Graceling (Graceling #1)
by Kristin Cashore
Summary: 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 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...
Source: I purchased a Kindle copy.
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I've been suffering from a YA fantasy book hangover. I've read such amazing books in the past couple of years. There are still series I've skipped that are amazing, but there are just as many I've bought for Kindle that, while good, aren't as spectacular as I crave. I never know when I pick up a book if it's going to be one that dazzles me or one that is pretty good, but it isn't like best-book-of-the-year.
I'm glad I picked up Graceling because it was awesome and didn't disappoint, despite the fact that my whole I-must-read-an-earth-shattering-book expectation sets me up for disappointment. It was a big tough to get into at first because I wasn't sure where the story was going and if it was doing to take a right turn into YA love triangle and other terrible trope territory. But once I started to get to know Katsa, I was completely enchanted.
Katsa was a great character. She was tough, but felt used by her uncle because of her vicious grace. She felt as if the only thing she was good for was killing and maiming. Because of that, she felt trapped in her way of life, despite serving on a Council secretly that did better things than assassinating people. When she met another Graceling, Po, who seemed to be graced with fighting as well, she met her match. They both served on the Council and wanted to figure out the motivations of a particular kidnapping, which led them to work together and form a friendship.
I loved the world. I liked the idea of the graces and the way they presented themselves. I liked the fact that there were multiple kingdoms, each holding on to their own territory. At first, everything was strange and complicated, but I quickly began to enjoy the book, care about Katsa, her Uncle's son, Po, and other characters along the way. While the relationship between Katsa and Po makes it seem as if the book is a romance set in a fantasy world, there were so many other elements to the story that made it a fantasy novel with a bit of romance instead, which I prefer.
I wish I would have not let this sit unread for so long, but I'm so glad I decided to read it. I highly recommend the book and I can't wait to read more of the series. It appears as if the other books are about different characters in the world (not even just side characters we've already met), I love it when I can enjoy a world without cliffhanger endings, so I'm happy that the next book will show me some fresh faces.
Graceling is definitely a must read.
Labels: Fantasy, Review, YA