by Kristin Cashore
Series: Graceling Realm (#1)
Publisher: Gollancz (UK edition)
Available as of January 22, 2009
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In a world where people born with an exceptional skill, known as a Grace, are both feared and exploited, Katsa carries the burden of a skill even she despises: the Grace of killing.
Feared by the court and shunned by those her own age, the darkness of her Grace casts a heavy shadow over Katsa’s life. Yet she remains defiant: when the King of Lienid’s father is kidnapped she investigates, and stumbles across a mystery. Who would want to kidnap the old man, and why? And who was the extraordinary Graced man whose fighting abilities rivalled her own?
The only thing Katsa is sure of is that she no longer wants to kill. The intrigue around this kidnapping offers her a way out – but little does she realise, when she takes it, that something insidious and dark lurks behind the mystery. Something spreading from the shadowy figure of a one-eyed king...
For so long I wanted to read Graceling, but I worried about whether I'd enjoy it as much as I'd hoped. After reading a ton of reviews, some positive, some negative, my curiosity won out. Kristin Cashore had me on the edge of my seat for all 370 pages.
Born with the Grace of death, Katsa is feared by many, shunned by her peers, and used by one, her uncle, the king. After rescuing the father of the king of Lienid, she comes to realize that she doesn't want to do her uncles bidding, to cause pain to those who don't deserve it. What will it take to free herself of him and where will her actions leave her?
Wow times ten! I was skeptical upon ordering Graceling, but it was an adventure that was riveting fast paced, and something to lose yourself in. Katsa was an unexpected heroine. She never wanted to marry or have kinds, she wasn't boy crazy and most of all, she was strong, courageous and determined. She did the unexpected or the unthinkable and she found her true self along the way. I frequently found myself surprised by twists in the plot. This had a big impact on my inability to put it down when I was tired or needed to do homework. It was captivating.
Overall, Graceling is one of the best fantasy stories I've read and I will be ordering Fire soon. I highly recommend giving Graceling a shot if you haven't already.
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