The graced ones are marked by their eyes, the left and the right eye has one color each. Katsa is a graceling, her grace is killing and for that she has been used by the king, her uncle, almost her entire life. Ever since she was a little girl she has been trained to fight and has had to do king Randa's bidding. Katsa is the king’s finest weapon. Almost everyone in the kingdom is afraid of Katsa.
Without the king's knowledge Katsa has started a secret council, a council that does missions in the name of the good. One day Katsa rescues a kidnapped Lienid, a mission that change her life for ever and give her the courage to stand up to the king.
I’m sure most of you have read excellent reviews of Graceling before so I’ll try to keep mine short(edit: It looks like I need to rehearse on my skill to write short reviews). To think Graceling was Kristin Cashore's debut novel is just unfathomable to me, it is such a great fantasy adventure story. Somehow I believed there would be some magic in this story but there isn’t, and I didn’t miss it at all, the novel does very well without.
At first I was really hung up on one thing, stupid of me really, and that was the fact that Katsa’s name was so much like Suzanne Collins Katniss(in The Hunger Games trilogy). As I started getting more and more into the story I luckily forgot all about that.
Katsa is such a great character, she is strong yet she is very vulnerable. Throughout the novel Katsa slowly changes into a more confident person, it feels very real considering how her life has been like. Cashore has also created a set of wonderful supporting characters for the reader to fall in love with. To name a few we have Katsa’s cousin, Prince Raffin, who loves to experiment by making all kinds of medicine, then we have the graceling fighter from the kingdom of Lienid, Prince Po and the intelligent Princess Bitterblue who had to grow up way before her time.
The romance in this novel is so sweet and feels true, Katsa doesn't fall in love within five minutes of meeting the guy. The relationship develops over a bit of time and the boy she falls for is kind and gentle. No bad boy, at least not in this first book.
The girl on the cover definitely looks though enough to be Katsa but I do feel that is a little to dark.
My rating of this book:
4 stars out of 5
Want a second opinion? Check out these reviews written by some of my book blogging friends:
The Modpodge Bookshelf
My favourite books
The Neverending Shelf
The Book Nerd Club
Confessions of A Book Addict
Book Girl of Mur-y-Castell
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Graceling by Kristin Cashore
Published: October 2008
Publisher(my UK copy): Gollancz
ISBN: 015206396X (ISBN13: 9780152063962)
Full disclosure: Purchased
This book can be purchased from a number of local retailers and on-line book stores such as Amazon or The Book Depository (I'm not an affiliate of either). The latter store does by the way have free shipping to about 100 countries.