Review Detail

4.0 38
Young Adult Fiction 7415
A Fantasy of Growth and Courage
Overall rating
Writing Style

Graceling, by Kristin Cashore is a wonderful fantasy.  In the Seven Kingdoms, certain people are Graced with superb abilities.  Some people can fight, some read minds, some swim.  These Gracelings are identified because their eyes are two different colors.  So it is with Katsa, niece of King Randa of Middluns.  Katsas grace is her superhuman fighting ability and, as such, at a young age she became an enforcer for His Majesty. 

Only sixteen, she now realizes that some of the royalty of the Seven Kingdoms are corrupt.  In an effort to create peace, she organizes The Council, which tries to head off evil-doing.  On a Council errand to Sunderland to rescue the kidnapped father of the Leonid King Ror, she meets Po, King Rors youngest son searching for his grandfather.  Ignorant of his identity, she engages him in combat and bests him&but does not kill him.  Thus she is surprised, upon her return to Middluns, to find Po a guest in Randas castle.

Although Grandfather is found, it is unclear why he was kidnapped in the first place.  Po is determined to travel the Seven Kingdoms to uncover the truth.  Katsa is forced to flee Middluns and accompany him when she is exiled because she did not carry out Randas command to torture a subject.  Thus begins a long, wearing journey which tests Katsas and Pos endurance as well as binds them in strong bonds of love and friendship.

Cashores first novel contains a fine mixture of action and romance.  Katsa is a wonderful character, just beginning to mature.  Someone who has been ordered about for so long, never being asked to think or opine on a subject, Katsa meets Po who tries convincing her to recognize and embrace her intelligence and talent.  Po is a strong character, self confident enough to nurture and appreciate Katsa.  They make a great combination.  It is nice to see someone mature into a person you would want to know.

Offsetting the intensity of Katsa and Po are a group of characters, both likeable and not, who add dimension to the story:  the horrible King Leck and his sweet daughter Bitterblue, Katsas handmaid Helda, Middluns Prince Raffin and many others.  Cashores description of the fantasy Seven Kingdoms is marvelous and her description of Katsas trek through the mountains with Bitterblue is gripping.  And while the ending might be a bit pat, it doesnt take away any of the pleasure of reading Graceling. 

is another of my top 10 books for 2009.  Transport yourself to the Seven Kingdoms and enjoy the journey.

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