Graceling (Graceling Realm #1)
by Kristin Cashore
PUB: Oct 1st 2008
REVIEW COPY: personal paperback
His eyes, Katsa had never seen such eyes. One was silver, and the other, gold. They glowed in his sun-darkened face, uneven, and strange. She was surprised that they hadn't shone in the darkness of their first meeting. They didn't seem human....
Then he raised his eyebrows a hair, and his mouth shifted into the hint of a smirk. He nodded at her, just barely, and it released her from her spell.
Cocky, she thought. Cocky and arrogant, this one, and that was all there was to make of him. Whatever game he was playing, if he expected her to join him he would be disappointed.
In a world where people born with an extreme skill - called a Grace - are feared and exploited, Katsa carries the burden of the skill even she despises: the Grace of killing. She lives under the command of her uncle Randa, King of the Middluns, and is expected to execute his dirty work, punishing and torturing anyone who displeases him.
When she first meets Prince Po, who is Graces 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.
Graceling is a wonderful surprise. It’s a traditional fantasy that takes place in the Realm of the Seven Kingdoms, where some of the inhabitants are “cursed” with special powers, or graces that give them extra powers beyond the normal. Gracelings, as they are called, can be distinguished by their unique eyes. Each eye is a different colour.
Graceling tells the story of Katsa, a graceling gifted with the power to kill. Katsa accidentally killed a man when she was a small child and since then she has worked for her uncle, one of the seven kings, as an assassin and all around thug.
But there is more to Katsa than it first appears and when she meets Po, a prince from another kingdom who seems to share similar powers, Katsa begins to see new possibilities and a chance to live a life of freedom from her uncle.
I really loved this book. I loved both Katsa and Po and their relationship. Katsa is stronger than Po and he’s fine with that. It’s always nice to read a book where a female character is allowed to be strong and to desire freedom. Katsa’s independence strengthens the story.
If you’re looking for a well written fantasy with an interesting plot and great characters look no further.