Wednesday, January 11, 2012

Graceling by Kristin Cashore

Ok this is a really late review. While most people have already read and raved over Graceling (and indeed, have moved on the Fire and Bitterblue), I've just finished the first novel. And you know what? This novel gives me internal conflict :/

Let's just say that I wanted to like this novel, and I did. To an extent (Ah, the dreaded words). I loved the idea of being Graced (it's alot like the parable of the servant and his TALENTS), and the whole AU (Alternate Universe) was quite well crafted, with the idea of the different kings and what not. And Katsa, Po and Bitterblue were well written characters.

What I had a tiny quibble with but can live with was the two plots in the book. There is: a. Katsa leaving the grip of Randa (the bildunsroman is a journey worthy of a separate novel) and b. Katsa and Po rescuing Bitterblue and the fight against Leck. I must say though, I like how the book ended. Even though it is a series, I never liked books with such obvious cliffhangers that you feel blackmailed/forced to buy the second book. And -spoiler alert!- I was pleased to see that they found Po alive before the book ended ^^

My biggest issue with the book was its portrayal of the different relationships. I don't really care about how we're now a modern civilisation and all that, I think pre-marital sex is bad. Plus, this is a YA novel, so I don't think it's very appropriate to have Katsa and Po sleeping together, and then plan not to marry (here's another spoiler: by the end of the book, they decide to stay together but not get married. I don't know if it changes in the later books).

So yes, my biggest issue with the book is a moral issue. Call me small-minded or whatever, but I don't think that it's appropriate, especially when this is not one of the major issues discussed. This isn't like, say War and Peace, which is over a thousand pages long and like a long running Taiwanese serial I will not name, discusses more or less everything under the sun. Graceling is a YA novel about a girl who is Graced and her journey; so this sort of thing has really, no context to be there.

All this being said, Graceling is still an enjoyable book. But, I can't in good conscience recommend it to anyone who's going through a confused stage of life. I think this book should be for older and more mature people, who will not be affected by the portrayal of the relationships in this book.

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