Monday, August 6, 2012

Review: Graceling

Graceling by Kristin Cashore

The first book of “The Graceling Realm” series, Graceling, is about a young girl named Katsa. In Katsa’s world, some people are born with special skills, called a Grace. These people are recognized by their eyes, which are always two different colors. Katsa, who has distinct green and blue eyes, has a Grace that makes her a useful tool to her uncle, King Randa. She is Graced with killing.   

Katsa does not like her Grace, nor does she like being ordered to torture and kill people by her uncle. At first, she secretly fights back by forming a council that does good around the kingdom. Eventually, she openly defies the king by refusing to torture an innocent man, and leaves the kingdom. Katsa then travels with her friend, Prince Po who is Graced with fighting, to discover and expose the secret of an evil king in a neighboring kingdom and help Po’s young cousin. The two use their Graces to help one another and survive, and soon find out that their Graces are more than they thought

Graceling is told in third person narrative, but only focuses on Katsa’s thoughts and observations. The story is quick to unfold, and there are plenty of fight scenes and character development to keep readers of any taste interested. There are a few awkward parts, such as the love scenes between Katsa and Po, which read as if they were added only for the sake of having love scenes. Also, the violent habits of King Leck are brushed over, and readers never find out what he really does to his victims or why.
Overall, the story about a teen girl who can take care of herself and others in any situation is fun to read. Young girls will like the book for the strong feminine characters and the adventure, and boys will enjoy the detailed fight scenes, and the powers the main characters have. Graceling is great for fantasy fans and adventurers in grades 9-11.

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