by: Kristen Cashore

Challenges: 1st in a Series Challenge

Published: 2008

# of pages: 471

For some reason I had The Hunger Games in mind when I started to read this. It must be because in my LibraryThing account it always shows this as a recommendation right next to The Hunger Games. Anyway, I couldn't help but compare the two for the first few chapters, but eventually I separated them in my mind and then enjoyed this book more. I did find the similarity in the main characters' names annoying. Katniss is the heroine of The Hunger Games and Katsa is the heroine of Graceling.

Katsa lives in a world where certain people are born with a grace. It could be the grace of cooking, the grace of fighting, the grace of drawing...or the grace of killing. The last is Katsa's grace. The people with graces are called Gracelings and they are the property of the land's many rulers. Katsa may be able to kill without effort, but it doesn't mean she enjoys it. She finds ways to rebel against her uncle the king, but until she meets another Graceling one fateful night, she doesn't do anything to change her situation.

Katsa's world is turned around when she meets a handsome Graceling who invades her world. He's mysterious and is on a mission, one in which Katsa is soon caught up in. The two Gracelings seem unstoppable, but can they survive traveling across the country's rugged terrain and becoming involved in a horrifyingly evil plot?

Like I said, I had a hard time enjoying the novel at first because I kept comparing it to one of my all time favorite books, but after awhile it seemed more individual and unique. I didn't enjoy it as much as I could have if Katsa was a little more open to love. I think her romantic decisions made the book less romantic. That's not necessarily bad, but I think I would have enjoyed it more if it had a little more traditional romance. :-)

This is appropriate for adult lovers of fantasy and possibly some young adults as well. There's mild sex scenes and maybe some mild language (I can't remember for sure). There's obviously some violence since Katsa is skilled in killing, but it isn't descriptive or overwhelming. Overall this was a unique and interesting read, I can't wait to read the sequel (Fire).

Have you reviewed this? Let me know and I'd be happy to post yours as well.

Haunting Bombay

Haunting Bombay
by: Shilpa Agarwal

Challenge: R.I.P. IV

Published: 2009

# of pages: 368

It's past the due date for the R.I.P. IV challenge, but I finished this book October 28, so I completed it within the time frame. I was just too lazy to write a review before today!

The story follows the Mittal family living in Bombay in 1960. The main character, Pinky, is a 13 year old girl who lives with her grandmother, uncle, aunt, and cousins in a bungalow that is haunted by the ghost of an infant. One night the ghost is released from the room it has been confined in for 13 years and the Mittal family is never the same.

This is a "scary" book, but it is really horrifying because of the nature of the ghost and the family's secrets. There were a few times, especially at the beginning before much is revealed, where I felt a little creeped out. However, after learning more about the family, I just felt so sad for all of them, but especially Savira. I suppose this wasn't the best book to read as the mother of an infant.

Anyway, in spite of the sadness, it was a good mystery that I kept wanting to read to find out what happened. However, I felt like it was a little choppy. The scenes kept jumping from one thing to another and there were a few parts I felt could have been left out. I found it interesting that the women in the book were all connected, but in a way that was what was a little confusing.

And I just have to say...part of the reason I enjoy reading books that take place in India or have Indian characters is because of the beautiful names! I loved the names Savira, Maji, Jaginder, Avni, Parvati.... so pretty. Haha, I just noticed several of them have Vs in them, and that's obviously something I'm drawn too (my son's name is Evan).

Anyway, I recommend this to adult readers who enjoy the Gothic genre, Indian history, or ghost stories/mysteries that are more suspense filled than scary.

Have you reviewed this? Let me know and I'd be happy to post yours as well.

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