Graceling (Graphic Novel) | Review
Rating - ⭐⭐⭐
"Katsa is a Graceling, one of the rare people born with an extreme skill. As niece of the king, she lived a life of privilege until the day her ability to kill a man with her bare hands revealed itself during a royal banquet. Now she acts as her uncle’s enforcer, traveling the kingdom and threatening those who dare oppose him.
But everything changes when she meets Po, a foreign prince Graced with combat skills who is searching for the truth about his grandfather’s disappearance. When Katsa agrees to help him, she never expects to learn a new truth about her own Grace—or about a terrible secret that could destroy them all."
Graceling is a novel by Kristin Cashore that was adapted into a graphic novel by Gareth Hinds.
I don't know if the magic if this book has worn off after not reading it in years, or the adaptation didn't speak to me because I found this to be pretty unremarkable.
Let's get into the details.
I found the art to be a bit better compared to most graphic novels, but the art style was still a bit odd to me nonetheless. For one, although this is entirely my opinion, the way Katsa and Po were drawn didn't match up with how I pictured them in my mind as they looked a lot older than teenagers.
I also wasn't a fan of the textured, almost watercolour, way the images were drawn as it made them look a bit dull compared to if it was digitally drawn. The faces were also sometimes looked a bit wonky, but that could just be the author's choice. The fight scenes were depicted okay, even though there were some panels that looked a bit funny because of the way the author chose to depict constant movement.
Now, this is a comment on the layout of the ebook I got, and not the actual novel, but it was a bit difficult to read this because of the format. The ebook, for some reason, was double-paged instead of single-paged, and the font was small too, so I had to zoom in a scroll around the page to read it which was difficult.
Usually, I prefer stories told with a graphic medium because I can connect with them better when I can visually see it but, in this case, I think I preferred the book over this. While it is not uncommon for light novels to be adapted into manga/manhwa/manhua, I find that it doesn't quite work when it comes to a fully textual novel.
Because of the page and dialogue constraint, the author had to pick and chose the most crucial moments in the book while also making the story flow well. That wasn't entirely successful as it made the story seem a bit dramatic and awkwardly paced. It also made the story a bit choppy because it would skip to when they arrived somewhere as well.
I wasn't a big fan of Katsa, surprisingly, because I think I really liked her character when I originally read the book (granted that was a long time ago). Due to the nature of her backstory, she is a 'fight first ask questions later' kind of girl and is very standoffish. While that may not be a bad thing when it comes to the right character, I just didn't like how right when she met Po, she immediately attacked the guy because she didn't want to talk to him anymore.
The romantic tension and build-up between Katsu and Po didn't seem entirely believable, but this is very common when it comes to graphic novels. Because of the page constraint, romances end up developing a lot quicker and you end up not getting a lot of on-page interaction that can help set up and develop the romance.
Again, I don't know if this story just isn't as good as I thought it was when I was older, or if it just didn't work as a graphic novel. If you are interested in the book, I would skip this entirely and just read the novel.