BLOG REVIVAL & Graceling by Kristine Cashore

Hear ye! Hear ye!

My fine damsels, the day has finally come. I am back in the blogosphere. But first, I want to tell you that I really did plan for a smashing double review of Chelsea Fine’s books, Anew and Awry. Alas! Due to my non-existent book ban, my physical unread books grew like Rapunzel’s tower before my very eyes and I was forced to read them first lest the ‘rents find out about it and then my damsels, I’ll be screwed. The book ban will be as tangible as a punch in the gut, I tell you.  Spearheading this blog revival will be my review of Kristin Cashore’s, Graceling, a book that was lavished with so many praises I decided to plunge into its world. Without further ado…

His eyes, Katsa had never seen such eyes. One was silver, and the other, gold. They glowed in his sun-darkened face, uneven, and strange. She was surprised that they hadn't shone in the darkness of their first meeting. They didn't seem human....
Then he raised his eyebrows a hair, and his mouth shifted into the hint of a smirk. He nodded at her, just barely, and it released her from her spell.
Cocky, she thought. Cocky and arrogant, this one, and that was all there was to make of him. Whatever game he was playing, if he expected her to join him he would be disappointed.

In a world where people born with an extreme skill - called a Grace - are feared and exploited, Katsa carries the burden of the skill even she despises: the Grace of killing. She lives under the command of her uncle Randa, King of the Middluns, and is expected to execute his dirty work, punishing and torturing anyone who displeases him.
When she first meets Prince Po, who is 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...a secret that could destroy all seven kingdoms with words alone.
Series: Graceling Realm #1
Published October 1st 2008 by Harcourt

This book was way back in 2008. Freaking 2008. I bought Graceling at a beloved bookstore that sells second-loved books (second-hand is for things and I care for my books more than I care for humans, even myself. xD) and I remembered a lot of whoopin, running and smiling at my newfound treasure. What a treasure indeed. For the price of the bookstore’s salespersons’ strange and helpless look-here-comes-crazy-Johanna-again, I have it. I love them for bearing with me *winks*

I developed cover stroking because of Graceling’s cover. It gives you a glimpse of the badassery inside the book. I awarded it one of my Best Book Cover awards. I’m always having a staring contest with the book because of its beauty. As for the main character, Katsa, I felt the need to make the font bold because my dears, that she is, that she is. Katsa has her flaws when it comes to being humane but talk about inhumane and she’s too perfect a warrior when it comes to skills. Her being distracted with Poe’s open neckshirt is adorable and by Jove, she is a sadist. THEY BOTH ARE SADISTS. Katsa’s struggle is endearing. She’s like an infant to the world of gentleness and mercy brutal and harsh picture of Graces. She's like Katniss left by Peeta for another woman. She's that wild. 

The setting is realistically-fantastic and very detailed it will oftentimes annoy you to Hell. But worry not, that’s just a minor bruise like what Katsa rarely gives to Poe. Because she gives him deep gashes and scratches. See, I told you they’re sadists xD Back to the world-building, it’s worth losing yourself into as well as the author’s writing style, it’s bizarre but striking, and pinpoints the emotions of the characters and the action scenes. Graceling gives you a virtual eyegasm. There were many unnecessary skirmishes like this...

"Towns of stone built into stone..."-pg. 404

 But then, there were always surprises at every turn of Graceling that gets me back on track.

The pacing of the plot is like running on uneven ground, awkwardly. Sometimes, the road is easy so you ran faster and sometimes, it’s so rocky that you stumble and slow down. Not enough comma for you to breath. For the fusion of romance and ultimate badassery in the books’ eccentricity, I’d give an A. From f(P)oe to friends to lovers, the love factor is strong, both in emotional and physical aspects. No wedding! Katsa you bad bad girl! Stop knocking Poe down lest he’s the one who will get pregnant instead. And trust me, honey, seabane won’t help him xD However, the villain is still a manipulative perverse son of a-- *censored* *bares fangs* I’m having mood swings.

Overall, Graceling, is an action-packed, compassionate and well-crafted novel that you must have patience to prepare for it’s bloody and…bittersweet conclusion. Longing for more of Katsa's world, my chest felt like there was a hole in it, it needs more of the magic from Cashore. An excellent must-read!

“When a monster stopped behaving like a monster, did it stop being a monster? Did it become something else?” ― Kristin Cashore Graceling
 “I know you don't want this, Katsa. But I can't help myself. The moment you came barreling into my life I was lost. I'm afraid to tell you what I wish for, for fear you'll... oh, I don't know, throw me into the fire. Or more likely, refuse me. Or worst of all, despise me," he said, his voice breaking and his eyes dropping from her face. His face dropping into his hands. "I love you," he said. "You're more dear to my heart than I ever knew anyone could be. And I've made you cry; and there I'll stop.” ― Kristin CashoreGraceling

Happy Halloweeeenn! Wait what?! + Bewitching by Alex Flinn

I'm back for a bit for my belated Halloween review of this awesome book. Watch out, I'm reviving the blog soon...How soon? Erm, just soon. Teehee~ I love you all and I'll be back for a bit. HAPPY LATE HALLOWEEN! Here, Trick and Treat! LOL. I know I'm lame. xD
Finally the review. :))
Bewitching can be a beast. . . .
Once, I put a curse on a beastly and arrogant high school boy. That one turned out all right. Others didn't.I go to a new school now--one where no one knows that I should have graduated long ago. I'm not still here because I'm stupid; I just don't age.You see, I'm immortal. And I pretty much know everything after hundreds of years--except for when to take my powers and butt out.I want to help, but things just go awry in ways I could never predict. Like when I tried to free some children from a gingerbread house and ended up being hanged. After I came back from the dead (immortal, remember?), I tried to play matchmaker for a French prince and ended up banished from France forever. And that little mermaid I found in the "Titanic" lifeboat? I don't even want to think about it.Now a girl named Emma needs me. I probably shouldn't get involved, but her gorgeous stepsister is conniving to the core. I think I have just the thing to fix that girl--and it isn't an enchanted pumpkin. Although you never know what will happen when I start . . . bewitching.

Series: Kendra Chronicles #2
Published February 14th 2012 by HarperTeen

Let me tell you a little story of how I met Alex made-of-fairytale-awesome Flinn in a (horrible) fairytale type retelling…

Once upon a time, in a land full of unread books and dusty bookshelves, a young wild girl was searching for a book to read. She was me. She was a neophyte, an ignorant to the wonderful world of real YA after Twilight. A book entitled “Beastly” caught her attention like a shining needle in a haystack. It was a fairytale retelling of the famous Beauty and the Beast. I’ll answer the question why it didn’t deem worthy of a review later, btw. In a modern world. Despite the warnings her mind sent, her heart just dig fairytale mash ups like how she would dig into dark chocolate (fantasies) so she BOUGHT the damn thing. Plus it was with the fascinating cover of Vanessa Hudgens and Alex Pettyfer. Can the book get more awesome than that?

She was greatly disappointed that she wanted to throw herself off the Leaning Tower of Pisa and meet a squishy death. Good thing, she’s too epic to die just like that. The book’s simplicity made me fume but it was because I soared my expectations so high. I found the plot so bland and colorless. It was flat. Lifeless. But it did serve the purpose. Kendra Hilferty was already introduced in Beastly and I was interested in her the very moment her name appeared on the book. Who could resist witches? Not me.  Anyways, onto the actual review.

Bewitching is a light and humorous read and at the same time, a complex and touching story that focuses on the rise and fall of the witch Kendra as she (unfortunately) venture through the world during the later times where witches and mermaids were still believed by townsfolk, not just their children. It was a cover love. I imagined myself looking like this while “admiring” the cover. Kendra looked so melancholic and beautiful and cold. Silly daydreams of a fairytale and witches junkie. What I absolutely loved in this book is the lesson, used many times but in many forms. Bewitching was another form of the lesson but nonetheless, it was one of the best. Kahlil Gibran’s, “Beauty is not in the face; beauty is a light in the heart.”  

The rendering twisty plot began with Kendra and her brother, they were the only ones left after in their fam during the Great Plague, in a twisted situation of Hansel and Gretel.  She struggled with her awakening powers as a witch there. But it was really an admiring thing that she still makes me smile even if she’s in a very deadly situation. The story ran along with Emma and Lisette introduced. Stepsisters. Their characters are so flawed…in a very good way. In fact, it made me enjoy the book more as slowly their personalities intertwine and I dived deeper into a relationship of the vengeful sort. It was a twisted Cinderella story. Frustration marred my beliefs, WHO IS REALLY THE CINDERELLA HERE? *flips table*

Kendra also helped the Prince of France, the little mermaid (well, I wouldn’t say it as a help…more like a push to *censored because of spoiler-alert*) and believe me, those twisted retellings got me. You’ll be anticipating Kendra’s POV every chapter because it’s bloody amusing. The way her quirks as a witch harms the side characters more often than not, I kid you not. Now I’m speaking young Kendra-ish. Everything was in multiple: plots and POVS.   But the factor of readability lies in those two. It was well-written, spellbinding even. Unlike most multiple POV books I've read, Bewitching passed the safe side and more.  

On the love interest aspect, I should probably warn you about WARNer. No pun intended..not. So I got confused with the who’s-the-Cinderella? thingy well then, let me add up the Prince-Charming-in-frog-suit part too. I shed a few tears during the hardest part and smiled tenderly during the sweetest conclusion of Emma’s love story. *throws Travis in*

                                                            Warner in my perspective

Ah, this retelling is the most twisted ever in a very amazing way. I loved it with the heart of a thousand witches slain. Oopss…no offense oh great Kendra ;) I love the chapter titles of your POV, they’re hilarious. No more spoilers so that you can really enjoy the essence of the book just as I did. A must-read, you can’t just let this pass you.

“In stories like Cinderella and Beauty and the Beast, they always say the heroine is 'as good as she is beautiful.' I wondered if people just wanted that to be true, wanted the beautiful to be good. I wondered if they wanted the ugly to be bad because then they wouldn't have to feel bad for them.” 
I knew he was going to kiss me, and suddenly I didn't want him to, not because I didn't like him. I did. I always had. But because I wanted to preserve this moment, this slice of time when the night was cool and bright with reflected moonlight and the possibility of a kiss hung between us, full of unspent promise. Every event in my life after this would be different because I would have been kissed. Was I ready?