Author: Kristin Cashore
Release Date: 10/01/08
We know grace to be defined as beauty of movement and poise—or mercy, depending on how you use it. But in Katsa’s world, Grace is having an enhanced ability. Katsa is a Graceling, and like all Gracelings, she was born that way. But her Grace isn’t excellent swimming or extreme strength; she has the ability to kill, faster and better than anyone she knows. And unlucky for her, her uncle happens to be the king, so she is forced to work for him, dishing out his threats and punishments.
Then she meets Po, who is also Graced (in fighting), and she just might have met her match. But as their friendship develops, and she starts to learn more about herself and her Grace, secrets that she never could have fathomed become revealed, changing her life forever.
This book was fantastic, plain and simple. It had so many of the elements I like in a good story: Strong characters, interesting plot, great action and adventure, and some sexual tension to spice up the mix. It had the feel of traditional, epic fantasy, but without being bogged down by the technical logistics that usually occur naturally when creating new worlds. This book focused more on the characters, throwing in lots of development with nice punches of action to keep the story moving and interesting.
Katsa is a great female protagonist. She is as far from weak-willed as you can get—for example, the whole book she fights hard against being married, because it would result in the loss of her freedom. And this sets the tone of the whole book. Katsa is struggling to understand the depth of her Grace and what it means, fighting against being put into the mold of wife and woman, dreading being the king’s bully, and trying to understand her relationship with Po. And though, to me, it was blaringly obvious from the very first moment that Po appeared on the scene that he was going to be the love interest, it develops in an unexpected way. Plus, Katsa is completely clueless, so it’s fun to make that journey with her.
This book was a pleasure to read, and I’d recommend it to anyone who enjoys fantasy, interesting characters, and strong female leads. And, seriously, who doesn’t love a chick that kicks butt?
Reviewed by: Lauren Z.