Monday, January 2, 2012

The Epic Reading List Updated: 'Graceling'

I want to thank everyone who read my No Kiss BlogFest post and especially those who commented on it. There were some awesome posts that I read and I'm glad people liked mine. Your comments mean the world.

List Update as of January 2nd

1. 'The Hunger Games' -Suzanne Collins
2. 'Alanna the First Adventure' -Tamora Pierce
3. 'Anna Dressed in Blood' -Kendare Blake
4. 'In the Hand of the Goddess' -Tamora Pierce
5. 'Graceling' -Kristin Cashore

6. 'The Woman Who Rides Like a Man' -Tamora Pierce
7. 'The Name of the Star' -Maureen Johnson
8. 'Lioness Rampant' -Tamora Pierce
9. 'Tale of Two Cities' -Charles Dickens
10. 'Wild Magic' -Tamora Pierce
11. 'Catching Fire' -Suzanne Collins
12. 'Wolf Speaker' -Tamora Pierce
13. 'Matched' -Ally Condie
14. 'Emperor Mage' -Tamora Pierce
15. 'Divergent' -Veronica Roth
16. 'The Realm of the Gods' -Tamora Pierce

Okay, first: before I launch into my reactionary review of Graceling I want to talk a little about somethings I've been thinking. I want to start giving the whole reading list and reactionary review system a little more structure. To start that I've decided to use a ranking system using the blog's theme word 'epic.' I'll list it below and then make a little diagram of it to go on the right side of the screen (hopefully soon) so it's easy to refer back.

Book Ranking: (There are six because I like multiples of three)
Beyond Epic
Massively Epic
Totally Epic
Mildly Epic
Sort of Epic
Not So Epic

Also, I've established some rules in regards to how I pick my reading list books but I'll talk about those later when I post the next list (when that eventually happens).
I've obviously been playing around with the layout and colors and such a bit and I'll keep doing that and actually working on the blog itself more until I'm happy about it. So, sorry if things are a bit messy for a while.

But anyway, on to what it's taken me long enough to get to: Graceling. (Beware some spoilers)

It took me quite long enough to finish this one, I know. I could blame a great number of things, the holidays, work, rereading Mars, television but that is all a testament to something else.

I really struggled to get into Graceling.

Overall it isn't a bad book and perhaps because I had so many people telling me how phenomenal it is I had really high expectations. It is a really cool idea and I really enjoy some of the characters but overall I wasn't as impressed as I really would have liked.

Let me start with Po. He was one of my favorite parts of this book. He reminds me a little of George from Tamora Pierce's 'Song of the Lioness' series. His past and culture comes off much stronger than Katsa and I understand that as being part of the story but the rich past made him that much more beautiful a character. Among my other favorite characters are Raffin and Bitterblue. They had much stronger characters than Katsa.

Now Katsa. I really liked her when I first started the book. She was awesome. But somehow, and this doesn't usually happen, the more her character grew the less I liked her. She regained points when she and Bitterblue were going through the mountains but overall she just didn't do it for me. I know that her relationship with Po taught her more about humility but the change wasn't gradual enough for me. It read far too much like a switch flipped and she went from the awesome, past hardened assassin to crying often and at the drop of a hat. I found myself more confused by her than enamored by her.

The pacing of the novel was well done in places but there were things I think could have been handled better. For one the big revelation about Katsa's Grace was handled far too flippantly for my liking. It was a bigger deal to her what Po's Grace was than her own and if the Grace is such a part of them I didn't really understand that.
Another big complaint was King Leck. I really liked him. He was a really interesting villain who we met on page for somewhere around five pages. This is a villain with genuinely frightening power and with Katsa so scared of losing control there should have been more of an encounter between them.

And now that I've soundly ripped it apart I want to say that it was a quick read and the same person who initially recommended it informed me that she likes Fire better so I am sure I'll read that. Since I liked Bitterblue so much I'm sure I'll read the third one (named for her) as well. Regardless of my complaints with Graceling I have been soundly sucked into Kristin Cashore's series.

Over all I'll rank it: Mildly Epic

Book number six is the next in my Tamora Pierce reread: The Woman Who Rides Like a Man.

Also, my lists are done but to avoid over posting I will put them up after work tomorrow.


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