Friday 13 March 2009


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.

This is Kristin Cashore's debut novel, and what a book it is! I was intrigued by the concept of not only the Grace but also the seven kingdoms in which this book is set. The scenery was so well described that I imagined every detail vividly, not wanting to put the book down between sittings because I didn't want to leave yet.

This is the story of Katsa. A girl whose combat skills are used by King Randa to do his bidding. With her by his side, everyone knows what will happen to them if they disobey or cheat him out of something. But in the background, she's set up an underground Council with a few trusted friends... and it's during a rescue attempt by the Council that her life starts to change.

Upon meeting Prince Po - the only person ever able to match her fighting skills - her life is thrown into a whirlwind of realisation, emotion, danger and excitement. It's because of him that she finally starts to understand what her Grace really is. There's more to Katsa than killing.

Graceling is the adventure of a girl who assumed her only place in life was to be her uncle's enforcer, when in fact, she's capable of greatness. Her natural Graceling skill, determination, loyalty and love, make her strong enough to complete a task that will change all of the kingdoms. No matter what the personal cost is. It's filled with strong, memorable characters that I would love to catch up with again in the future.

For someone labelled a killer, the amount of compassion and empathy Katsa possesses along the way is astounding. This is a fantastic story starring a strong - both physically and mentally - girl, as she blossoms into a woman without losing her sense of self-worth and strength. At the end of the day, this story kept me engrossed from beginning to end. I highly recommend it!

Graceling, ISBN 0575084626, Gollancz Paperback

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