YA Fiction

Graceling by Kristin Cashore

Okay, seriously. People in the YA book world have been talking about this book for months, ever since the ARCs went out. And when I say ‘talking’ I actually mean ‘raving.’ So I was anxious to get my hands on it as soon as it came out.

And maybe it was the fantastic build-up it got, but I found myself a little bit disappointed.

Don’t get me wrong, I really enjoyed it, I thought it was a good book and well-written, and I would definitely recommend it to people, but I just didn’t get what was so special about it that it would send people into paroxysms of praise. (For me, that would be Keturah and Lord Death.)

It has an interesting premise – Gracelings are people gifted with special talents that can range from the ordinary (the ability to juggle anything) to the slightly scary (the ability to kill anybody) and can be spotted by their mismatched eyes. The story centers around Katsa (not entirely likable) who has a killing Grace and Po who has a, well, I don’t want to give it away, but he has a Grace and is eminently likable up until the last quarter of the book, I thought. But from there, it’s just the standard fantasy/quest plot.

So, yes. Good book, entertaining book, well-written book. I will admit that I couldn’t put it down and ended up finishing it during the car ride up to Chicago yesterday. But genre-changing book? Not particularly.

My rating: B+

Happy Day-After-Maddie Day!

Know what yesterday was? IT WAS MADONNA DAY!

And, lo, it was AWESOME! In the diva tradition, she didn’t end up starting until almost 9 o’clock for an 8 o’clock show, but she played for nearly two hours straight and it was amazing. Highlights included a pop-punk version of Borderline which was super-fun, La Isla Bonita reinterpreted as a Gypsy hoedown which was super-fantastique, and Like a Prayer which was ramped up into a SOOPER-DOOPER DANCE REMIX OF AWESOMENESS.

The woman works hard, that’s for sure – she wasn’t off stage very often and she was always moving when she was onstage. I get a little nervous for her when she picks up her guitar because she looks at her hands a lot and I always picture her concentrating very hard and thinking ‘Okay, lobster claw, bear paw, rabbit’s foot…’ a la Phoebe. Plus, it’s Madonna. She rocks whether or not she can play the guitar.

So, in conclusion, SUPER AWESOME.* I wore my Madonna t-shirt to work today to celebrate and didn’t notice until I got there that she’s basically in her underwear on it (it’s the far left pose in the picture above) and I was like ‘Hmm, I know it’s very casual around here, but that may not be office-appropriate.’ But I don’t care. I wore it today and I will wear it again. So that’s Madonna, U2, and Kylie crossed off the list, leaving Radiohead, Bjork, and Muse at the top.

*But, and don’t tell anyone I said this, I think Kylie did it better. Shhh!