Thursday, June 3, 2010

Graceling by Kristin Cashore

Graceling (The Seven Kingdoms Trilogy, #1)
In my quest to read all the books on the Texas Lone Star list this summer, I decided to start with Kristin Cashore's Graceling. It's a fantasy, which is one of my favorite genres, AND I've heard lots and lots of good things about this book.

Katsa's a graceling, which means she's extraordinary skillful in one area. For some gracelings, it means being a fantastic cook or a talented athlete, but Katsa's happens to be killing. She's an enforcer for her uncle, the King of the Middlins, and carries out his orders of punishment for those that get on his bad side. Most people have been afraid of Katsa, since she accidentally killed one of her cousins who threatened her when she was eight years old. Her only friends are her cousin, Prince Raffin, Oll, the captain of the guard, and Giddon, a Lord of the court. With these friends, Katsa forms The Council, and they secretly work to right the injustices they see in the Middluns and elsewhere.

One night, while carrying out a mission for The Council, Katsa comes across another Graceling, and the first person that could match her in battle. Katsa is fated to encounter this other Graceling again, when he arrives at King Ratsa's court. He is Prince Po, son of the Lienid king. After Katsa defies her uncle and leaves the court, she and Po journey together, rescue a young princess, and become friends which soon leads to something more.

Graceling entices the reader with intriguing characters, non-stop action, and a compelling story. It only took a few pages for the story to engage my interest, and I didn't want the story to end. I was slightly disappointed with Katsa's unwavering decision to never marry, and how the other characters seemed to accept it with hardly a protest. I understood her decision logically, but my emotional side wasn't quite so willing to accept it. That's so minor though, for an otherwise exciting and satisfying read.

I give it a B+.

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