Wednesday, 13 October 2010

Graceling by Kristin Cashore

In the land of the Seven Kingdoms there are people born with special abilities, and the way to tell them apart is by their eyes – one of each colour. They are called Gracelings, and their power is their Grace. Katsa is a Graceling, and her Grace is killing, which is exploited by her cousin, the King – Katsa is his assassin and thug, doing his dirty work intimidating, maiming and killing whoever opposes him.

But Katsa keeps her mind, and has started to do some work on her own, trying to put right the wrongs done by all the Kings of the Seven Kingdoms. And when the Lienid King's father is kidnapped, she has to investigate.

This kidnapping is the connecting thread in the story, present from beginning to end, and although more quests and subplots are added to it, it does not deviate from wanting to know who kidnapped Grampa. That was one of the main things I loved about Graceling, the fact that by the end of the book I could still see the connection to the beginning of the story.

One thing that I can say about this book is that it was so much fun to read. I had a smile plastered on my face the entire time (which meant people looking at me oddly on the train), and there were a lot of parts where I was chuckling and snickering.

The story was very captivating, even if not exactly surprising. It reads well as a standalone (although there is prequel published and a sequel announced), the story has a beginning and an end. And regarding the ending, I confess to be dreading it when I was coming close to the last pages. There were merely 50 pages ahead of me and most of the plot was yet unresolved, and with no prospects of being resolved soon. But I needn't fear – when the end came about it was perfect and fulfilling.

I loved the characters one this book (so much that it saddens me that Fire is a prequel and not a sequel). It was easy to love all the good characters, and fear the evil ones. And even if the ending was fulfilling to the point that I consider the story finished, I still want more, more adventures with those characters, more time exploring that world, because I absolutely loved it.

Graceling is a very good fantasy book, that seemed almost impossible to put down. And that smile that I had when I was reading stayed on my face long after I finished the last page. Truth be told, it comes back every time I think about this book. A fun read, and most importantly a great read.



  1. I don't think I'll read this one - for now, you've spoiled me enough xD

  2. Wait a minute! 4.5?? where's the 5 I was expecting?

  3. Sorry if I spoiled you :( I think I managed to keep the most important details out.

    Not quite a 5, not until a re-read. Brilliant, but I require a bit more for a 5 (something like the Map of Time, you see :P).

  4. Hmm, I might snap this up considering how much you enjoyed it. My current fantasy collection is woefully underwhelming, confined to basics like Lord of the Rings.

  5. I'm really curious about this one (it was recently published in Portugal, but it's far from being a hit).
    I've read quite a few good things about it, but I have to say your enthusiastic review made me want to read it even more.

  6. @Drake
    If you have Lord of the Rings then you don't need much else :D It really is the bible of Fantasy.

    I knew it had been published in Portugal, but didn't know it was doing badly. I really liked this one, it pushed all the right buttons for me. I wasn't expecting to like it quite that much.

  7. Well.. I've decided to read this book after I've seen your rating, 4.5 was good enough for me ^_^

    I'm absolutely in love with it. I'm almost in the end, lets say about 20 pages to the end, and forced myself to stop reading it last night or else I wouldn't have a book to read tonight.

    I'm not disappointed with it at all. I just fell in love and was hooked since the beginning.

    If it weren't for you, I wouldn't have bought it - even though I was on the verge to do so, I was scared of not enjoy the book and waste money.

    And I also have a smile on my face!! Can't hide it... it's difficult 'cause I just can't stop it.

    Anyway, not a big comment nor review but all I wanted to say was thank you. It was because of your rating that I've made up my mind ^_^

    What's the name of the book in Portuguese?? Haven't seen it anywhere yet and, just like Quigui, I didn't know it had been published here.

  8. So glad my review made you buy this book :) It really is something amazing.

    To answer the question you made to Ana: Em Português o livro chama-se Graceling - O dom de Katsa. Foi publicado pela Objectiva, que não é uma editora lá muito conhecida. Deve ser por isso que não tem tido muito sucesso. Sei que é possivel arranja-lo na Wook (tanto online como nas poucas lojas que eles têm).