, 7 abortions, and "10 descriptions of women undressing in front of men".) This book was published at the beginning of the 1900's. Women haven't only 'recently' learned how not to have children; their husbands just didn't want them to have any control. Those few women who chose to not have children were taking an immense risk if they were discovered. Normally the sentence would be death. But the means out of a shackled marriage were there.

message 45: by Chris (new)

Chris | 93 comments ya, I agree the movie was horrible and I can see some of the parallels between his stories and others, but you also have to realize that every story there is to tell, has already been told in some form. Anything we have now is just a variation on some archetypal story that was probably written before Jesus.
That being said, I still really love the books and think that Paolini is a great author. Not because he's so young but his youth does make his talent stand out more.

message 46: by Chris (new)

Chris | 93 comments ♥Xeni♥ wrote: "There were actually a lot of ways to not have a baby (see Forever Amber, which was denounced at the time of writing because there were 70 references to sexual intercourse, 39 illegitim..."

There were definitely ways to eliminate being pregnant but those were normally used by prostitutes as an attribute of the profession. Married women COULD come up with ways not to be preggers but if they went too long without producing a kid, it was assumed there was something wrong with them and they were ostracized for being defective. Of course, it was NEVER the man that was infertile, lol.

message 47: by ♥Xeni♥ (new)

♥Xeni♥ (xeni) Yeah, charming males, who would dare suggest that there was something wrong with them?

message 48: by Niel (new)

Niel | 390 comments I want to read fire but I wonder if it will be good. Since it is set thirty years in the past and with different characters.

message 49: by Sarah (new)

Sarah (sarahsaysread) Dino wrote: "I want to read fire but I wonder if it will be good. Since it is set thirty years in the past and with different characters."

I really enjoyed it. And there's a side story about Leck, that alone makes it definitely worth the read!

message 50: by Niel (new)

Niel | 390 comments Sarah wrote: "Dino wrote: "I want to read fire but I wonder if it will be good. Since it is set thirty years in the past and with different characters."

I really enjoyed it. And there's a side story about Lec..."

Thanks, the side story about Leck definitely makes me want to read it.

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