Author: Kristin Cashore
Type: YA Fantasy
Release Date: October 1st 2008
Katsa is a young girl with a very particular ability: she can kill any man, in any way she chooses. It’s her Grace, and it is also what ties her to her uncle, King Randa of the Middluns.
In a land of seven kingdoms, where the Graced live under the rule of their kings, Katsa feels like nothing but a pawn for her greedy, power-hungry uncle. He uses her ability to get what he wants from people who have disobeyed him- everyone knows of the blue eyed/green eyed Lady Killer from the Middluns.
Tired of doing only what her uncle requires of her and her Grace, Katsa creates something called the Council, a secret group of people who risk their lives by taking on cases and saving others. On such a mission, Katsa meets a Graced fighter from Liednid, and together they begin an epic journey to uncover the secrets that have plagued the seven kingdoms for many decades.
A story about love, adventure, risk, life, and death- Graceling is more than your average YA fantasy novel. Cashore has created a new world that is beautifully written and inescapable until you finish the book!
The Review (in which I gush about the best book ever. SERIOUSLY)
I don’t even know where to start with this review. It was one of those stories that got me from the first few chapters, and followed me around for three straight days while I read in every spare moment I had. Despite the war and the scary situation of these seven kingdoms, I found myself wanting to LIVE there. I wanted to experience what it meant to have a ‘Grace’ and I wanted to go on an awesome epic adventure to save the world.
Cashore has such a way with words, it’s unbelievable. Her descriptions are vivid and beautiful, and the world she created with the Seven Kingdoms is enchanting and beyond realistic. I love when fantasy writers convince me of their writing as if it could truly exist.
The characters she creates are so well developed and so truly believable. I know many people have issues with Katsa as a character, but I couldn’t have loved her more. There was a point in the story where I was so genuinely invested in her survival and it was at risk, that I began to cry. I’m not even kidding. The only other time this has happened in a fictional story is in Time Traveller’s Wife & Harry Potter. Prince Po is equally as well written, and his Grace is like the better, more wonderful version of how all your favorite male characters tend to act in fantasy stories (you know, the whole “I can feel you even when you’re not near” thing that comes off as super cheesy in just about every book? THIS ONE PULLS IT OFF)
All of the secondary characters are equally as well written. I was so genuinely SCARED of King Leck (the bad guy) and I loved how Cashore developed his story. Bitterblue was a wonderful addition to the novel & I can’t wait to read her book (the third in the trilogy). I could keep naming all the characters, but seriously just go and READ about them and you’ll see what I’m saying.
Overall, one of the most compelling, beautifully written, captivating YA fantasy novels I have ever read. I immediately went out and purchased the next two in the series, and will be devouring them in the very near future. Even if fantasy isn’t exactly your style, I still think it’s worth trying. Cashore doesn’t complicate the storyline- it is actually so well developed that I think anyone who has never tried reading in this genre would find a way to fall in love with it through Graceling.
Rating: 5 out of 5 Stars (I’d give it more if I could!)