Story SynopsisKristin Cashore’s best-selling, award-winning fantasy Graceling tells the story of the vulnerable yet strong Katsa, a smart, beautiful teenager who lives in a world where selected people are given a Grace, a special talent that can be anything from dancing to swimming. Katsa’s is killing. As the king’s niece, she is forced to use her extreme skills as his thug. Along the way, Katsa must learn to decipher the true nature of her Grace . . . and how to put it to good use. A thrilling, action-packed fantasy adventure (and steamy romance!) that will resonate deeply with adolescents trying to find their way in the world. (from Amazon.com)
My ReviewWhen it comes to books, there are few things I like more than a girl who kicks butt. Double bonus points if she's smart and/or funny as well. Arya from A Song of Ice and Fire. Katniss from The Hunger Games. Trillian from The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy, because butt-kicking doesn't have to be physical; intellectual prowess can whallop butts as well. So it should be no surprise that I'm a fan of Katsa, the butt-destroying heroine in Kristin Cashore's gripping book, Graceling.
At times it's predictable, and at times the troughs between the peaks are a bit too wide and deep, but this is one of those situations where I just don't care. I liked the characters far too much to bother with the book's minor weaknesses. I've already gushed about the awesomeness that is Katsa - watching her develop over the course of the book was, for me, the prime reason to read through 500 pages. Oh, and the romance. Did I mention the romance? This book has a really good romance. But it has balance between romance and action, and I like that. There's a lot more going on than smouldering eyes. It's got good world-building, too. I love it when a fantasy world is written with enough depth and detail that it feels like a possible reality.
Graceling has spawned a companion novel and a sequel, both of which have skyrocketed up my way-too-long, never-to-be-cleared reading list. Kristin Cashore is one of those authors where, as soon as I finish one book, my fingers start twitching to grab the next. I can't wait to see where she takes her characters and her world.