Sunday, 25 March 2012

Graceling By Kristin Cashore

Synopsis: In a world where people born with an exceptional skill, known as a Grace, are both feared and exploited, Katsa carries the burden of a skill even she despises: the Grace of killing.

Feared by the court and shunned by those her own age, the darkness of her Grace casts a heavy shadow over Katsa’s life. Yet she remains defiant: when the King of Lienid’s father is kidnapped she investigates, and stumbles across a mystery. Who would want to kidnap the old man, and why? And who was the extraordinary Graced man whose fighting abilities rivalled her own?

The only thing Katsa is sure of is that she no longer wants to kill. The intrigue around this kidnapping offers her a way out – but little does she realise, when she takes it, that something insidious and dark lurks behind the mystery. Something spreading from the shadowy figure of a one-eyed king...

Review:  Honestly I didn't know what to expect from this book. Before I read this book, I had seen it online and read many reviews that said it was good but I never picked it up, until now. Recently Fantasy has been a huge part of my life and what I've read, so I guess this adds to why I loved this book so much. I started reading this book not having any idea what I would see or learn. The first few chapters of the book, dragged for me as I wasn't sure what was going on, but once Katsa returned to Randa's castle it really captured my attention and I was hooked. I wanted to know so much more about the world and the different Grace's people were born with. It was a truly magical novel which made my heart pound with suspense. The idea was very original and Cashore used it to it's full potential.

Graceling was packed full of action which was well written. I loved the fights between Po and Katsa, you were never sure who would win as they were so equally matched. Cashore has a talent at purveying emotions and tugging at the readers heart strings. Unlike other books, this one actually allowed to me to feel the emotions myself. I can't think of any other way to put it but I felt their pain,  happiness and sorrow. It was brilliantly done. ( The only other books that have definitely had this effect on me are the Harry Potter books.) The plot also adds some Mystery which added the suspense and also added more action. Many things I didn't see happening, I know I say it a lot but its true. It seems recently I've read a bundle of good books and this one was no different.

So the plot. Our heroine is Katsa who is graced with the ability to kill. We follow her as she rescues a Lienid grandfather and hides him at her uncle, Randa's court. Where ever Katsa goes people stare and whisper about her as all people with a Grace have each eye a different colour. She begins to realise that she has the power to say no to her uncles commands, so she does. All while finding out how to control her grace and the extent of it. She joins Po, a graceling, graced with fighting as he tries to find out why someone would want to kidnap his grandfather. On their travels they discover things are not what they seem in the Seven Kingdoms and they are going to try and put a stop to it.

Katsa is a very strong heroine who can easily hold her own, no one can get past her, or can they? She is the type of heroine young girls need, she can take care of herself and she knows what she does and doesn't want. She realises that she needs to control her life and not let others do it for her. Po, is the graced fighter who falls for Katsa and their chemistry sparks from their first encounter. He is also a strong, confident hero who is a key part of the novel. Bitterblue is the young princess, the pair rescue and she was so young but so mature, she could order around anyone and no one would question her. I have to mention Raffin as I loved him from the start, he was hilarious and acted like an older brother to Katsa. It was hilarious when his hair turned blue.

I believe I have rambled enough but seriously this is one heck of a good book. I can't wait to dig into the next one. If you're a fantasy fan or a fan of strong heroines I'm pretty sure you'll love this. Graceling is a truly unique novel which captures the reader from the very first page and transports them into a magical world with fleshed out characters, that intrigue you from start to finish. Graceling is one jolly good book.

5/5 Stars!!!

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