“Graceling” by Kristin Cashore (2008)
Genre: YA, Fiction, Fantasy
Page Length: 471 pages (hardcover edition)
Katsa has been able to kill a man with her bare hands since she was eight – she’s a Graceling, one of the rare people in her land born with an extreme skill. As niece of the king, she should be able to live a life of privilege, but Graced as she is with killing, she is forced to work as the king’s thug.
When she first meets Prince Po, Graced with combat skills, Katsa has no hint of how her life is about to change.
She never expects to become Po’s friend.
She never expects to learn a new truth about her own Grace – or about a terrible secret that lies hidden far away… (description from Goodreads)
So a friend lent this book to me a couple of years ago, and I finally decided to read it! (Sorry for holding your book hostage for so long!) Graceling has an intriguing plot and a medieval feel. As I read it I felt like it was almost a mini version of “Game of Thrones”. Katsa, is our strong female protagonist who is graced with the skill of killing. The book definitely has strong feminist themes as Katsa is mostly reliant on herself and doesn’t want to be dependent on men. She also is anti-marriage and kids, which surprised me coming from a YA novel. I thought these themes mixed with a confident protagonist were refreshing to see in YA fantasy. I’ve read a lot of lovey-dovey YA novels, so this book was a good change of pace.
I really admired the detail and time Cashore took into creating the world, lands, and characters that we encounter as readers. Her plot is not only interesting, but is very in-depth. I also liked the idea of “graces”(the powers that certain people are born with) and the conflict within the entire story of whether a “grace” is a blessing or a curse.
Must read for fans of the fantasy genre! 5 out of 5 stars!