Katsa has been able to kill a man with her bare hands since she was eight—she’s a Graceling, one of the rare people in her land born with an extreme skill. As niece of the king, she should be able to live a life of privilege, but Graced as she is with killing, she is forced to work as the king’s thug.
When she first meets Prince Po, Graced with combat skills, Katsa has no hint of how her life is about to change. She never expects to become Po’s friend. She never expects to learn a new truth about her own Grace—or about a terrible secret that lies hidden far away . . . a secret that could destroy all seven kingdoms with words alone.
- From Goodreads
Title: Graceling (The Seven Kingdoms #1)
Author: Kristin Cashore
Genres: Adventure, Fantasy
“What was the name of the movie where ‘they did that’ and then ‘that’ happened? No, wait. It must have been a TV show! Yeah, that’s right! But what was it called? *Thinks back at all the awesome stuff that happened*” This is what went through my head over and over when I wasn’t busy reading Graceling. Then I remembered it wasn’t a TV show, but a book! And the worst part was that I fell for it all the time! *Facepalm* So yeah, that’s how good Kristin Cashore is as an author. Her writing is so beautifully detailed and filled with images that you start to believe Graceling was something you watched on the television.
Graceling caught my attention already at the first page which has a very thrilling start. The first chapter has a nice balance between action and information, and gives the reader an understanding about how powerful Katsa is with her killing grace. Cashore continues to do this by giving us several epic fighting scenes throughout the book. I especially loved the one where Katsa is all dressed up in a pretty medieval dress, but doesn’t seem to care when it gets muddy and thorn up. And for your information; Katsa is one badass heroine. I’d love to see her fight in one of the Games set in Suzanne Collins Hunger Games trilogy.
I loved all the characters, especially Katsa, Po, Raffin and Bitterblue. All of them added something different to the story which made it more interesting to follow. Katsa had such a wonderful character development! Even though everyone looked at her as something invincible, she still found some physical and emotional challenges she had to overcome. I’m really glad she met Po. He had a very positive effect on Katsa. Oh, how I loved those two together. Also, the development of Po’s grace was really fascinating to read about and it’s obvious that Cashore has put a lot of work into it. I’m glad most of the graces didn’t end up being like the typical powers you see in science fiction movies.
What dragged the book down a little was that there were times where things went a bit too slow, especially when Katsa & co travelled. I understand that a trip through the woods or up in the mountains that lasts for several weeks will fill up a huge amount of pages in the book, but I felt Cashore could have wrapped it all up a bit better by getting to the point faster in some of the conversations. I also felt it was unnecessary to read about what they ate for breakfast and dinner almost every day. You don’t need to be told how to cook a fish more than once to understand it. I was also a little disappointed with the lack of appearance from the villain. The two times we got to see him was so brief I barely noticed he was there before he was gone again, especially at the end. I felt it all resolved a bit too fast and easy.
If you’re into heavy fantasy stories set in the medieval time with a little bit of romance, then Graceling will be perfect for you. I can assure you, Kristin Cashore will not disappoint you.