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...
This story is truly captivating. The
tone caught me immediately and drew me in. A Graceling is someone born
with an ability far exceeding human capability (exceptional swimmer, fighter,
etc) and marked by eyes of different colors. Katsa is a Graced fighter and
virtually unbeatable. In the first half of the book she is forced to fight and
bully on behalf of her tyrannical uncle. She is forced to torture people who do
not comply with his rule. She secretly formed the Council which protects the
innocent from being taken advantage of by any of the seven kings.
Katsa’s character is believable even
though she is a teenager who changes the course of seven kingdoms. Most of us
felt invincible as teenagers and probably wanted to change the world. This
story fulfills that desire. The gifts as a Graceling give us room to believe in
the unbelievable things she can do because of her Grace.
In the second half of the book she joins
forces with a prince to find out the reason his grandfather was kidnapped. She
has never felt love or friendship before and every moment they spent together
was magical for reasons I won’t share. (No spoilers in this review!) But I will
say the only part that irked my (only slightly) was the abrupt resolution to a
major plot point. I found it odd, but hey who wants to wait around for these
This is Kristin Cashore’s first novel!
Her writing style is exceptional and I was thrilled to find myself caught up in
the story world she created. I’m glad to have finally found another book to
give a 5. Excellent: Worth every minute, I’d probably read it again. (I’ll
probably buy this one too, because I read the library copy.)
Bring on Book 2!!
I would definitely recommend this book
to my pre-teens and teens. It would make a great PG movie as well!