Graceling by Kristin Cashore

By: Alyssa Wynans Email
By: Alyssa Wynans Email

I’m really digging the Young Adult fantasy this week, guys. Fantasy is not my typical genre of choice as I have revealed many times, but Graceling by Kristin Cashore and its subsequent series is just the right fit for me. It has adventure and romance and people with special gifts. It’s just a fun read all around.

So basically the reader is put into this world were certain people have “graces” or special abilities. For example, the main character of the first book, Katsa, has a fighting grace whereas an important character in the third book has a grace that allows him to give dreams. You know that a person has a grace because they have different colored eyes. One of Katsa’s eyes is green and the other is blue. Katsa meets a graced boy named Po (yes, really), and together with their friends they end the reign of a terrible, terrible king.

See? It’s fun, right?! It’s a wonderful example of Young Adult fantasy.

Now I wouldn’t say there is anything particularly special about this book (or the series as a whole). Cashore’s storytelling is solid, but not amazing. The world she creates is intriguing, but no Middle Earth. Her characters have good depth, though. They are probably my favorite part. Cashore does a great job of examining motive and giving them layers to unfold.

It’s good, but not mind-blowing.

The second book is called Fire and adds a very intriguing twist to the story as a whole. It’s actually set in a different world. Well, not technically, I suppose. The world of the first book and the world of the second are divided by a vast mountain range that, apparently, no one every crossed. Thus, no one on either side knows that there are people on the other side.

Something that got me when I read the Graceling series, is the funny and somewhat ridiculous names. I know this isn’t a very literary criticism, but really, Po and Bitterblue? The third book is actually called Bitterblue because that’s the name of the main character for that book. I’m all for unique names and thinking outside the box, but Cashore went way, way, way outside the box. A+ for creativity, Kristin.

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