Author: Kristin Cashore
Age Group: Teen/Young Adult
Series: Graceling, book one
Star Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
The bottom line: Original, beautifully told, and completely absorbing, Graceling was a wonderful find--easily a new favorite--and I cannot wait for the companions, Fire and Bitterblue--absolutely stunning!
Katsa is a Graceling: a wild young woman gifted with the Grace--the supernatural gift--of killing, and is forced to work as her uncle Randa's thug, the muscle behind the King's iron-handed rule. On an originally routine mission, Katsa meets Po, a Graced Prince of a neighboring kingdom, and when she does, she discovers love, controlling her own power, betrayal, and what it means to be truly human.
What I enjoyed:
-The intricate web Cashore weaves as Katsa's world
-Katsa, half girl and half animal, and completely relatable as the compelling protagonist, as she strurggles to find her own independence
-Po, and the way he challenges Katsa to be a weapon for herself and herself alone
-Bitterblue, whose story will be continued in the last companion novel of the same name
-The way Gracelings were integrated into the world's culture
-The beautiful prose
-The complex cast of characters
-How even though it was a high fantasy, it was easy to follow
What I didn't enjoy:
-The culture wasn't explained enough for my taste in spots, but that was all that was wrong--it was wonderful!
I loved this novel. Any fan of high fantasy novels and girl power books should grab this one--it is a complete, sparkling gem, worth keeping, and it deserves the hype that one hears about it. Beautiful! Next on deck: The Masque of the Red Death by Bethany Griffin!