Graceling by Kristin Cashore
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
Some spoilers involved in this review, but nothing outright.
I think I can include Katsa in my Top 5 Favorite Female Fictional Characters, although I felt a bit unsatisfied with the way it ended, only because I’m too much of a romantic to have left it there. But being that she is Katsa (annoyingly so sometimes), I guess I can understand why it ended the way it did. Still, I feel their story has yet to be finished and maybe, just maybe, there would be a conclusion more fitting my desire for her.
Anyway, for the most part, I enjoyed the story, maybe the pacing could’ve been just a tad faster, but even as it was, it was enjoyable to read. Katsa is a harshly independent girl, as most female protagonists are these days in YA literature. However, she can be slightly too clueless when it comes to other people’s feelings, as well as her own. I found that to be humorous and somewhat ridiculous at the same time. I suppose there are females who are like that.
Her male counterpart was so complementary to Katsa, which is the reason for my insistence on a more fulfilling ending, because I felt Po deserved it. Actually, I felt Po deserved it more than I did Katsa. I mean, I shed a tear for dear Po. But as it is, these characters sometimes cannot help who they love, and it’s sometimes those qualities that they love about them can also make things difficult. Anyway, he was so much not like her, that he was able to help her when she could not help herself.
You can say that Katsa succeeded in the end all by herself, but her journey towards the goal would not have been successful without the help of others, especially Po. It was love, the one thing which she sought vehemently to live without, that helped her stay alive.
As with many YA books these days, there’s a couple of things to keep in mind when reading such. Firstly, YA books do not mean it’s free of sex or violence. The amount of sex and violence and the description of either might be slightly less graphic, but not always (read The Hunger Games for an example in how graphic violence can be). Secondly, one thirteen year-old may be able to handle it more than another thirteen year-old. It truly depends on the individual. If you’re a parent who has reservations about such things as sex, violence, or language, I’d recommend reading the book first then before handing it off to your teenage child.
Why do I state this? Only because there was a scene in this book that I hadn’t expected to be so… intimate. (I still hold Christian values important even though, as you can tell from my list of reads, I read a lot of non-faith-based books). However, I suppose there’s really nothing in this book that would be regarded as more than rated PG-13. You can just consider me a prude then, when it comes to the lovemaking stuff in YA novels.
That being said, I still liked the story overall and it wasn’t just about love, but being able to be yourself, not having to hide who you are, especially around those you love and care about. And yes, I guess also about learning to protect yourself from the dangers around you, whether it be people or nature or beasts or even yourself at times.
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