When I started it, I was completely in agreement - I loved everything about it! It was high fantasy with an amazingly awesome kick-butt heroine. I loved the world everything took place in and the writing really was fabulous.
Then, about half-way through, the characters did something I didn't like. I'd been just the tiniest bit nagged about a trait of the main character, but I hadn't let it bother me much. But then, just like that, they did something I thought stupid.
And the rest of the book, I was mad. I didn't fully enjoy the amazing twists and the beautiful conclusion. I couldn't bring myself to love it. Even though, I felt like I really wanted to. I felt frustrated and upset. How is it I let something so small ruin the whole story for me? I don't know, but it did. I only gave it an ok review. I put it aside, and forgot about it.
Until recently. When another book by the same author in the same world began getting buzz. I thought back on that first book. I thought back to the reason I gave it a blah review. I listened to other bloggers rave about both books. I thought some more.
Then, I blogged about my morally-tinted glasses. I wondered why sometimes having certain values makes you unable to appreciate certain books. I mentioned in that post the book I have just finished rereading.
All of this led to my rereading of Graceling by Kristin Cashore. I felt a lot of the same feelings that I did the first time, BUT there were some other things too. These next paragraphs may be a bit spoiler-ish if you haven't read it.
Throughout, Katsa insists she will never marry or have children. I don't know exactly why that annoyed me at first. After all, I wasn't nearly as annoyed by Katniss' desire never to marry or have children. When I thought about it more, I realized it was because Katsa had taken the seabane at such a young age and would NEVER be able to have children; I thought that having taken it once meant she could never change her mind. Katsa doesn't strike me as the kind of person who would change her mind, but I did feel her close relationship with Bitterblue may have softened her a bit. I know lots of people who never want children, and I think that's fine. What bothered me was the thought that Katsa made that irrevocable decision so early and then might never even have the chance later on in life.
After picking it up again, I understood that choice differently. I felt that it wasn't irrevocable, because seabane was not a one-time fix for never having children. If she ever felt so inclined in the future, she could simply stop taking seabane. I also felt like her choices with Po (though perhaps a bit selfish) really shouldn't and didn't mar my enjoyment of the rest of the book. I was swept up into the fast-paced action. I loved the setting and the characters and the fantasy elements. I'd even forgotten about several of the plot twists, and enjoyed those again.
So, I think that having reread this book, I was able to appreciate it more. To enjoy it again. To see past my (possibly narrowminded) issue with the book and really come to love it. So, I'm admitting that my first review of Graceling was flawed. I really did love it. And I'd give it an:
Overall rating: ****
Have you ever reread a book you didn't enjoy and changed your opinion of it?