Seldom in the realm of young adult fiction are we placed into the mind of a character such as Katsa. Graceling by Kristin Cashore narrates from the point of view of a young lady who struggles with control over her own life. In the world of Graceling, some individuals are born with proficiency in a certain skill, called a Grace. These “Gracelings” have distinctive eyes that identify them. Some are alienated, while others rise to higher positions. Katsa is discovered to have a Grace that isolates her from other people and Gracelings alike: the Grace of killing. She is exploited by her uncle Randa, a king. Unexpectedly, she meets a mystifying Graceling fighter, Prince Greening, or “Po”, who seems to be able to read her like an open book. He becomes one of her first real friends. A mystery arises as to the kidnapping of Po’s grandfather, and they discover a secret that threatens the destruction of all they know.
Graceling was better than I anticipated, seeing as it was the author’s debut novel. I didn’t completely like the writing style in the beginning, but I did get used to it after the first few chapters. The plot and character development, especially the change in Katsa’s personality, became more absorbing as I read on. The twist at the end especially surprised me. Those who enjoy fiction or fantasy would most likely enjoy this book because of its array of colorful characters.
Review by Bear Xiong
"Graceling Cover." Online image. LibraryThing. 17 April 2009 http://www.librarything.com/work/5246849