Graceling Realm Series (3 volume set)
Author: Kristin Cashore
Genre: Fantasy, Young readers
Instead of a book by book review, I am doing a whole series review as I have finished reading the series.
Whole Series Review
A quick glance at Amazon’s reviews and you will notice that it has varied ratings. My rating for this book is low, and here is 5 reasons why:
Truth is, I have issues with Katsa, or with the author’s portrayal of Katsa. She is this heroine, said on the book’s synopsis to be Graced with Killing. Which is to say that she can kill things/ people really well, since she is Graced, she is the property of the King. Katsa has issues with hurting or taking a life, so she tries hard to avoid it, it would have been admirable, if the author hadn’t did the twist and ruin everything.
I would like to tell the author, or to remind her who the target audience is: young readers, Grade 8 and up. As a writer, everyone has the responsibility to educate young minds. So it is not acceptable, to justify killing people, and not feel much remorse. Telling people that as long as you have a reason, you can kill is plain wrong.
Not only Katsa, but Lady Fire in Fire, and Queen Bitterblue of Monsea in Bitterblue as well. All three heroines seem to take on a much older reader’s persona, but the content and writing aiming at young readers. Even then, the girl’s past and tragedy is only understood or shared by those who are traumatized by ones closest to them. Hence I am not sure that this is series should be in the genre.
Half the time I wonder where the story is going to go, because it seems that random people are popping up at times of need. People wandering around with blank, foggy minds is a norm in the series. Not to mention really odd pieces of story turning up randomly, as though the author had them in post it notes and placed them in the wrong order.
Messy plot equals confused reader, so I spent pages wondering why I was reading a story that wasn’t going anywhere fun. Though I will admit the author had done a splendid job with the action/ suspense part, but the in between needs more work.
My pet hate, but in this case it was a terrible case of bad planning. It felt like the author had ran out of places to take the readers to, and promptly dump them in the ending. All three books in the series suffer the same fate, and this ruined the series even more for me.
How does it feel like? It felt like I was pushed off the cliff, wham! The End.
All the characters in the book has a role to play, including support characters who shows that everyone needs friends or enemies. It gives the story a dimension, as well as creates a world where readers can dwell in and enjoy the close relationships. In the series, you can clearly see the difference between heroes and support characters. The lack of personality and interest to describe supportive characters, clearly shows in all the book.
While I admit that you cannot actually make everyone believable, but to make all your support people sound the same is going to a new low.
The villain in all three books is this guy: King Leck. Throughout the book, he is the one that readers continuously read about. He would appear in the end for first two books, but continues to haunt in the third. The author meant to paint him as an abuser, King Leck might be the only character in the book that is well fleshed out. Because I understand him, and his role in the book.
Even though King Leck is like a real person, not much is known about him as a person. Sure, you know that he is the evil mastermind with scary powers. I cannot hate someone I barely know. Main thing is, this villain is evil and does a lot of bad things. However, he does not actually appear to antagonize the heroines as a normal enemy does.
Think Lord Voldemort with less screen time, but his infamy is the source of fear. If the heroines are not battling against him, what are they fighting against? The memory and his ability, which is a lot harder to fight against. A little too deep for a young reader genre I think.
A promising series let down by the fact that it was meant for the wrong audience. If this is an adult or new adult, then the author would have more flexibility. There are dark elements in the story, which is quickly deflated as it does not fit for the young audiences.