Graceling by Kristin Cashore
Hardcover: 480 pages
Publisher: Harcourt Children's Books (October 1, 2008)
If you had the power to kill with your bare hands, what would you do with it?
Graceling takes readers inside the world of Katsa, a warrior-girl in her late teens with one blue eye and one green eye. This gives her haunting beauty, but also marks her as a Graceling. Gracelings are beings with special talents—swimming, storytelling, dancing. Katsa's Grace is considered more useful: her ability to fight (and kill, if she wanted to) is unequaled in the seven kingdoms. Forced to act as a henchman for a manipulative king, Katsa channels her guilt by forming a secret council of like-minded citizens who carry out secret missions to promote justice over cruelty and abuses of power.
Combining elements of fantasy and romance, Cashore skillfully portrays the confusion, discovery, and angst that smart, strong-willed girls experience as they creep toward adulthood. Katsa wrestles with questions of freedom, truth, and knowing when to rely on a friend for help. This is no small task for an angry girl who had eschewed friendships (with the exception of one cousin that she trusts) for her more ready skills of self-reliance, hunting, and fighting. Katsa also comes to know the real power of her Grace and the nature of Graces in general: they are not always what they appear to be.
Oh boy.. ok.. well.. I really enjoyed this book and can't wait for the fall when the next book by Kristin Cashore comes out!
The first few chapters in this book left me wondering if I would really get into it. The book jumped right into action with our protagonist being labeled a killer and not knowing much more about her, I was .. well.. uncertain.
Then.. slowly and unknowingly, I was being drawn into this book.. and by page 80 when Po became an interest to me, I knew it would be a book I would enjoy!
(excerpt: page 80..........)
"Why do you trust me," she said, "when I left you lying on the floor of Murgon's courtyard?"
He rolled over and sat up, groaning. He massaged his shoulder. "Because I woke up. You could've killed me, but you didn't." He touched his cheekbone and winced. "Your face is bleeding." He stretches out his hand to her jaw, but she waved it aside and stood.
"I doesn't matter," she said. "Come with me, Prince Greening."
He heaved himself to his feet. "It's Po."
"My name. It's Po."
Katsa watched him for a moment as he swung his arms and tested out his shoulder joints. He pressed his side and groaned. His eye was swelling, and blackening, she thought, though it was hard to tell in the darkness. His sleeve was torn, and he was covered with dirt, absolutely smeared from hear to foot. She knew she looked the same.. worse, really, with her messy hair and bare feet... but it only made her smile.
"Come with me, Po. she said, " I'll take you to your grandfather."
That was the defining moment when I knew I wanted to know more of Katsa ..and of Po!
I don't want to give a lot away, but I will say this book about as much adventure as you can possibly want... and.. a love story! ..but don't worry, it's nothing like a "romance novel" !!
I really am anxious to read the next book, and although Graceling wraps things up very neatly, I was hoping that the next book, entitled Fire would bring Katsa and Po back again. But upon finding Kristin Cashore's blog I discovered that Fire is a Prequel and indicates that only one character from Graceling is mentioned in the book... however, Fire is still sounding really good!!! And I will continue hoping that she will find a way to continue the story of Katsa and Po!