Graceling by Kristin Cashore

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I wasn’t expecting much when I began reading Graceling, but suffice of to say I was truly blown away. Kristin Cahsore’s imaginative fantasy covers a sweeping epic of seven kingdoms, with seven kings of differing morals, and one woman who’ll affect them all.

The book opens with Lady Katsa of the Middluns and her aides, Lord Giddon and Oll, attempting to free the kidnapped Grandfather Tealiff of Lienid from the clutches of King Murgon of Sunder, who is believed to have been paid for the kidnapping. While fleeing the castle, Katsa is approached by a mysterious man who is able to match her amazing fighting ability, strength, and agility. Katsa is eventually able to leave the man unconscious, but not before she discovers that he too is from Lienid.

Back at the court of her uncle, King Randa of the Middluns, Katsa hides away Grandfather Tealiff until the reason for his kidnapping can be discovered. In the mean time Randa parades Katsa at a royal dinner as his personal assassin, seeing as she is allegedly Graced with killing. Katsa is disgusted with her uncle, and angry that he would use her as his assassin.

Throughout the seven kingdoms, there are many people with enhanced abilities or special powers, such as sword fighting or mind reading. Most call them Gracelings. They can normally be identified by the mismatched colors of their eyes.

While at Randa’s court, Katsa’s fury with her uncle becomes intense, as does her fascination with the handsome Prince Po of Lienid, who Katsa winds up sparring with on occasion. It turns out that Po was the mystery man Katsa knocked out. Also she finds that he is looking for his kidnapped Grandfather, Tealiff.

Katsa’s temper eventually reaches a boiling point, and very nearly winds up killing her uncle. Instead she calms herself and decides to leave Randa’s court permanently. She then goes to travel with Po, who she has since discovered has a Grace that allows him to sense everything around him, sometimes in sharp detail.

The story goes on to chronicle the pair’s travels as they slowly discover who they think is responsible for Grandfather Tealiff’s kidnapping, and eventually act to stop him from abusing his power any further.

The characters as very realistic, from the relationships they form, to the ways that they use their power for either good or evil. Katsa is strong headed and strong willed, though is not incapable of being compassionate. Po is friendly, and easygoing, making friends and constantly smiling and laughing.

Honestly I’ve tried to convey the book as best as possible without revealing too much of the plot or the ending. I would sincerely recommend this book to anyone looking for a fantasy read that contains a splash of reality, though it never really delves to far from the path of imagination.

I rate it 4/5 stars.





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