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Book reviews and discussions may contain spoilers. Read at your own risk!

Sunday, February 22, 2009

Graceling - The Ricky Braddy of Literature

**This is Markie's Review of Graceling**Spoilers ahead!!**

I was not planning on reading this book after Jenny's description of how bad it sucked, but when it came right down to it, I couldn't NOT participate. I just can't quit you SRBC. I bought the Book on Friday and finished it this morning. And guess what? It didn't suck... for me anyway. I actually really enjoyed reading it. It was a bit like Ricky Braddy of American Idol fame; I very much enjoyed his performance, but he was way under-hyped, and he is ultimately forgettable.

Perhaps it was because my expectations were so low, but I found the story engaging and well written. I think I liked the concepts the book introduced more than the actual execution of the story. I liked the idea of select people in their society having special Graces (smacks of X-Men or Heroes only in a medieval rather than futuristic way). I thought the most brilliant concept in the story was Katsa's gift. I had some sympathy for her, having this gift of being able to kill people, and how it accidentally manifested itself, and how hard it would be to live with that gift; how people would be afraid of her, and how she was used by the king. Then I thought it was a great development to discover that her gift was not killing, but survival. It made me happy. I like how her character evolved through to story to be more accepting of other peoples friendship, and begin to accept her own self-worth.

I also liked Po's gift, and enjoyed the battles between him and Katsa. I totally bought into their relationship and liked how it developed, although I would liked to have seen them get married in the end and have a little Graceling of their own. I have no idea whether or not the author intends to continue this story in future books, but I hope she does. I'd read the sequel.

So those are the good things I liked. On the down side the story did get a little slow, particularly toward the end. I was wondering how they were going to defeat the evil King with his gift, and I was gearing up for something either epic battleish, or extremely clever, and I was disappointed in how quickly and easily the author took care of him. I think the story would have played out much better if Katsa had found Po first, and then together they schemed some brilliant and climactic ending for King Leck.

While I found this book an enjoyable read, it's not going to be one I'm likely to read again or even remember much in about about 6 months. I enjoyed it more than Uglies, but not nearly as much as The Hunger Games.

I think the food for thought in this book is:
We are all born with gifts - various strengths and talents - kind of like Graces right? So what are your Graces and how have they impacted your life and relationships with others?