Now... Get ready! I am about to begin a very long-winded, angry rant about these books, so if you don't want to hear about it, stop reading. This rant will probably also include significant parts of the plot, so if you plan to read these books someday (which, by the way, I do not recommend. Did I mention that yet?), stop reading.
Okay, you're still here? Well, you can't say you weren't warned! Here we go.
Graceling is about a girl named Katsa, who is graced with a special power. What's her special power? Killing. Causing pain. Katsa, who tortures and kills people for the king, also runs The Alliance on the side, where she saves people from the brutality of the kings. That's not contradictory or anything. Then she meets Prince Po (which, by the way, can you think of a worse name for our brave handsome prince? Po? Really? Okay, so maybe it's not that bad, but it did always make me think of the Pillsbury doughboy..) and of course she falls in love the the handsome prince, but there is a problem. Oh no! What is it?? Well, it's just that Katsa is so independent. She just can't let a man control her! What will happen?? Don't worry, they have come up with the perfect solution. They will just be lovers, instead of getting married. And describe it all with a little too much detail for a young adult book.
And that is just the first half of the book. The second half tells of Katsa and Po's attempts to save their unrealistic, underdeveloped, unbelievable world from an evil villain. But really, it tells about strong Katsa, and how she can wrestle mountain lions and hike Mount Everest. Then the story just ends, and it is surprisingly anticlimactic. But don't worry, even though the book kind of sucked, at least we all managed to grasp the important themes of the story. Marriage is bad! Woman are strong! Don't let men control you!
The second book, Fire, is not really any better. I really didn't want to read it. But I paid $5 for it! So I started reading. It was quite a challenge! I was so confused at first that I felt like I started reading in the middle of the book instead of the beginning! I almost stopped after 20 pages. But I decided not to let that book win! I kept reading..
This book taught me the following lessons:
Friends with benefits is good, even if that FWB is actually madly in love with you.
It's funny when your FWB sleeps around with lots of other girls.
Until your FWB sleeps with your friends, and they get pregnant. Then it's not funny. He is such an awful man. You must end your sexual relationship.
However, when your FWB goes off and dies, it's okay to grieve so much for him that you just can't live life anymore.
Also, birth control is good, so that you can have lots of love affairs with many different people.
Oh yeah, and I think this was the main moral of the story, because it was clearly stated on the last page: Some people are just plain bad people, and you should kill them. Even though it will make you a bad person if you do. Kill them anyway. And, oh yeah! Don't get married!
Okay, so although my main problem was with the content of these books, they also weren't written very well. The fantasy world was too simple, and so not believable. The villains were too easily vanquished. They exciting parts occurred in the wrong places, or they just didn't occur at all.
But, the thing that makes the whole thing so frustrating is that the author is actually very talented. The stories are very enthralling..sometimes, when you get past your confusion and disbelief. I actually found myself really caught up in the books at times. So I'm frustrated that someone so talented would waste it like this! Take the time to plan your books out a little better. Make your world more believable. Be more creative with your villains. And for goodness sake, come up with some better names! Oh yes, and get off your feminist soap box. And write something with a little bit better morals, especially if your audience is malleable young adult minds.
Okay, THE END of my rant. I apologize for my anger. But, one last thing. Did I mention that these books have been bestsellers, won lots of awards, and teens love them?? I mean, I guess they weren't the worst books I've ever read or anything. I just think our standards could be a little higher. We could do so much better.