“Lady Katsa, is it?”
“Yes, Lord Prince.”
“I’ve heard you have one eye green as the Middluns grasses, and the other eye blue as the sky.”
“Yes, Lord Prince.”
“I’ve heard you can kill a man with the nail of your smallest finger.”
She smiled. “Yes, Lord Prince.”
“Does it make it easier?”
“I don’t understand you.”
“To have beautiful eyes. Does it lighten the burden of your Grace, to know you have beautiful eyes?”
Series: Graveling Realm, #1
Author: Kristin Cashore
Published: October 1, 2008
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…
(This summary was from Goodreads)
WARNING: THERE ARE SPOILERS BEYOND THIS POINT. PROCEED WITH CAUTION.
I got this book as a Christmas/I’m-forcing-you-to-read-this gift from a good friend of mine. Everytime we talked about books, she would tell me to read Graceling, and I never did. It’s not because I didn’t want to. It was because I had so many other books I needed to read that it completely flew past my mind.
She got me the book so that I would have no choice but to read it, and honestly, I’m glad she did. I was in need of a light fantasy book, because at the time, I read some pretty heavy, dense fantasy books (cough cough The Well of Ascension), and was getting sick of it.
Anyway, onto the review.
I like to believe that there are there levels to the young-adult genre. There is the just-getting-out-of-the-middle-grade-genre level, the “teen” level, and the I’m-dipping-my-toe-into-the-new-adult-genre-but-not-quite-there level. This book fits in the first level.
The thing I like about Katsa, the main character, is that she’s not the typical, oh-woe-is-me kind of protagonist I’ve been seeing a lot in young-adult books. She’s more of the tough soldier in the court that secretly helps the citizens despite the king’s orders. She’s hilarious because she’s clueless about big emotions. If you watch The Big Bang Theory television show, she’s sort of like Sheldon, but in a badass way.
I was overwhelmed in the beginning of the book because of all the separate kingdoms and their rulers. There was literally about two pages in the beginning of the book over who is ruling what land and why this person hates that person, etc. etc. I had to close the book for a moment to digest all the information. While reading the story, I understood the relationships between the kingdoms and rulers a bit more.
Let’s talk about Katsa and Po’s relationship. I love Po. He’s hilarious and self-deprecating. Both of them are skilled fighters, and what Po says during and after their training sessions always cracks me up. He’s a bright ray of sunshine in Katsa’s heart.
There’s also Giddon. He’s one of those characters that is in love with the protagonist for a long time and only decides to admit it to them when they start to fall in love with another person. And he’s persistent! No means no! BUT HE DOESN’T GET IT. I think he’s just in denial.
And then there’s Raffin. He’s also a bright ray of sunshine in Katsa’s heart, but in a more brotherly-sisterly way. They’re cousins, and his father is actually the king.
Katsa’s uncle is making her do all his dirty work. Talk about family relationship issues.
But their relationship isn’t the worst one in the story, unfortunately. There’s King Leck, his wife, and his child. King Leck’s Grace is complicated to explain, but every time he says something, the people around him believe it to be true, no matter how the facts around them scream otherwise.
Ya get it? No? I’m sorry, but there’s seriously no easy way to explain it.
But anyways, because King Leck wants power and yada yada typical villian stuff, he murders his wife and attempts to do the same to his child, Bitterblue. Thankfully, Katsa and Po saved her, but a roll of events happen and the trio has to leave Po to heal in a cave. That part was scary. I thought he was going to die. In the state that he was, I was surprised he was in pretty good condition when Katsa went back to go get him.
Speaking of which, I hope that Po get’s his eyesight back. Although his Grace allows him to sense the world without needing to see it, that doesn’t stop me from hoping that he gets his sight back in the upcoming books.
Overall, I give this book a 4/5 BBC Sherlock character faces. If you want a light fantasy to read, I would check this one out.
Until next time….