Graceling~ Book Review
by Kristin Cashore
Read October 2009
Published by Graphia (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
Original Publication date~ 2008
Genre~ Young Adult Fantasy
ISBN 13~ 978 0 547 25830 0
Source~ Purchased in Store
From the back cover:
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 priviledge, 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 idea 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.
I absolutely consumed this book. It is one of the best fantasy novels I have ever read.
Katsa is one of the Graced, those with differing supernatural powers and abilities in one area. It can be anything from cooking exceptionally well to Graces such as Katsa’s, killing. The one thing that all Gracelings share is eyes of two different colors.
Ever since accidentally killing her adult cousin at eight years old, she has been the King’s hitman and strong-arm. She is made to think of herself as nothing more than a killer. No emotions, no feelings, no brains. Her uncle, the king, has made sure it is so. When a secret rescue mission grants her a first encounter with Prince Po, everything she thought she knew about herself, begins to change.
Watching Katsa evolve as a character as she discover’s her humanity was amazing. She starts as nothing more than a leashed attack dog for her uncle, King Randa. As she meets and spends time with Po, she becomes more and more human. She is such a strong, fierce female character that we don’t see much of in many recent novels. It isn’t a pretense for her, or in any way an attempt to gain advantage. It is just who she is. There is no Bella Swan in need of rescuing in this book.
Po is an equally rich character. Also Graced, he is the first true match in a physical fight for Katsa. Even with his Grace, he is still unable to beat her. What struck me was how he was okay with it and even seemed proud of her. He doesn’t take the stance of many male characters and want to change or be the strong one in the relationship, and yet he doesn’t come off as wimpy or effeminate. Cashore has done a marvelous job writing both characters. They both have so much depth and fullness.
Po and Katsa’s journey to find out about secrets surrounding his grandfather’s kidnapping is exciting and full adventure. Along the way there are wolves, mountain lions, treacherous weather, princesses in need of rescue, murder, and people who aren’t what they seem.
I knew this book would be good, but I was still shocked at quite how much I loved it.
I immediately went out and bought Fire, the prequel-ish companion novel. I have been told you do not have to read either book to enjoy the other. I can’t wait to dive right in to it!