Yes, probably every single one of you has already read this wondrous novel by Kristin Cashore, and yes, it has been sitting on my bookshelves for quite some time now, just waiting to be picked up and that cover cracked. Unfortunately, sometimes, I know a book is going to be fantastic, so I'll wait and wait, making the book last a bit longer, for lack of a better way of stating my quirk. Basically I let them sit and collect dust until I just can't take it anymore. And I'm sure I'm not the only one who does that!
Anywho, Graceling was fanstastic, as you all told me through your blogs that it would be, and now I am one of the many, eagerly anticipating the sequel. Can't wait in fact!
Katsa, a beautiful young woman with one green eye and one blue, was born a Graceling, having been given a special ability that has made her into her Uncle's bounty hunter. Katsa was Graced with the ability to fight and kill, never wanting to use her talent for evil, however her Uncle is King and wants her to to his dirty work for him, sending her on killing missions to other kingdoms.
Filled with constant feelings of guilt for the wrong she has committed again and again, Katsa is overtaken with anger and hurt all of the time, not wanting to ever marry or have children, only wanting to continue her warrior life, if not for a better cause.
After meeting Po, a young man also Graced with an ability, Katsa begins to believe that she may not have to fight and kill for her Uncle, if she only would learn to stand up for herself. She forms a secret council, with the mindset that she will right the wrongs she has done in her past. She and Po leave her castle behind and set out on a treacherous journey, being forced to keep each other alive throughout their journey, and fall just a tad bit in love as well.
Part wonderful thriller, part romance, Graceling follows these original and thoroughly realistic characters on a path filled with danger and constant mystery. The fantasy portion comes through as reality, a rarity, and the amazing descriptions Cashore gives will draw the reader in with every page.
It is marketed to the 14 and up age range and I would definitely stick with that recommendation. Some strong sexual connotations are included, as is quite a bit of violence. Definitely a must for all libraries!
I read this for the 2009 YA Challenge.
To Learn more or to purchase, click on the book cover above to link to Amazon.