Kristin Cashore’s bestselling, award-winning fantasy Graceling tells the story of the vulnerable-yet-strong Katsa, a smart, beautiful teenager who lives in a world where selected people are given a Grace, a special talent that can be anything from dancing to swimming. Katsa’s is killing. As the king’s niece, she is forced to use her extreme skills as his thug. Along the way, Katsa must learn to decipher the true nature of her Grace… and how to put it to good use. A thrilling, action-packed fantasy adventure (and steamy romance!) that will resonate deeply with adolescents trying to find their way in the world.
I picked this up by chance at a local game shop’s sale table. This book is deceptively deep and introspective. Everyone, graced or not, has things they are good at and things they could work to get better at, and Katsa was never given the chance to think that, or even consider herself beyond the label that was given to her. The relationships are real, and Katsa is very much the type of girl you’d expect if only allowed one thing and never taught about the more beyond killing. Though some reviews say she is a Mary Sue, I would argue that having a lot of mental anguish and uncertainty in one’s
self is just as much, if not more, of a hinderance than many other typical problems presented. There are some that would argue that Katsa’s take on marriage suggests the wrong things to the audience, but I would say that they need to consider the time period in the book more thoroughly, as well as the implications that a wife was only meant to stay home, produce heirs, manage the estate, and see to visitors. That was never going to be Katsa. There were a few instances and suggestions in the book that really made me personally feel it was more New Adult than Young Adult. I found the ending frustrating, unexpected, but ultimately uplifting that Katsa remains true to herself.
Star rating: ✯✯✯✯
Unrelated to plot gripe: My main issue is that this book had many spots where it seemed that the ink in the printing press ran out, and you had to guess what some spots would say, usually just a word or two, but that can really jar you from a book, yet it was a good book nonetheless. I hope that others do not experience this and get turned off from the book because of that.