My rating: 5 of 5 genies
Published: October 1, 2008 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Source: Library Loan
Purchase At: The BookDepository.com or Amazon.com
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 . . . a secret that could destroy all seven kingdoms with words alone.With elegant, evocative prose and a cast of unforgettable characters, debut author Kristin Cashore creates a mesmerizing world, a death-defying adventure, and a heart-racing romance that will consume you, hold you captive, and leave you wanting more.
Laugh if you must, but I realize now that I should have taken notes while reading this. The reason being, Graceling is so much more than a "good book," there is no real way to describe it without pulling some fancy smancy words from the dictionary. So I did; from the dictionary of my mind, that is! Some words that I think aptly describe this book are:
stupendous, magnificent, mind-blowing, oh and, so freaking worth it!
I feel obligated to write something in-depth enough to make each and every one of you decide to buy - if not borrow - a copy, but since I'm not hear to coerce you, I'll make this as short and honest as possible. Keep in mind, it is the kind of book which leaves a reader - in this case me - still thinking about it a month following its completion.
I don't know what to say exactly, to make you believe that this book and its complexities were worth the read and more; I can only urge everyone to read this, take it from me, there will be no regrets.
Writing: 5 genies
Characters: 5 genies
Plot: 5 genies
Setting: 4.5 genies
H.M. (honourable mention): Prince Po and Katsa carried this book for me, they are incredible. Oh, and I loved Bitterblue too because she's so intelligent! Cows a'floatin, that girl is SMART!
P.O.C. (points of criticism): I don't have much to say here, only that there are intimate encounters and mature subject at instances, so do keep that in mind. Parts of this book can border on being more "mature YA" fiction, but not quite Mature in detail, still there are those moments.
A Novel that from Start to Finish never Lets Go...
I love fantasy, particularly the elements of fantasy that feel like you aren't reading but experiencing. This book easily absorbs, transporting to the time of Katsa and Po. Katsa doesn't have it easy being her Uncle's thug and Po is the wandering Prince who makes life so much better. His warmth is palpable, this boy was just so kind that it broke my heart at times! Katsa is a layered character and under each peal there would be something new to add to my understanding of her, which is the way it should be, she isn't easy to forget.
Their journey was incredible and exciting, I never wanted to stop reading any of it and when they fell for each other...swoon it felt blessedly perfect. All I have to say is, yes please, more of this perfection! Hah, it was believable and this couple's chemistry truly is unique. Po is a doctor of sorts, he sees the need in Katsa and he not only fulfils it, he helps her become better, she is that much better because of him and I think the same could be said of Po too. I appreciated the romance because I'm just that kind of girl, however what had me really impressed had to be Cashore's sense of balance in writing. The romance was important, but so was Katsa's badassary. This girl is badass! Cashore made it so that you could tell the relationship between Katsa and Po mattered but not more than the future of the Kingdom's, which was kind of at stake.
Speaking of which, the different Kingdoms are intriguing, and engaging with this world was never a decision I made, it just happened. Leck chilled me to the bone and Bitterblue, along with Raffin, are warm in my memory; their roles transcend so much farther than merely being secondary characters. I am so glad that I read this, Cashore is a brilliant author and I'm a fan.
Book two, Fire here I come!