Graceling by Kristin Cashore
Released: July 29, 2009
Format: Trade Paperback
Graceling is set in a world where some people are Graced – possessing an extraordinary ability of some sort. Some people are Graced with cooking, some with swimming. Our protagonist Katsa is Graced with something a little less innocuous – killing. Because of this, her uncle, the king of her land, uses her as his enforcer. When she meets Princo Po, a man from another kingdom Graced with fighting, she doesn’t know just how much this encounter will change her life. Graceling is the story of how Katsa comes into her own, developing a new understanding of her Grace and becoming her own person.
This is Kristin Cashore‘s debut novel and I really loved it. It’s an easy read since it’s geared towards teens but it doesn’t have any of the dumbing down you can sometimes find in young adult stories. There’s action, adventure, peril and romance but it all flows really well within the narrative. The supporting characters are great, particularly Raffin and Helda, and the villain of the piece is interesting (and a moral lesson but that’s neither here nor there in my mind).
There’s another book out right now by this author called Fire, which is something of a prequel to Graceling. It doesn’t sound nearly as interesting but I may check it out. What I’m really excited for is Bitterblue, Cashore’s third novel, since it involves characters from Graceling.