My Comments on Graceling by Kristin CashoreSpoilers
Wow, what a book! I really misunderstood the plot summary when I first saw it. I saw the words “able to kill a man with her bare hands” and moved on.
Here’s what I loved about the story:
*Katsa can kill with her bare hands, but she doesn’t like to (I also loved her name).
*Without her greedy uncle knowing, King Randa, Katsa forms a council that helps strangers in other lands who are faced with injustices. She leads the council in investigating distant rumors, forming plans, and carrying out deeds to help others in need when no one else will.
*Katsa thinks her Grace is killing, she finds out it’s more than that later in the story.
Po become instant friends after he learns she has rescued his imprisoned grandfather. It turns out that Po is also a graceling and he gives Katsa his trust.
Po spends much of the story proving himself to Katsa and respects her. He watches her without showing it and understands her better than anyone else.
*Katsa learns she can control her rage and considers every angle before deciding to fight someone. She’s always considering consequences for herself and others she cares about.
*Katsa finally decides to stand up to her greedy uncle and in doing so forfeits the only home she’s ever had.
*Katsa is a fair fighter and displays mercy even when she is instructed to be brutal.
*There are 7 kingdoms and 7 kings in this story-represents a perfect number in God’s kingdom.
*Katsa doesn’t ever want to get married or have children because she sees herself as a killer and is afraid of getting close to anyone. She also believes that falling in love will cause her to lose her identity and control of her own life.
This book is so well written and it pulls the reader in right from the first page. There is violence in Graceling, but it’s not detailed or graphic. Katsa’s fights and movements are described more as a dance; I saw more beauty in her physical abilities than brutality. She’s also very in tuned to her environment and she’s supernaturally strong. She has no personality and doesn’t understand her emotions or how to enjoy herself, but I would guess that anyone in her situation would be the same way. She doesn’t like injustice or bullies and she’s very good at perceiving a person’s true nature. It’s impossible to sneak up on her, lie to her, mistreat others in front of her, or approach her. However, she’s passionate, genuine, and protective. I so enjoyed the romance between her and
Po, he learns her quickly but allows her to feel comfortable around him. He lets her lead, but he also teachers her to control her anger and she listens to him. He’s also very perceptive and in tune.
There are two love scenes between Katsa and
Po and that was the only inappropriate content I came across. The first one is only a paragraph in length and doesn’t give details, but it’s descriptive enough and since the characters are in love it will seem justified to some readers (it was disappointing for me). The second time it happens, it’s more implied and the scene moves on. There is no profanity in the book at all and the most of the book is about the journey Katsa and Po go on together while discovering their feelings for one another as well as the extent of their graces/skills.
I didn’t finish the book for personal reasons, but it’s towards the end they both have to face one king who is the true villain in the story and the plot intensifies at this point. Even though Katsa’s greedy uncle is a manipulating and controlling man, he is not the real villain. I enjoyed reading about the differences between each king and the how Katsa is determined to do the right thing even though she has been shunned as a graceling. She is both feared and respected; she has learned to live most of her life in isolation due to her unique skills, but it was awesome reading about her strengths and how she sees herself.
The one thing I kept thinking about with this book was, what skills has God graced me with? I’m older than Katsa, but I’m still learning where I stand in God’s kingdom and where He will lead me. I kept pondering this throughout Katsa’s story and it’s one of the elements that drew me into the story. What am I good at? What makes me different, set apart from others? How does God see me? The more I considered these questions while reading about Katsa, the more encouraged I felt. Do you have trouble seeing the jewel you are in God’s eyes? Do you understand that when God looks at you, He sees no faults? When God looks at you, He only sees Jesus. If you’re measuring yourself according to the world’s standards or seeing yourself inadequate compared to others, then you’re not really seeing who Christ says you are. There’s nothing you can do to shock or offend God and He will do whatever it takes to earn your trust and win your heart….over and over and over again until you get what your value is to Him. He doesn’t want to trap you, hold you back, hurt you, reject you, or control you. He wants to restore you, encourage you, help you reach your FULL potential in Him, refresh you, fill you up and then give you more. The more unworthy you think you are, the more He wants you. He created you for His pleasure and He will never leave you nor forget you.
I learned that Fire is considered a companion to Graceling, not the sequel. I believe Fire is more of a background story to Graceling. Bitterblue is the true sequel to Graceling, but it appears to be a stand alone book. I enjoyed what I read in Graceling even though I didn’t finish the story and I’m glad I went through with it even though I initially bypassed it. I’m more into happy endings and I’m not sure if Graceling has one.
Have you read books outside of your comfort level recently? Were you pleased with the results or were you disappointed? I’m glad to leave my comfort zone once in a while for a book, but I like getting back to books within my enjoyment afterwards J I’m happy I gave Graceling a chance and I encourage you to do the same when you unexpectedly come across a book that wouldn’t normally be your first choice. The next one I’ll be looking at from the library is Firelight by Sophie Jordan.
My next review will be on Lynnette Bonner’s Rocky Mountain Oasis, I’ll be starting that this weekend. I enjoy learning something from every book and then sharing it with you.