This book...hmmm...while there are things in it that I commend, there are also things which kept me from loving
I love that Katsa is a strong-willed, some would say kick-ass, girl, who managed to organize the Council at the age of sixteen. I don't read many YA novels with a heroine like her, what with the Twilight trend and all. It's not just a novel about saving a kingdom, but about empowering women. Most of the star characters here are strong women. Katsa is...strong
but not to a point where she is bitchy. She's a strong woman with a soft heart, deep inside. And her relationship with Po is one to envy. I love how Cashore tied up the story in one book. I loathe how everything
has to be in series nowadays. Even though there are 2 sequels to this, they're not required reading. The writing style was...peculiar, and the way she named the lands and names were also odd (I would say, poorly chosen). "Katsa" is a word in my dialect which means a sack used to hold flour. But that's neither here nor there. The way the story moved forward was interesting enough to keep me reading for more.
It's a book that should not be overlooked.
Saying that, I formed some pretty strong opinions about the issues that were tackled in this book. I think
they could spoil the story (or the reading of it) so I'm hiding it behind a spoiler tag.You've been warned
Katsa = K = Katniss
Po = P = Peeta
Giddon = G = Gale
Who else noticed this? lolz
Since Katsa sounded so close to Katniss (I sometimes read Katsa as Katniss), I couldn't help it. I can't help comparing them. I'm sorry. My judgment (who-cares-about-your-judgment-Ceecee!) - I like Katniss better than Katsa, Po is a stronger hero than Peeta, and Giddon and Gale are the same sorry losers-in-love, the poor dears.
Not only does this novel show women empowerment, it also shows a different take on marriage. From what I gathered, Cashore did this on purpose, her agendas being pushed on me. Why was it so important to show Katsa's aversion to marriage???? It totally distracted me from enjoying the story.
It really got to me. I have very strong feelings on the way love is showed in this book. Why is Katsa so averse to marriage, even marrying Po? Katniss didn't want to marry and have children because she didn't want to submit her kids to the Hunger Games, and that's a totally understandable reason. While Katsa doesn't want to get married because she doesn't want to be constricted by the norms: she will play hostess to her husband and will eventually be required to sire an heir. But if that's all that's keeping her from committing herself to the person she loves...I think that it's a selfish reason.
Isn't it ironic how some hetero couples are averse to marriage, choosing instead to just be "partners", and then there's the whole Prop-8 thing where homo couples are fighting for their right to marry? I know a lot of couples who haven't married yet, despite having 2,3 children, and I respect that. But to me, marriage isn't just a norm that everyone has to follow. I would marry the person I love because that's how I show my commitment to him. And it's hard to commit, but if that means a little sacrifice - to work hard at a commitment(and I'm lazy at that!) - then I would gladly do it.
I understand the whole we-don't-want-to-get-married-but-we're-still-going-to-commit-to-each-other thing, but it doesn't mean I have to agree with it.
And Po, sweet perfect Po. It's like Katsa subconsciously made up the guy she really wanted and needed, and then Po came into being. Po is everything Katsa needed: laughter, understanding, assertiveness in the face of Katsa's stubborness. These two are perfect for each other, so why don't I feel even a little giddy about them? I like reading love stories, okay, and I want to feel giddy!
I guess my problem is that Katsa, until the end of the book, still believes that to commit to Po would be to give up her freedom. I just don't see that. Love is all about giving and taking. I believe that love is thinking what's best for the other person, a sort of selflessness; at least, it's not self-centered. Po probably wants to marry Katsa, but because he respects Katsa's wishes, he gives in. God, Po, stop being so perfect. But does Katsa take the time to consider what Po might feel? Katsa will still do as she pleases. I understand that Katsa is only 18 at the time and time will tell if she will change, but with an ending as unsatisfying as that, it frustrates the hell out of me. (I have been told that it doesn't get better, so, *keyboard smash*)
Like one reviewer says, if the roles were reversed, if Po was the one who said "I love you Katsa, but I don't want to marry you, I don't want to take away your freedom, nor will I give up mine", and Katsa agrees with it, I would say "Cut the b.s.!"
So overall, Graceling is good as a fantasy novel (world-building and such), but the execution and the feminist propaganda deterred my enjoyment of it.