Books That Would Make Great Movies: Graceling by Kristin Cashore
*copied from the back of the book*
“Katsa has been able to kill a man with her bare hands since she was eight- she’s a Graceling, one of the rare people in her land born with an extreme skill. As niece of the King, she should be able to live a life of privilege, but Graced as she is with killing, she is forced to work as the King’s thug.
“When she first meets Prince Po, Graced with combat skills, Katsa has no hint of how her life is about to change.
“She never expects to become Po’s friend.
“She never expects to learn a new truth about her own Grace- or about a terrible secret that lies hidden far away…”
As far as book backs go, that’s a pretty decent description. Katsa lives in a world where people are Graced with various talents- Katsa is Graced with fighting, Po is good at hand-to-hand fighting, and some are Graced with like great baking or they can remember everything they read or stuff like that, not everything is fighting related. Katsa is kind of resigned to the fact that she is her uncle’s evil henchman, he sends her to torture or kill Lords who have offended him in some way, but he’s pretty sociopathic, so he tends to send her to do pretty nasty stuff for no reason, but Katsa really doesn’t have a choice in the matter.
Katsa and some of those loyal to her and Prince Raffin, her cousin who is absolutely nothing like his father, run missions within the kingdom and in neighboring kingdoms to help the people and protect them from the many horrible kings. Indeed, it seems like every King but two are absolutely terrible- those two being King Leck of the Monsea, a kingdom separated from the others by a large mountain range that doesn’t see many visitors, and King Ror of Lienid, Prince Po’s father, who rules an island kingdom far off the coast. Katsa and her band break into the dungeons of one of the four neighboring Kingdoms (I can’t remember which) to free another Prince, the father of King Ror who was taken prisoner and held in secret. When Katsa is leaving with the Prince, she encounters Po, who is looking for his grandfather.
The story mainly focuses on the mystery of who kidnapped the grandfather of Prince Po and why, since they know that even though he was in whichever King’s dungeon, that King is more of a for-hire thug. The mystery points them in two directions for clues- to Monsea and Lienid, and the journey reveals something about Katsa and Po’s Graces that they did not realize.
Movie-Ability: Decently High
As far as the story goes, there is a very large scope. It isn’t like where the story starts in one place and ends at point B. It kind of zig-zags, so the challenge as far as adaptation for the film would be to hone down their adventures in Monsea to a more narrow track, and the writer would probably have to cut out a lot of cool bits to keep the more significant ones. That summary I provided you earlier on was literally just the set-up, the first hundred pages or so of the book, just Act 1.
There is a lot of fighting, a lot of epic adventure, and a good B-story, all the ingredients for a good movie, and it’s certainly one of my personal favorite reads. It is part one of a trilogy that I’m really hoping gets stretched out to more books, I love the characters and the writing is just gorgeous. No plot holes. No stupid lines. No bad characterizations. The villain is deliciously evil and even I was surprised by just how ferocious they are, which will translate well to film.
If you read the book and like it, I recommend reading “Fire” before “Bitterblue”, I’m not sure what order the books actually are in, but “Fire” is chronologically further back, though it is nice reading “Bitterblue” with that mystery of not knowing about the events of “Fire”. I found myself with both books open at all times, so as I learned who a character really was I would flip back through Bitterblue and re-read their parts.
Update: (literally 2 minutes after posting the original), I was poking around one of the sites for “Graceling” and found out that they just announced (2 weeks ago) that they are making a “Graceling” movie.
I can only hope it isn’t as horrific as “Eragon”.
- Posted in: Books That Would Make Great Movies (BTWMGM)