If you are searching for a book that will excite, terrify and possibly stop your heart, then holy crap-on-toast LOOK NO FURTHER than Graceling by Kristin Cashore. Until recently I never even knew that this book existed, but when a friend recommended it I realised that my all-time favourite book Fire (also by Kristin Cashore) is actually the sequel to this one! The totally awesome thing is that even though Graceling comes before Fire, you can read them in any order and they will make sense, because both novels are set in different worlds with different plots and not many connections―although I did experience some ooooooh right moments whilst reading.
Quick summary: Graceling is set in a world where some people are born with a special skill, known as a Grace. These can include being exceptionally good at singing, or hunting, or running really fast or carving or mind-reading, or…you get the picture. Unfortunately for Katsa, her Grace is a little more intimidating―she has the Grace of killing. The people of the seven kingdoms already fear the Gracelings, but Katsa’s talent for snapping necks and ending a life with her hands tied behind her back exclude her even more from society. Her only family is King Randa, her uncle, but he has turned her into his personal weapon, and she kills at his beck and call for fear of him enacting punishment on those that she loves. She is a monster in the eyes of all.
When a father of another kingdom’s king is kidnapped, Katsa investigates, and on her travels she encounters a remarkable man―the only man she has met whose abilities rival her own.
And…that’s all I’m giving away!
I know I usually start with cons of the book, but really there aren’t any to write about. Graceling is beautifully written and will keep you up all hours of the night trying to finish it. The plot will pull you in and not let go until you reach the end, which is exactly the kind of book that we all LOVE! You really bond with the characters, and the romance is simply incredible, because really, what’s a story without a jaw-dropping male lead and a few shirtless scenes? I find that the character of Katsa fits in perfectly with the strong female characters that dominate young adult fiction now, and a lot of readers will form a solid connection to all the characters.
Final verdict: READ IT. Buy it, put it on your shelf, give it to friends, re-read it and then sell it on the black market for a million dollars. Kristin Cashore has hit the nail on the head with action, romance and drama so…don’t argue with me, just read it.
Feel free to comment or mention any books you’d like me to read and review. Keep an eye out for my review on Graceling’s sequel, Fire, which will be going up next week!