Wednesday, March 28, 2012

Batty About Books - Graceling by Kristin Cashore - Part 1

Yippee! Welcome to the inaugural posting of Batty About Books where Maria Selke (@mselke01) and I will read and review books together.

 Maria answered my tweet out - "Anyone want to be book buddies?" with an affirmative - SUCKER! No, really, I'm grateful and excited!

We decided to use Google Docs and DM each other on twitter to keep track of our reading.  We chose Graceling by Kristin Cashore as our first read - based on our love of fantasy and The Andre Norton Award for Young Adult Science Fiction and Fantasy nominees list.  Many moons ago I read Graceling and I wanted to re-read it before Bitterblue finally releases in May! Yippee, again!

I will post my original thoughts in blue along with Maria's responses in purple here on The Brain Lair.  Maria will post her thoughts and my responses over on Maria's Melange.  Follow along as we "Bat"tle our way through the books!

BTW, we both love BatGirl and though you see Maria's shoes in the pic - mine are ordered and on the way! We hope you join us in our reading and please share your thoughts in the comments!

Graceling by Kristin Cashore - Beginning to Page 115
Kathy: I picked up the audiobook of this because I didn’t think I’d have time to read. Man, the time really flew by! The audio is done in full cast with sound effects and everything! I love it.  I have to post something now because I accidentally listened PAST where I was supposed to stop! I’m really glad we picked this one!
Maria:  I’ll have to check that out. I just finished my first audio book (Dead End in Norvelt). I don’t process audio well - I’m easily distracted - so I was pleased to see how I enjoyed that format (though I didn’t like that book).

Kathy: My first thoughts were about how Cashore chose many different types of Graces.   I love that there are graces for cooking, fighting and even swimming. I was thinking of the Grace I would like to have and also wondering why Cashore decided to call them “Graces”.  Just looked up the definition of Grace and one is “Seemingly effortless beauty or charm of movement, form, or proportion” and it kind of makes sense. The Grace is such a part of who they are and yet it’s beautiful at the same time.  I also wonder why everyone is afraid of the the Graced.  
Maria: I agree. Though as a gifted resource teacher, I “get” the resentment that is sometimes shown toward those who have that “effortless” skill. I like the fact that she doesn’t have EVERYONE have a Grace. Though I’m surprised so far that they are outcasts. I’d expect that there would be some breeding to ensure better Graces, and I’d like to know if there are any genetic lines of the Graced.

Kathy: I think I would like the Grace of Housekeeping.  Not just cleaning the house but making it welcoming and inviting. Including the art of cooking. It’s my downfall. I never learned how to do those things and wish I knew how. What about you? 
Maria: If I could gain a Grace, I’d love to have a better memory. Not eidetic like my hero Barbara Gordon, though. I’d love to be able to pick and choose, decide which memories to store in my perfect mind’s eye and which to allow the normal progression of fading. (BTW, I’m a terrible housekeeper and I hate to cook. I do enjoy baking when I have a chance).

Kathy: Anyway back to the book. I like Giddon and Po and look forward to seeing how things play out between those two.  Po sounds so handsome and suave and Giddon so strong.  It’s clear Katsa is developing feelings for Po, but with Katsa’sstrong aversion to will Cashore advance this relationship? Why doesn’t Katsa want to get married? Did I miss that part? 
Maria: I love the budding triangle, as I mentioned in my section. The love triangle of Arthur, Lancelot, and Guinevere is one of my favorite things in literature, and I love a well developed, tense, dramatic triangle. Sadly, it is so easy to get this wrong. So I hope that it continues to progress well. I don’t think I recall Katsa mentioning why she doesn’t want to get married, but I would guess it has something to do with the fact that she would be forced (she would believe) into a traditional female role if she were married. It probably also ties into her lack of a real female role model. Giddon’s overprotectiveness doesn’t help in this aspect. I think Po’s ability to see her as a valuable sparring partner may help her see that she can find a way to embrace her feminine side along with the rest of her. At least, I hope it does. Yet I also respect her desire to stay single. This was one of the things I disliked about Katniss in the later books.

Kathy: Was Cashore hinting at a relationship between Bann and Raffin? 
Maria: Intriguing thought. I didn’t pick up on much with Bann on this first read through, but I can really see this possibility as I think back on the text. I hope she is, actually. If she can do it respectfully and avoid stereotypes.

Kathy: And last but not least, what do you think Po’s grace is?
Maria: Hmmm... I hadn’t really thought about this, as I was assuming it was just tied into hand to hand combat. Are all the Graces completely unique? Can more than one person have the exact same combination? I remember Po claiming that he isn’t as skilled with things like throwing knives as Katsa is. He’s clearly skilled at hand to hand combat... but he always seems to be able to anticipate her moves. Maybe that ties in?
Katsa does also seem to have extra strong bone structure, as she avoids severe injury even when hit by Po. 

Tune in next week for Part 2!

Also, thanks to Jen at TeachMentorTexts and Colby at SharpRead for this wonderful idea!!


  1. Good stuff ladies! Makes me want to reread the book! We used it in this year's high school battle of the books.

  2. Kellee said she really liked the audiobook for Graceling so I got the audiobook and the physical copy to reread in April. I love that there are sound effects and not just full cast! Sounds like fun.

    I love Po and Katsa together. I think it's so cool that their Graces complement teacher other so well. Ah! I can't wait until Sunday to get started with this!

  3. For anyone stopping by, my blog totally crashed out, and I got switched to Blogger. I had to recreate my post just now - so here's the link.

    I'm so excited to be doing this with Kathy! :)

    1. I updated the link in the post! Glad you were able to get things working again!

  4. My 6th grade daughter picked Graceling off your blog post to read ... she's excited to read it!

  5. Kathy, I want the Grace of Housekeeping too!!!!

  6. I wish I was Graced with a better memory as well.

    I really enjoyed that Katsa rejects the traditional role of a woman. It's a nice change of pace.

    Alison at The Cheap Reader

  7. Aw, it's so cute you are reading this together! Readalongs can be so fun with the right partner, and this one seems like it has a lot of discussion material. I need to pick it up again sometime.

    Wendy @ The Midnight Garden

  8. Ah, I love Graceling! It's an awfully quick read for me and I didn't think so much what Po's ability is when I was reading it, so I was completely shocked when I read it! xD Graceling is a perfect pick for readalong because it's full of materials to discuss! Have fun reading Graceling! :)


Thanks for chatting! I love comments and look forward to reading yours! I may not reply right away, but I am listening! Keep reading and don't forget to be awesome!


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