Sunday, December 21, 2008

Graceling, by Kristin Cashore: A Young Adult Book Review

Graceling, by Kristin Cashore, is a book that says "14 years and older" on the back cover. From reading this hefty piece of young adult literature, I would have to mostly agree with this, although I would not feel any reservations to sitting this on my 5th grade bookshelf and letting some more advanced readers try it out.

What caught me about Graceling is that, while this book is a fantasy, set in the fantasy world of Kristin Cashore's imagination, it has so many levels, more levels than some adult fantasy stories. This book is almost equal parts fantasy, combat, romance, survival, and political intrigue.

Clocking in at 480 pages, I would say that it's probably a bit too long to be a read aloud, plus, its content (fantasy), doesn't seem to have universal appeal. Now, before anyone takes offense to that, I'm just saying that fantasy stories seem to really attract some readers while others won't even read five pages of it. I do recommend this for the student or adult who enjoys fantasy reads. I would place this on my bookshelf next to The Land of Elyon (fantasy for pre-teens), and The Lord of the Rings (fantasy for older teens).

For me, the best thing about this book was the concept of Grace. The two toned eyes, the differing gifts, and the interplay of the Graceling's Katsa and Po. Katsa, the main protagonist of this story, is told masterfully. I found myself very intrigued by her, continually trying to form an image of this beautiful, dangerous heroine, and found that my image of her changed throughout the story.

I cannot stress enough how good this book was. I now just need to sit back and hope that Kristin Cashore is working on a sequel.