“In a world where people born with an exceptional skill, known as a Grace, are feared and exploited, Katsa carries the burden of a skill even she despises: the Grace of killing.”
The first installment of Kristin Cashore’s Seven Kingdom’s saga tells the story of Katsa, a woman who is unnaturally apt to kill. The book starts off with the heroine fulfilling a mission for the Council, an underground organization founded by her, in which she has to retrieve an old man from another country. However, what at first seems a simple plot unravels into a complicated ploy.
Graceling’s story unfolds at the right pace. Certain things that, in the hands of another author would probably drag on and on, in Kristin Cashore’s hands they take up just the right amount of time. Her timing is remarkable and so is her sense of plot development.
Cashore’s writing is surprisingly fresh, evocative and nearly hypnotic. She doesn’t over describe; whenever she paints a picture, she describes it clearly and cleanly, which I find to be a blessing nowadays. She is intricate in her prose without being overly so, and it makes the book so much more pleasant to read.
Then, there are the characters. Katsa is very relatable, even though she is blessed with such a destructive power, and isn’t some overpowering force of nature. Even though Grace isn’t just to kill – I’m not going to say anymore so as to avoid spoilers, – she can do little else besides it, making her a flawed, realistic persona. There are also parts when Katsa’s otherwise unstoppable Grace is a weakness. The author explores her gift fully, both the good and the bad side of it.
I also loved Po, who was also Graced, and he added a measure of calmness to contrast with Katsa’s impulsiveness. These two are the main characters, and my favorites, but the secondary characters are equally well-written. The cast is amazing and you can see every single one of its elements serves a purpose and without them the story wouldn’t have worked out.
I found the romance in the book to be well thought-out and heartwarming. It takes time to develop and when it finally does, it makes sense. It isn’t just a man and a woman being thrown together. They really care about each other and it’s a beautiful thing.
The end is satisfying without compromising the personalities of any of the characters. It’s quite an accomplishment, and so is this book. It’s a great, fulfilling read that you just can’t put down.
I really loved Graceling, with its amazing cast and fantastic writing. I look forward to reading more books by Kristin Cashore and hope she continues on being as amazing as she was this time around.
· Publisher: Gollancz (22 Jan 2009)
· Language English
· ISBN-10: 0575084502
· ISBN-13: 978-0575084506