When Did this Happen?: Graceling by Kristin Cashore

There was once a time where I’d see the genre “fantasy” on the back of a book, automatically think of guys in a garage playing D&D, and respond by putting the book back on the shelf and moving on (quickly).

But something in me has changed.

I’m not sure what did it.  Twilight? The Books of Bayern?  Who knows.  Maybe that’s not the point?

Point is:  I now enjoy teen fantasy novels and Graceling by Kristin Cashore,  is one I loved!

Graceling is the story of Katsa, a girl graced (or cursed), with what she thinks is the grace of killing.  All Gracelings have special talents, or graces, some useful some not.  But Katsa’s grace is incredibly helpful to the King and she is ordered by her uncle (the King), to do the dirty work of threatening those who disobey him. Katsa acts as the King’s henchman while in secret she works as part of a secret council to promote justice over cruelty and the misuse of power.

As a member of the Council, Katsa is part of a mission to save an old man who has been kidnapped under mysterious circumstances, which eventually leads her deeper into the plot of an evil, tyrannical king.  Through all of this, Katsa must come to terms with her grace while also learning to trust others and herself.

I was amazed at how engrossing this story was within the first chapter or so.  Cashore is definitely “graced” with the ability to create interesting characters and an detailed plot that doesn’t lose its way (as teen fantasy sometimes can).

In the midst of the adventure there is, a romance, which of course is one of my favorite parts. Prince Po has just the right mix of mystery and kindness to make Katsa rethink her vow to never marry.  Just be aware that there are a few (maybe two?) sex scenes. They’re not described in-depth or anything, but the author doesn’t leave it all to the imagination either.

The more intimate scenes mentioned above are the only reason I’d recommend Graceling for ages 15 and up.  I think the story itself is perfectly suitable for someone younger, but I know parents can be concerned about these things.

Sidenote:  If you’re a Hunger Games fan, you’ll see similarities between Katniss and Katsa (coincidence? probably… but still interesting none-the-less!)



P.S.  I debated adding this book trailer to the review because truth is:  I hate it!

I think it as something to do with the very fake looking fighting scenes. It actually makes me laugh, although I don’t think its supposed to.  Oh well, I should show the good and the bad?  Right?  Maybe? hmmmm…..


Book Trailer of the Week: The Maze Runner

I’ve posted some of my favorite book trailers before, but I’m going to try posting a weekly book trailer.  I will say that these trailers do not necessarily have to be trailers for new books; old and new welcome!

This week’s trailer is one for The Maze Runner by James Dashner.  This book has been out for a few years and its on my “to read” list, but I just found this trailer on line this morning.  Apparently it was a Finalist in the 2009 Book Video Awards, which makes complete sense because it is really well done.    It seriously makes me want to read the book even though it also looks pretty creepy!