Title: Graceling (Graceling Realm #1)
Author: Kristin Cashore
Release Date: October 1st, 2008
Published by: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Read: May 23rd, 2012
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 . . . a secret that could destroy all seven kingdoms with words alone.
With elegant, evocative prose and a cast of unforgettable characters, debut author Kristin Cashore creates a mesmerizing world, a death-defying adventure, and a heart-racing romance that will consume you, hold you captive, and leave you wanting more.
What I thought:
A Graceling is a person who has a hightened ability, like they could be amazing at cooking, swimming, or even read the minds of those around them. They have two different coloured eyes, and others are sometimes frightened by them, depending on what their gift may be. Katsa’s seems to be killing, so most won’t look her in the eyes for fear of her.
Katsa is a very strong female character, who doesn’t want to be owned or controlled by anyone, who wants to make her own decisions and live on her terms. This is difficult for her however, as she is the King’s niece, and goes out to punish those who don’t do as he says. She hates doing this, and wonders if she could ever find a way out of it. She also has quite the temper, and sometimes has trouble controlling it for she might end up hurting someone by accident.
Then one day she meets a fighter, Po, who is like her, a Graceling. She is drawn to him, and as they practice fighting they become closer, they become friends, something Katsa doesn’t have too many of. Now one thing about Katsa, is she doesn’t want to be tied down to a man, so she will never marry or have kids. I was kind of wondering if she would change her mind, but she doesn’t, and still manages to be with someone in a way.
As for the rest of the story, there are lots of fights, journeying, some danger and people who would wish them harm along the path they choose to go. I won’t give it away, but Bitterblue is so awesome, even though she’s young I just really liked her, how she tried to handle everything. Katsa’s fighting is so cool, and I loved Po’s Grace in this. The ending wrapped up well, but it was still a bit sad at one point, so be warned. One thing I’m thankful for, is the map included in the physical copy of the book, I find I reference them quite a bit sometimes and it really helps!
This is a great fantasy novel, with action and adventures and some romance. Try it out, and let me know what you think!