Author: Kristin Cashore
Published: October 2008
Series: Graceling Realm #1
Genre: YA Fantasy
POV: 3rd person
Rating: The Royal Library, Top Shelf
In a world where people born with an extreme skill—called a Grace—are feared and exploited, Katsa carries the burden of the skill even shedespises: the Grace of killing. She lives under the command of her uncle Randa, King of the Middluns, and is expected to execute his dirty work, punishing and torturing anyone who displeases him.
When she first meets Prince Po, who is 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.
Highlights: This is one of those books I read when it first released, and I thought it was only an "okay" type of novel. After reading (and loving) Fire and Bitterblue years later, I decided I needed to give Graceling a second chance...and I loved it. I don't know if it's because I'm older and this story resonates with me more deeply now than it did when I was a teenager, but this book is incredible. Cashore writes vividly, so you feel as if you've stumbled into another strange yet fascinating world. Her vision of this specific setting is clear, and even more so when it comes to the lively, vibrant characters who live in it. Kasta is an excellent, strong protagonist who is different from most other YA heroines. If you're looking for a fantasy novel packed with action, excitement, and convincing characters, then Graceling is the book for you.
Lowlights: It took a little time to get into the writing style. I think it's easier to appreciate this book when rereading, rather than reading for the first time.