Graceling by Kristen Cashore

9 07 2012

Graceling (Graceling Realm, #1)

I’ve found myself having more of an interest in fantasy lately. While I have always loved, and still love, contemporary ya fiction, I’ve tried to expand my horizons a bit and read more genres. I’ve found that fantasy and mystery are my new favorite genres. While I was looking for recommendations of books, plenty of people piped in that Graceling was one of their favorite fantasy books. So I decided to check out the book.

Katsa is Graced. She has the power to kill a man in one slice and is a fantastic warrior. She lives in the kingdom of her uncle Randa, working as an assassin and killing those that Randa disapproves of. Though she stays busy, her life is mainly lonely. She has a few friends, the two men who travel with her, but otherwise everyone at court avoids her. See, she killed a man with her bare touch as a child, and since then everyone has ignored her, afraid. While on one of her missions, Katsa rescues a mysterious man who has been kidnapped. She has no idea who he is until a boy her age comes to visit the palace. His name is Po, and the man is his grandfather. The two of them decide to go on a journey to figure out just why the grandfather has been kidnapped.

I can definitely see why people list Graceling as one of their favorite fantasy novels. The world building is top-notch, with all of the countries in the world well-developed and given different cultures and societies. Cashore’s writing is beautiful, with a cadence that made me want to read each word slowly to sink it all in. the villain of the story is terrifying, and all the more scary because his power is not obvious – it’s hidden.

The book is not perfect, of course. At times it was hard for me to connect with Katsa. This, mainly, is because the way that her character is written and portrayed. She’s cold and unfeeling, feeling like a loner and wanting to shut everyone else out. And at times, she shuts out the reader, just like she shuts out the people around her.

There is a romance element to the novel, which seemed to move a bit fast. The scene where the two characters realize that they love each other moves quickly. They realize that they love each other, admit it, and immediately begin to declare their love for each other. However I commend Cashore for including a sex scene in the book. The sex isn’t described but it is honest.

I’m glad I finally picked up Graceling, and I’m interested in reading the two sequels, Fire and Bitterblue. If you love fantasy books and are interested in a sweet love story and characters, this would be a good read. People who like books such as Grave Mercy and Plain Kate, or fantasy novels with strong, kickass female narrators, will enjoy this novel.





3 responses

10 07 2012

Have you read Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta? Melina is such an awesome writer that even a fastasy-phobe like me can enjoy it. 🙂

11 07 2012

I have! I love Melina Marchetta’s books 🙂

7 08 2012
Book Review: “Fire” « The Cheap Reader

[…] Graceling by Kristen Cashore ( […]

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