Published September 3rd, 2009 by Gollancz
Katsa is a strong, independent woman, who kicks serious butt. She has a strange graceling – a gift – that enables her to kill people very well. Her uncle, King Randa, takes advantage of this, essentially using her as a trained attack dog – someone who travels around and threatens or kills his enemies. Katsa resents this, and has founded a secret council, who’s job it is to undermine and ruin her kings nasty plans.
It is during one of the councils missions to rescue Prince Tealiff – the father of the Lienid KIngdom’s King – that Katsa meets Po, who is also graced, but with fighting (I’ll just tell you now – he is the love interest (and a good one, at that!)). But who kidnapped the elderly prince? and why? Katsa’s council work on unravelling the mystery, while Katsa plans of leaving her Uncle Randa’s court, and his power over her.
So, the gist of a graceling: it’s basically an ability that some people have. It can be anything: fighting, swinging from trees, baking, reading minds, etc. A graced person can be identified by their two different coloured eyes, which settle in months after birth (your baby’s born like any other baby, but watch those eyes – that baby may just turn out to be a graceling soon!). I love this premise, by the way. Kristin Cashore follows through with it fantastically.
There is such beautiful imagery in Graceling. An awesome kings and queens type backdrop. This is a lot of fun to read. I will go one step further and tell you that it’s a delight to read. I don’t think I could fault it if I tried – not that I would want to! The characters are great, the story (which expands and changes from what you gather from the blurb), the setting – everything is great! Listen to me: I’m gushing! See the exclamation marks?!
Wait, I do have one problem, and that lies in the quote on the front cover that mentions Twilight. Ugh. I like Twilight. I love The Hunger Games. But I have an issue with the way that critics always say: ‘read this if you liked [insert name of latest young adult book/series to hit the big time and get a movie deal here]’. I wouldn’t mind it if the two books are actually similar (I recommend books in this way as much as I can), but saying Graceling is for fans of Twilight is a joke, because they are so different. They are literally worlds apart. I suppose that these critics mean well – getting the non readers to read more books by mentioning the books that non readers happen to read (if that makes sense). Generally, I ignore quotes such as these, but it remains a pet peeve of mine.
So check out this amazing, rich, adventurous, fantasy. Especially if you enjoy books like the Narnia series, or P.C. Cast’s Goddess series (particularly the first book, Goddess by MIstake, and the two young adult companions, [who’s titles I seem to have forgotten]). Or if you enjoy fantasy in general, or even if you haven’t dabbled in fantasy much, read it anyway.