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review 2019-12-20 04:02
Psycho-social Development in Fantasyland
Graceling - Kristin Cashore

Graceling is a YA Fantasy novel, but the fantasy elements are extremely underplayed. Besides the pseudo-medieval setting, the only fantastical element is that certain rare individuals possess graces that give them special abilities. Gracelings are feared and hated for their powers. The tone is less Harry Potter and more Mutants from Marvel Comics.

 

Graceling is prime example of the contradictions of YA fiction. Its vocabulary and storytelling is so simple it could be aimed at younger teens, but it includes scenes of violence and deals frankly with sexuality in a way you would expect to be reserved for an older audience. Katsa, the main character, ticks off all the boxes of young adult psycho-social development in the course of the novel, achieving identity, independence, intimacy, and responsibility one step at a time. The author clearly feels that plot exists for the sake of character development, not as an end unto itself.

 

Despite the fact that its YA fiction scaffolding is very visible, I enjoyed Graceling. Katsa is an engaging character and I enjoyed watching her evolve from a feared thug into someone who genuinely cared about other people.

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review 2018-08-18 15:02
Excellent third part of this trilogy - worth the wait.
Bitterblue - Kristin Cashore,Ian Schoenherr



This third volume is mainly concerned with Bitterblue (of the title), now Queen of Monsea, 18 years of age, trying to make sense of her role as ruler and picking up the pieces after the demise of her father's wicked reign. All of the main characters from Grace appear and play an important part and contribute to the extensive plot. Bitterblue, quite rightly, does not know who to trust and meets some other interesting characters in the city.

Quite complicated and often less-than-uplifting plotting leads to a reasonably happy conclusion and an optimistic future. It's a great read although I would advise reading the first two volumes beforehand (Grace, Fire). Aimed at the young adult reader, all lovers of fantasy should enjoy it.

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review 2018-08-02 15:19
Good second part of trilogy - original and recommended
Fire - Kristin Cashore

The second part of a trilogy, this volume centers around Fire, a "monster", whose characteristic is to bewitch those around her through her beauty. It takes place in a land to the east of the action in "Graceling" and Leck is the only common character to both books. Fire's life is changed when her power is seconded to the kingdom with dramatic consequences for all, especially those who love her or who she loves. She encounters many interesting characters, all of which are well-developed. A good yarn, this follows up nicely from the previous book and is well-told, engaging and original. It stnads alone but might be best read as part of the trilogy: I'm ready for the third part!

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review 2018-07-22 11:18
First part of fantasy trilogy for young adults - engaging stuff
Graceling - Kristin Cashore

 

I enjoyed this fantasy novel which deals with Katsa, a young lady with a Grace, which enables her to fight with a great deal of success. She gets involved in other Graced people from different nations, all with different abilities. She discovers a good deal about her Grace and is forced to get involved in plots and conspiracies.

There's a lot of interesting characters, well-developed, and a good deal of action keeping the reader involved and wanting to know how the story ends. Despite being aimed at the YA readership, any fantasy lover should enjoy this - although it can get a bit "soapy" at times. Recommended

 

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text 2018-02-01 16:26
January Reading
Jane, Unlimited - Kristin Cashore
My Conversations with Canadians - Lee Maracle
Stride Toward Freedom: The Montgomery Story - Martin Luther King Jr.
Swallowing Mercury - Wioletta Greg,Wioletta Grzegorzewska,Eliza Marciniak
 Atomic Adventures: Secret Islands, Forgotten N-Rays, and Isotopic Murder - A Journey into the Wild World of Nuclear Science - James Mahaffey,Keith Sellon-Wright
Sweet Disorder - Rose Lerner
The Bear and the Nightingale: A Novel - Katherine Arden
The Doomsday Machine: Confessions of a Nuclear War Planner - Daniel Ellsberg
Winter Rose - Patricia A. McKillip
A Wizard of Earthsea - Ursula K. Le Guin

Eleven books read:

Jane, Unlimited - Kristin Cashore

My Conversations with Canadians - Lee Maracle  

Stride Toward Freedom: The Montgomery Story - Martin Luther King Jr.  

Swallowing Mercury - Wioletta Greg, Eliza Marciniak  

Atomic Adventures: Secret Islands, Forgotten N-Rays, and Isotopic Murder - James Mahaffey

Someone To Love - Mary Balogh (DNF)

Sweet Disorder - Rose Lerner  

The Bear and the Nightingale - Katherine Arden 

The Doomsday Machine: Confessions of a Nuclear War Planner - Daniel Ellsberg  

Winter Rose - Patricia A. McKillip  

A Wizard of Earthsea - Ursula K. Le Guin  

 

Women Writers Bingo: 3/25

(Personal take: Finish 25 books by new-to-me female authors in 2018*)

Finished in January: Wioletta Greg, Rose Lerner, Katherine Arden

 

Gender Balance:

Fiction: 7 by women, 0 by men, 0 by non-binary

Non fiction: 1 by women, 3 by men, 0 by non-binary

 

Format:

Paper books that I own: 0

Paper books from library: 5

E-books that I own: 1

E-books from library: 1

Audiobooks that I own: 4

 

February Goals:

1. Finish reading for Hugo Award nominations (Jade City, Prey of the Gods, Winter Tide).

2. Read at least one book for black history month

3. Stop ordering fucking library books.

 

 

*Women Writers Bingo Bonus Points:

5 of those books in translation: 1/5 (Swallowing Mercury)

5 of those books are non-fiction: 0/5

 

Bingo Companion Round:

5 books by non-binary authors: 0/5

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