Wednesday, October 28, 2009


By: Kristin Cashore


This is the debut novel from Kristin Cashore and it is a fabulous one. This book centers on a girl named Katsa who is graced with killing, which is to say that she is gifted in the art of killing. In her world, those who are graced, not matter what the skill, are given to the King to be put to his use. In Katsa case, that king is a relative who would use her skill to punish those who he dislikes. When Katsa meets Prince Po, she discovers the strength to defy the King and find her own way in the world.
It took me a chapter to get into this book, but once I did it was hard to put it down. Graceling combines a strong female main charecter, who has extraordinary talents, with a good, old-fashioned adventure story that has great hero's and villians and even a Princess who needs rescuing. Cashore has a follow-up book out (which I'm reading now) Fire, which is not a sequel, but a companion book/prequel. She also has another book in the works that will revisit some of my favorite charecters from Graceling.


If you had the power to kill with your bare hands, what would you do with it?
Graceling takes readers inside the world of Katsa, a warrior-girl in her late teens with one blue eye and one green eye. This gives her haunting beauty, but also marks her as a Graceling. Gracelings are beings with special talents—swimming, storytelling, dancing. Katsa's Grace is considered more useful: her ability to fight (and kill, if she wanted to) is unequaled in the seven kingdoms. Forced to act as a henchman for a manipulative king, Katsa channels her guilt by forming a secret council of like-minded citizens who carry out secret missions to promote justice over cruelty and abuses of power.
Combining elements of fantasy and romance, Cashore skillfully portrays the confusion, discovery, and angst that smart, strong-willed girls experience as they creep toward adulthood. Katsa wrestles with questions of freedom, truth, and knowing when to rely on a friend for help. This is no small task for an angry girl who had eschewed friendships (with the exception of one cousin that she trusts) for her more ready skills of self-reliance, hunting, and fighting. Katsa also comes to know the real power of her Grace and the nature of Graces in general: they are not always what they appear to be.
Graceling is the first book in a series, and Kristin Cashore’s first work of fiction. It sets up a vivid world with engaging characters that readers will certainly look forward to following beyond the last chapter of this book. (Ages 14 and up)

I'd recommend this book for readers who enjoyed Maria V. Snyder's Study Series or other books that focus on a strong female lead.

1 comment:

  1. I LOVED this book! I love that Katsa is so powerful and flawed. I loved watching her develop a self esteem and realize what her true grace was.

    I adore Po! He is just perfect *sigh*