February 27, 2015
Graceling by Kristin Cashore
by Kristin Cashore
I’m not sure how I missed this one when it came out but in a way that’s good news. If you love this book as much as I do, you’re going to want to read more and there are two companion books, Fire and Bitterblue, already available.
Katsa is a girl with a past. At sixteen, she’s feared across the Seven Kingdoms because she is graced. The graced are easy to recognize since they all have eyes of two colors. Katsa has one blue eye and one green. What isn’t obvious at a glance is the nature of a person’s grace. That said, everyone knows what the Lady Assassin can do. Since she was 8 years-old, she’s been able to kill a man with a single blow.
Katsa’s a girl with a past. What she isn’t sure about is her future. She tired of being the heavy for her uncle the king. It would be one thing if the people she went after for her were truly bad, but most often they are simply greedy or refuse to give him something he wants.
The Council may be her way out. Or at least her way to sanity. She and a group of friends have been using the king’s own spies to uncover injustice and set things right. They have to work quietly but Katsa likes to believe she is making a difference.
Then on a nighttime mission she meets a young man. Like her, his eyes are two colors — one silver, one gold. But the strange thing is that he doesn’t fear her. Almost everyone fears her and she isn’t sure what to make of this especially since he stands between her and the exit. Only later does she discover that he is a prince, that his people don’t fear the graced, and that their mission is one and the same.
I absolutely refuse to tell you anything more about the plot because to do so would mean giving something away and Cashore does a marvelous job of revealing information bit by bit. That said, you won’t feel cheated because the characters are also in the dark, living in a world of secrets and misunderstanding. Suffice it to say that throughout the course of the book, Katsa learns about herself including the nature of her long-misunderstood grace.
If you have a young reader on your hands who loves fantasy, consider this book. It is young adult and deals with mature themes. There is violence, but the worst of it occurs off scene and it isn’t treated lightly. There is also a very strong romantic element to the plot and there is on-scene sex, subtley and sensitively written.
This novel is complex and layered. The characters are wonderfully drawn and just as complex as the plot. Add this to your fantasy reading list today.