[discussion] Graceling by Kristin Cashore

Haven’t read it? Check out my review here!

My favourite part of books is discussing them with other fans. Because I want my reviews to remain spoiler-free as they’re more likely to be read by those who haven’t read the book yet, I’m also planning to post “book discussions,” for many of the books I review.  Obviously, these book discussions will contain spoilers and much flailing. Maybe some intellectual-like discussion…but mostly flailing.

Oh. My. God. You. Guys.

How much did you love this book? Because I really loved this book! I have no idea what Fire or Bitterblue are about, but I’m really hoping that Katsa and Po make appearances because I need to see more of these characters. I legitimately want to be best friends with both of them.

And can we talk a little bit about how awesome Po is? I realize that he’s able to read Katsa’s mind when she’s thinking about him, but I feel like his understanding of her goes beyond that and that he genuinely loves and respects her. I don’t think I’ve ever read a book where the male love interest actually RESPECTS the female counterpart. I’m not talking about that like worship thing that you’ll find in John Green novels; I’m talking about straight up respect. I can’t get past this point because it’s just so rare. God, I love this book so much.

Oh my goodness and remember when we thought Po was dead? And then when they had to leave him behind? Like the internal conflict for Katsa was killing me! I wanted her to stay with him, but I’m SO GLAD that she realized that protecting Bitterblue was more important and didn’t let romance/love/whatever cloud her vision. And no, that wasn’t a blind joke. Speaking of which, I so did not see that coming! I thought that maybe Po had lost his memory or something and that’s why he was so distant, but I never guessed blindness.

If there’s one thing that I almost wish could have been changed in this book, it would be somehow getting to see Po’s struggle during that time. I realize that wouldn’t have worked in this book, but maybe Cashore will come out with a short story or novelette or something that would let us see that time for Po.

Okay, okay, I’m done rambling I swear. I’m really interested to hear all of your opinions on this book! I especially want to hear what you guys think about the feminist aspects, which I didn’t really discuss much here, but you know what I’m talking about: gender roles, marriage, etc.

Please no spoilers for Fire or Bitterblue! ❤

About megtao

Student. Writer. Nerdfighter. Fights for love, justice, and awesome.
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14 Responses to [discussion] Graceling by Kristin Cashore

  1. YES, THIS BOOK. I love that I’m finding some really strong fantasy writers these days. Obviously, we had Pierce before, but Rae Carson is also awesome and ahhh KRISTIN CASHORE. I loved this book. I love how strong Katsa was throughout it.

    And I love that even though she fell for Po it didn’t change who SHE was. Even though, in theory I love the idea of them settling down and making crazy fighter graced babies, it would have made Katsa MISERABLE. I loved that falling for him didn’t change what she thought about marriage, no matter how much societal pressure was heaped on her.

    Oh and loved that she bested Po in their fights most of the time! Yeahhhhhhh, strong female characters, yeahhhhh.

    • YES. I love that Katsa remained true to who she was throughout it all.

    • megtao says:

      I can’t wait to read Rae Carson’s work as well. I’ve heard good things about it. 🙂

      Yes, yes, yes! I think it’s nice that we get to see a non-traditional relationship.

      I liked the little comment about how he was physically stronger, but she could still beat him. XD

  2. Alwyn says:

    AAAAH! I love graceling so much. I don’t think I was able to properly articulate why the swoon was so off the charts (aside from the obvious forest sexytime scenes) until I leant it to a friend with a crazy look in my eyes and she then texted me to say Po was her favourite YA male character because he was a feminist. Which is so true! He’s the one encouraging Katsa to be more independant, and he respects her, and her total ownage of him at fighting just makes him like her more. The only place it let me know is that I wanted a little bit more from the ending. When Katsa and Po reunited I kind of wanted it to be…more EPIC. But in any case I have preordered Bitterblue and am just dying for it. I’ve heard great things about it already.

    • megtao says:

      It is true! And I think that’s really rare for most characters tbh.

      I think the lack of epic was to show that as much as their relationship was formed during all of the craziness of war and traitors and stuff, it is still a normal relationship, so I’m kind of glad that it was framed that way (though I didn’t realize it until right now XD).

  3. Huge Fan Girl. Fire is equally wonderful. I’m kind of a reading amatuer, but I think this was one of the 1st books I read that took a respectful tone of women. I have since discovered John Green & he too exudes it in his novels. Glad you are discussing it. It wasn’t receiving the press it should when it came out. One of my faves of all time.

    • megtao says:

      I can’t understand why I haven’t read it before now! I feel like this book was written directly to me XD

      I agree that John has some of the same elements in his writing when it comes to respecting women, but as much as I love him I’m not quite sure if he reaches the same level of equality. For example, in Looking for Alaska, Alaska is basically worshipped by Pudge. That’s not what equality is.

      I’m glad to hear Fire is just as good because I’m going in with huge expectations.

      • tessabarber says:

        Thanks for putting words to the respect thing – Katsa and Po are so great. I love John Green, but his guys do worship his girls. Although in An Abundance of Katherines I think we see the protag start to get past that.

  4. Yeah, LOVE this book. I agree with you totally about the respect thing Katsa and Po have going. Their love was still swoony without being all OMG HEHEHEHE but rather slow burning and real. So real.

    I really loved how he was flawed at the end. Everything didn’t turn out okay.

    Katsa is the baddest assest. That’s fo sho.

    • megtao says:

      YES TO THE FLAWS! I think that’s one of the great things about Po. Like, he’s totally this perfect guy, and then you get to the end and he’s all upset and vulnerable and you’re like “oh, he’s a real person” AND IT WAS JUST SO PERFECT!

  5. Candice says:

    Seriously, this book is worth every ounce of your rambling – I’m pretty sure I did a good amount of it too when I finished reading. I loved just about everything in this book, but mostly that it put female power into the spotlight. While Po was a good “protector” figure he certainly respected that Katsa could take care of herself and didn’t try to be the white night of the story. Which was a VERY nice change of pace.

    Love this book so much… I’m super anxious to get my hands on Fire and Bitterblue!

    • megtao says:

      Anyone that will stand still long enough has been getting to hear all about this book. I like that Po supported her in a way that was outside the physical. They really are like two halves of a whole.

  6. I’ve been thinking about what I posted on Goodreads about how I thought the author was expressing her personal opinions on marriage and then how you said exactly the opposite. Then I read your review and I thought about it some more.

    I still think I’d need to reread the book and give Katsa and Po’s relationship a closer look to form an informed opinion. I flew through the book the first and only time I read it because I was so engrossed in the story.

    But I think my frustration over the marriage thing stems a bit from my own feelings and experiences. I was very much raised in a traditional household where marriage was part of the expectation of a girl growing up. In the last 9 years that I’ve been on my own, I’ve changed my views of what I want from my life. I want to accomplish things. I want a guy who is going to respect and support me in accomplishing my dreams. I don’t want a man’s expectation of me to be kids, cleaning, and cooking and then doing my own thing on the side. But… at the end of the day… I still want to get married with the white dress and traditions. And I don’t want marriage to have the association of being old-fashioned and a woman reverting to traditional roles.

    So I guess in my head, I was hoping to see Katsa being the strong woman with Po who respected and admired her… and maybe I secretly wanted (for myself) to see her find some value in marriage as a tradition because that’s what I want. I want to be a strong woman, but I still see the value and romance of marriage and pledging in front of friends and family your love and devotion for another person.

    So I can respect that Cashore was showing an alternative to marriage and yet still a positive relationship with Katsa and Po. I was probably letting my own opinions and experiences interfere with the story.

    I still love Gracling, and Fire, and I’m sure I’ll love Bitterblue. They are wonderful YA fantasy.

    • megtao says:

      I can definitely see where you’re coming from, but I don’t think being married and being feminist is mutually exclusive and I don’t think that’s what Cashore was trying to say. In the same way that I don’t think she was trying to say that being a mother means you’re not a strong women or you can’t support women’s rights.

      I plan to one day follow the “traditional” path and get married, largely because the guy I’m in love with wants to get married some day, but for me it was nice to see a woman dealing with the same issues as me. I don’t really want or feel the need to get married and I don’t want to have children, and whenever I express that opinion I run into the same obstacles that Katsa did with Giddon. So, yeah… I lost my train of thought there.

      There’s a point in there somewhere XD I think basically it was “I agree and here is my reasoning behind my personal opinion of the book” XD

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