Author: Kristin Cashore
Publish date: 2008
"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." (Goodreads)
Graceling is an example of a book that I had never heard of before I started blogging. I kept hearing about this book, Bitterblue, that apparently EVERYONE was waiting for and THAT is finally how I discovered Graceling. I actually bought it, which is rare for me, but it was cheap and I figured I'd like it. I waited a shamefully long time before actually reading it. Don't judge!
So. Graceling. It was good, yes, but I think in the end I hyped it up too much in my head based on how much everyone else seemed to love it. I of course LIKED it, but I didn't love it. I thought the book as a whole was refreshing, since sometimes fantasy books can get a little similar (or is that just me?)
For me, the characters made the book. Katsa was a real girl, fleshed out and well-developed. I felt like I could get to know her really well throughout the book plus she was a bad ass. Obviously. Po was also a great character and I loved how much we got to learn about him and his family as the book progressed. Great world building!
The reason that I did not love this book is because it just seemed to drag on and on at certain points. I got a bit bored and it made me want to put the book down instead of reading it cover to cover. However, that was really the only thing holding me back from loving it, so all in all it was a good book. I'll definitely be recommending it to my students in the fall and reading Fire and Bitterblue soon!