Sunday, October 3, 2010

Graceling by Kristin Cashore

Title: Graceling
Author: Kristin Cashore
Publication Date: September 7th 2009
Hardcover, 471 pages

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, and in her case horrifying, 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. - Summary from

Kristin Cashore is the master of combining fantasy, adventure, romance, and a thick page-turning plot into one book. Every part of this story was enticing, and there were little to no parts I had issues with. Every character is strongly developed and has a voice vital to the overall story.

In the beginning, Katsa, the main character, is working for her uncle, King Randa, as a form of a threatener who forces kings from other kingdoms to do what Randa pleases. Katsa has a Graceling, a special power she was born with that allows her to excel in a particular subject in life. It is believed that she has the Grace of killing, and that gives Katsa the power to kill or hurt someone with the slightest ease. Because of this Grace, her uncle basically "tools" on her and forces her to go to other kingdoms and do his bidding. And the worst part is that Katsa goes along with it. It is not until Prince Po enters her life that he makes her change her view of herself.

The plot itself is well written and very thorough. It definitely would have kept the story a page turner had it not involved Katsa and Po's romance. (Even though that was a very big part!) It is not a simple plot, but easy to understand and definitely unpredictable at multiple points. Katsa and Po are to travel and find King Leck, the ruler of Murgon for suspicion that he had captured Prince Tealiff. That adventure turnes out to be more than just a simple mission, for there are three branches off of the objective. One task they are to do is to rescue Bitterblue from the wrath of her father, King Leck who is this-close to mistreating her. The second is unexpected to the Po and Katsa (however completely expected to the reader), that being the romance between them. And the last and perhaps most important to the plot is to kill King Leck. Leck has a extremely powerful Grace that I will not mention so I do not spoil anything.

My favorite part of Graceling was the connection with Katsa and Po. None of it was rushed, mainly because of Katsa's personality, and how she refuses to ever marry or have children. However, Po manages to bring her strong walls down with wit and charm, and also the power of knowing exactly what to say at the right moment. (which I am pointing out because I seem to never be able to do that..) On their journey to find King Leck, Katsa soon realizes that the friendship she thinks she has with Po is in truth, much more. Their romance is perfect because it is not overdone, however there it is just the perfect amount so that it doesn't leave you satisfied.

Now, the ENDING. Just when you think all is well, there is a HUGE twist in the story that leaves me shocked and mad. But not in the mad this-book-stinks way. Mad in the sense that just makes me love the book more. It is brilliant and heartbreaking at the same time. It makes me connect with each character to a deeper level, and adding to the intensity of the story. Graceling is a fantastic book that will leave your heart fluttering and your reading hunger satisfied.

4.5 Beasts


Anonymous said...

Great review! I've been wanting to read Graceling for a long time, so I'm glad to hear it's good!

La Coccinelle said...

One more for the TBR pile, I suppose. :) Thanks for the review!

angelatarantula said...

thanks! You won't be disappointed. I haven't read a book as good as Graceling for a long time.

Rowena said...

Loved this book! I thought it was completely well written and I was sad when I finished it. I adored both Katsa and Po and seriously? I want more.

I totally agree with everything you said in this review. It was great stuff!

angelatarantula said...

thanks Rowena! I think everyone wanted more ;)

Anne Bennett said...

Didn't you just love Graceling? I'm shocked how much I liked it. Have you read Fire, yet? I think I liked it even more, if that is possible because they are similar yet dissimilar.

I popped by on the Follow Friday, so I am now a new follower.

Katie said...

Great review! I'm adding this to my TBR pile. Po sounds completely dreamy and I think I'll like how their relationship isn't rush.
(I love your grading system! Beasts, so awesome!)

Anonymous said...

Hi, I found this blog through another blog. I have really been undecided whether to read this book but now it is definitely going on the TBR pile =D Great review.!!

I recently made my own blog, I hope you take a look, I am not sure how to get it out there but leaving this on comment seemed like a good idea, hope its not a bother :)

Jess :)