October 1, 2012

Book review: Graceling by Kristin Cashore

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In a world where people born with an extreme skill - called a Grace - are feared and exploited, Katsa carries the burden of the skill even she despises: the Grace of killing. She lives under the command of her uncle Randa, King of the Middluns, and is expected to execute his dirty work, punishing and torturing anyone who displeases him.

When she first meets Prince Po, who is 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...a secret that could destroy all seven kingdoms with words alone.

Rating: 5 stars (out of 5)

When I first picked up Graceling, I didn't know what to expect. Goodreads recommended the book to me, and I'd read a few glowing reviews, but frankly, the description didn't sound all that interesting.

Well, the reviews were right, and I'm glad I read this novel. After the first few pages, I had trouble putting this book down. The plot became more interesting as I continued reading it and as the author introduced new elements to the world with each passing chapter. The story moved at a pretty good pace that kept me interested.

It took me a while to get into the characters, but once I did, I really liked them. I think that one of the reasons why I didn't take to them right away was because I didn't understand how the graces worked. There were times in the first third of the book where I wondered "Why didn't so-and-so do this?" with his/her grace or "Why didn't so-and-so do this?" to combat a grace. It wasn't until later that I found how how graces in general worked and the graces of the main characters in particular.

I recommend Graceling for all readers. This book is the first in a series, but from the book descriptions of Fire and Bitterblue, it appears that Katsa and Po's story ends here, while the sequels focus on different characters in the same universe. It's a shame because now that I'm fond of the two, I would've liked to read more about them.

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