Since I missed doing a review yesterday (stupid stomach virus), you get two reviews today. That sounds fair, doesn’t it?
First up – Graceling by Kristin Cashore. This was a book recommendation from my podcast co-host, Jess. We discussed it on an episode not too long ago, but I haven’t had a chance to talk about it here. The story is about Katsa, a young girl living in her uncle’s castle. She has a Grace, which is an innate talent that some people in this land are born with. You can tell the Graced by their eyes, which are two different colors. Katsa has one green eye and one blue eye. Graces can be simple, like a strong talent for cooking or navigating a ship. But Katsa’s Grace is killing. Her uncle uses her as his enforcer to bully the various nobles in his kingdom into following his orders. Katsa hates this and organizes her own group, the Council, to try and counteract some of the injustice in the land.
Then the father of a neighboring king goes missing. Katsa and her people set out to rescue him, but find someone else trying to do the same thing – Po, the grandson of the kidnapped man. Po is a prince, but he’s also Graced. Katsa believes that his Grace is also fighting. Together, they set out to discover the reasons for the kidnapping and, in the process, discover a dark conspiracy lurking in another kingdom that is growing. They also discover that their Graces are not what they thought they were.
The book was very well written. I liked how the Graces worked. Katsa is a tough character with a very hard exterior, but that makes it all the more sweet when she falls in love with Po and learns how to let someone into her heart. There are two other books in this series, and I will be getting them as soon as I finish a few other books on my to-read pile.
Next review – The Parish and the Hill by Mary Doyle Curran. This is a book that I read for school and thoroughly enjoyed. The book tells the story of Mary, a young girl growing up as an Irish immigrant to America at the turn of the century. She talks about her family and their traditions, but also what coming to America has meant to them. They live in a small town called Irish Parish, where her grandfather is a pillar of the community. Each member of her family has different ways of coping with the changes in their lives, with the discrimination they all face because they are Irish. They go through poverty, barely scraping by, but deep down, there is a strong connection that keeps them together. Eventually they move to Money Hole Hill, another town that is a bit more upscale. Mary’s family has a hard time fitting in, due to the tensions between the “shanty Irish” (the ones who keep the Irish traditions alive) and the “lace curtain Irish” (the ones turning their back on their roots and trying to become like their Yankee neighbors).
This book is autobiographical and very good. I learned a lot reading it and it really makes you think about the bonds that tie people together, whether it’s family, community, or a shared heritage or tradition.