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Sunday, February 22, 2009

Jespy's Grace: Reviewing Books

Is it possible to like a book if the main character bugs the S* out of you? What if a few of the secondary characters are likeable, clever, funny, and don’t cry hot tears into their lover’s necks? Can the secondary characters rescue the book from the buggy main character who is trying her hardest to bug the S* out of you?

This was the root of my problem with Graceling.

I wanted to like Katsa, and I did in the beginning, but gradually, that changed. See, I was promised a strong female character, and didn't get one. It’s not that I think the author lied to me, it’s just that I have a different definition of what makes a strong female character than she does. Physically, she met my expectations, but emotionally, Katsa was a wreck.

If the situation calls for tears, I have no problem with the characters shedding a few hot ones. But the amount of crying Katsa did in that book… tears of sadness, tears of joy, tears of confusion, tears of betrayal, tears of astonishment, tears of triumph, tears of reunion. Enough already. Enough. This is not Grey’s Anatomy. I also didn’t understand, and couldn’t relate to, her highly emotional internal/external struggle with whether or not to marry/do Po. Those two things seem contrary anyway. She’s supposed to be SO women’s lib that she won’t ever marry, but the idea didn’t even occur to her that she could just do Po with no strings attached(<--an idea I don’t condone for young virgos, but maybe I’m holier than the average reader). I also did not dig her cliché women’s lib butch haircut.

Btw, if I had liked Katsa, I could have forgiven any other problem I had with the book.

Plot-wise, I felt it lacked a clear, overall focus. In the beginning, we’re supposed to be wondering who’s behind the “mysterious failed kidnapping of elderly, retired King Whatshisface.” I sort of cared in the beginning, only because the author told me I was supposed to care. But there comes a point when the author should have stopped telling me I should care, and started showing me why I should care. The character behind it all turned out to be much more interesting then his earlier mentioned devious deed, I only wish we had gotten to see more of him. His demise was way abrupt and anticlimactic.

Here’s what I liked about the book:

  • The concept of people born with graces, and that they are easily distinguishable by their eyes.
  • The backward view society had of people born with graces.
  • The bad guy, the clever way he hid his grace, how his grace worked, and how Po could overcome it.
  • The idea of a main female character who kicks A** (Unfortunately, as before mentioned, Katsa fell short for me.)
  • The first several chapters, and the actiony chapters that included King bad guy.
  • Po and his hawt piercings and rings.
  • The ambiguously gay duo, Raffin and Bann.
  • The cover



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