Tag Archives: Suzanne Collins

Graceling by Kristin Cashore @ SGSS

Deadly Grace

Katsa has been able to kill a man with her bare hands since she was eight – she’s a Graceling, one of the rare people in her land born with an extreme skill.  As niece of the king, she should be able to live a life of privilege, but Graced as she is with killing, she is forced to work as the king’s thug.

When she first meets Prince Po, Graced with combat skills, Katsa has no hint of how her life is about to change.

She never expects to become Po’s friend.

She never expects to learn a new truth about her own Grace – or about a terrible secret that lies hidden far away.

So, I first read this book because I had read somewhere online that the story was quite similiar to the Hunger Games trilogy by Suzanne Collins.  I loved the books by Suzanne, and based on the high turnover of the books from the library, the boys liked them as well.  So I bought the book on my Kindle in order to pre-read it before I put it on the “to get” list.

Now, despite the female lead and some sentimental parts (which were also in Mockingjay so I wasn’t too concerned) I felt that the story wouldn’t scare away any boys who picked it up.  In fact, there was so much action that I hardly noticed the “mushy” parts at all!  “Perfect,” I thought to myself.  “The boys will get caught up in this action!”

So we ordered it… without my looking to see what the cover looked like… and in my experience with books, covers do make a difference.

Now, let me start with a comparison of the cover of Mockingjay (strong, confused, love-stricken girl lead)

Now, I’m not an expert on graphic design by any means.  However, this cover is wonderful in that it is so… simple and not just marketed for female readers.  The soft blue colour isn’t going to scare off the boys.  There isn’t some girl on the front cover with windswept locks.  There aren’t flowers all over the place.  Basically, this a book that a boy can read in public and not feel embarrassed about reading the book that looks like a YA romance. Nice job gods of book covers!

And here are two of the cover designs for Graceling (strong, confused, love-stricken girl lead)

The cover on the left is the UK cover.  The cover on the right is the US cover.  I love them both, and we have the US cover.  But I’m a girl, they appeal to my “Ooh, pretty!” genes.  To me, these covers seem to be marketed for just the female market.  They don’t seem to cater to the boys in the way that the US covers of the Hunger Games trilogy did.  The first thing one of the boys said, before even knowing what the story was about, was, “Ma’am, this is so girlie.”  He didn’t have a clue what the story was about.  After filling him in on the plot line, and letting him know that the story wasn’t terribly girlie, he did take it out…

So that is my gripe about the covers.

The story itself was well written.  Katsa is a believable character who we see develop from this girl who is controlled by her uncle, and her fear of her actions, into her own person.  She learns to handle her Grace in an acceptable way and uses it to defend instead of destroy.  She also develops emotionally.  She begins to allow people to become close to her outside of Raffin, including the Graced fighter Po.  Katsa also learns that the only one who can control what Katsa does is Katsa.  Katsa learns to control her anger at her uncle which allows her to finally escape the psychological prison that he has kept her in for years.

I asked one of the boys what he thought of it when he brought it back.  He said that he liked it, but the thing with Katsa being so affected by Po’s eyes was “weird Ma’am.  I don’t get it.”  Fair enough. I thought that it was a little strange too how she seems to be so caught up in Po’s eyes.  Very Bella and Edward.  But if that’s the only criticism that he had, then I’m happy enough.

If you want to know more about Kristin Cashore or her books, check out her blog HERE.

Other Important But Important Info

Reading Time: 1.5-3 hours (this was hard to judge as I was reading this in-between bus transfers and coffee breaks)

Re-Readability: 5/5

Rating: 4/5 (the eye thing just reminded me too much of Twilight)

Price: Chapters- $11.99/ Amazon – $9.99 USD/ Kindle – $8.59 USD

Side Note for Libraries: If there is a book trailer of a book that I’m posting about, I always include it…. however, the trailer for Graceling by HMH Childrens (the publisher) is just terrible!  I would not use it to promote this book.


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Filed under New Fiction @ SGSS, YA Book Reviews

Author of the Week – Suzanne Collins

Suzanne Collins has made a splash in the young adult literary world.  In 1991 she began her career in writing by penning scripts for children’s television shows.  In 2003 she was inspired to write children’s books herself.  Her first series was inspired by Alice in Wonderland… but much more modern and pertinent for youth these days.  With scenes of New York City instead of the countryside, and the manhole instead of the rabbit hole, Gregor the Overlander (first book in the series) quickly made the New York Times besteller list.  But the books that have won her the spotlight for people of all ages are the books of The Hunger Games trilogy.

Suzanne Collins’ writing is great in that the language is simple enough for youth to understand and connect with, allowing kids read without interruption.  There is nothing more annoying for a teen than being forced to read a book where every fifth word is a lesson in English!  And she gets the job done in engaging kids to actually read more than a blurb off of SparkNotes.  We all know that teens don’t actually read the entire version of Pride and Prejudice or Moby Dick.

The Hunger Games was received well by critics (including Stephen King and Stephanie Meyers who gushed over these books!) and has sold over 800,000 copies in 26 languages.  In 2008, Suzanne Collins won the 2008 Cybil Award for fantasy and science-fiction.  Here, Suzanne Collins gives an interview about her book, Mockingjay.  It also includes an interview with Jonathan Franzen on his new book Freedom, which we have just ordered in for the library.


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