To say that I was hooked on Graceling by Kristin Cashore from the beginning would honestly be an understatement. From my first introduction to the character of Katsa, I was totally captivated, and dying to know more about her. She’s totally kickass, and so is the world in which she is living in. You see in Graceling, there are seven kingdoms each of which are ruled by royalty, and within these kingdoms certain people are graced which means that they are notably talented at something. In Katsa’s case, she is graced as an assassin. Yes, an assassin … how bad ass is that?
It is exceptionally bad ass especially with all the feminist undertones within Graceling. Trust me; my inner feminist was going crazy because of this book. I LOVED how certain gender paradigms involving love, marriage, pregnancy, dominance and control, and human emotion were subverted, or shifted, and that Kristin Cashore never changed the way that she was writing them even if it seemed that the context of the story may call for it. I enjoyed how it seemed that she trusted the reader to be able to navigate the story without too much explanation. I was completely enthralled by the world of the seven kingdoms, the secrets, the messages, and the growth and the development of the characters.
I loved the development of Katsa as a character. At first, it is obvious that she has a conscience for who she is and what she is doing but, isn’t exactly sure how to use it. She has been taught that caring is not an option for her. She’s a little timid at times even when she is being a bad ass assassin but as the story progresses and the secrets and messages are revealed, Katsa’s strength and ability just seems to grow. Much of this growth has to do with her interactions with the character of Po, who I absolutely adored due to his wit and charm. Po catches Katsa off guard but, he never asks her to change who she is for him, instead he helps her find her strength and her true ability as a graceling. Their relationship really is not simply based on romance but instead is based on equality and understanding for each other, and I’ll admit … I fell hard for it.
FOREWARNING: Potential SPOILER Ahead!
“She shivered as he left her to go to the fire, and find water and cloths. He leaned into the light, and brightness and shadows moved across his body. He was beautiful. She admired him, and he flashed a grin at her. Almost as beautiful as you are conceited, she thought at him, and he laughed out loud.” (243)
How adorable are they?
After reading Graceling, I’m really excited to read more from Kristin Cashore. On the outside, her books may seem a little intimidating because they look to be so long but, it appears that you can just delve right into them with ease. I’m really interested to see what other kind of positive female messages are within her other books, and how she points out the flaws within the current perceived gender paradigms. I just love being excited about an author that is so willing to deconstruct life ideals and society within their work. Also, Kristin Cashore is super nice in person, and is just so simply fascinating that my admiration for her may be slipping into my desire to read her books. Either way, it definitely seems like a winning situation for me!
Disclosure: Purchased copy from Oblong Books
Other Reviews of Graceling by Kristin Cashore:
April’s Review: “Graceling by Kristin Cashore exudes awesome”
Carina’s Books: “Love. Sadness. Happiness. I am mostly happy. I LOVED this book.”
The Fiction Diaries: “This book is pure, beautiful fantasy right from the first page.”
Hooked On Books: “Where has this book been all my life?”
Icey Books: “Kristin Cashore is a master storyteller.“