Sunday, October 17, 2010

Graceling review

by Kristin Cashore

This book
 stars a strong but lonely heroine in a medieval fantasy setting.  People known as "Gracelings" possess mismatched eyes and an unusual skill or "grace" of near supernatural ability.  One might have a grace for baking, or horsemanship, or sewing.  Or, in Katsa's case, a killing grace.  It's hard for Katsa to make friends when everyone around her fears her.  Even without training, she has an eerie knack with any weapon, perfect balance and incredible luck.  Katsa's abilities as a warrior have been put to use by her uncle King Randa, who forces her to use her deadly skill against his enemies. Sick with shame over the way her uncle has forced her to torture his opponents she starts an underground rebel group.

Katsa reminded
me tremendously of Katniss from The Hunger Games Chronicles (and not just because their names both start with "K")  They are both expert hunters, extremely resourceful outdoorswomen, incredible survivors, and both are trying to escape from an uncomfortable political regime.  They both detest the idea of ever getting married and seem to be natural loners.  They are both stubborn and hardheaded.

Things start t
o get interesting when the neighboring kingdom's heir, Po, arrives.  His grace in sword-fighting means that he's the closest to an equal that Katsa has ever met.  Katsa is very slow to realize that she has feelings for Po, and resists their connection, not wanting to be "tied down."  Together they unravel the mystery of who has kidnapped one of the kings of the seven kingdoms and face against their enemy, King Leck, a sadistic tyrant who has the terrifying power to influence people's thoughts according to his own mad whims.

didn't mind that despite how caring and warm Po is, Katsa never does change her mind about marriage or children.  Their relationship continues, but Katsa always keeps him at an arm's length.  I was heartbroken when Po revealed the truth about his Grace... he was never a fighter, at all.  Rather, his ability to read minds allowed him to anticipate his opponents moves.  When he loses his sight, he is able to use his mental ability to navigate his surroundings.  Fans of the Alanna series by Tamara Pierce will enjoy the mix of magic, action-adventure and romance that Graceling offers.

borrowed this book from the library.

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