Monday, January 21, 2013

GRACELING

Graceling (Graceling Realm, #1)Book Review:  Graceling

Author:  Kristin Cashore
Published:  2008
Series:  Graceling Realm #1

I swear I've read Graceling. All I remember is characters graced with a certain ability.  Sad huh? I'd bet my supply of chocolate that I loved it... But it's just a hunch.  And now there are sequels out that are calling name.  So I buckled down and read Graceling...and I don't read books a second time so my hunch better be right!

The Setting
Katsa's awkward eye color is only the start of what sets her apart from others in the  seven kingdoms.  Ones gifted with two different eye colors are said to be "graced", meaning they have a special talent or ability.  No two graces are the same and some are valued higher than others.  Katsa is graced with killing, or so she thinks.  Forced to serve a corrupt king, Katsa is commissioned to carry out ruthless justice for King Randa.  
Determined to use her grace for good Katsa starts The Council along with a few friends and the King's son.  Using the council to rescue those truly in need, one of Katsa's missions is to rescue a Prince Tealiff and it is during this mission she first meets Po, a Graceling like herself.  Once Prince Tealiff is safe, Katsa and the council (including Po) start to question the reasoning behind the kidnapping.  It is during this time Katsa starts to question her loyalty to the king and her relationship with Po.  Determined to free herself from the King's grasp, Katsa sets off on a journey with Po to inquire about a suspicious faraway King and his daughter who happens to be Po's niece.  But what awaits at the kingdom of the suspicious King?  Is anyone in the seven kingdoms safe from his power?  And what does her relationship with Po mean to her?

What I LIKED about this book
By all accounts this book and plot is a true fantasy read.  However Cashore weaves this story and the characters into something more, leaving you chasing the pages and shocked at the twists and turns.  And some of the twists are heart breaking and definitely unexpected.  I loved Po and Katsa.  They weren't needy or cheesy in their relationship with each other.  And no real love triangles!  I enjoyed the magical aspects of this book.  With so many X-Men knock off books these days it's refreshing to have powers or graces that are different and infinite and the possibility to change.

What I DISLIKED about this book
I kind of disliked how Katsa defeated the bad guy in the end.  A certain technicality on how she broke her "trance".  That's all I can really say about that without giving too much away.

Parting Thoughts
Overall I'm going to award Graceling 5 out of 5 stars.  A must read especially for fantasy lovers.  I think I should mention that there is some "adult" material in Graceling.  Some heavy kissing and implied relations because of it.  I have to read Fire, the second book in the series.  I hope to read this soon because I need more "graces" in my life!  Haha!  I am so cheesy...

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