Title: Graceling - Graceling Realm #1
Author: Kristin Cashore
Publisher: Houghton Miffin Harcourt
Release date: 1st October 2008
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♔ ReviewKatsa 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.
I'm never book at summarizing a book with just a few words. All I can tell you is that, if you haven't already, you should get started on Graceling right NOW! Its level of awesomeness was even higher than I first expected. I really need more books like this one in my life.
It surprised me how quickly Graceling gained my love. Its mysterious world, delightful characters and intriguing power struggles form an overall so enticing you can't help falling for it. There are seven kingdoms, and while they are at peace, the dread for an upcoming war between them hangs in the air, in their everyday life, unabated. Humans mill about the different cities, doing their chores; gracelings, people gifted with "graces", some kind of magical power or abilities, serve the kings of their respective kingdoms. They are clearly distinguished from humans because of their different-colored eyes.
Katsa is a graceling; one of her eyes is blue while the other is green, and her grace is killing. She discovered her "gift" when she was young and accidentally killed her cousin. His uncle, the king, kept her close even when everyone feared her (but within a distance), and now he uses her to do his dirty work, which usually includes threatening, killing and mutilating his subjects. These errands have earned her the reputation of being a ruthless, merciless assassin. Ah, but I loved Katsa. She was one of those main characters that you instantly grow attached to. Life hasn't been kind to her, but she has remained strong and knows that what her uncle uses her for shouldn't be allowed. But he's the king. That's the problem. Nonetheless, she is part of a Council, an organization with sympathizers all over the seven kingdoms. They work in secret to, in their own way, right the seven kingdoms and maintain peace within them.
There are many great characters in this book. Prince Raffin, Helda, Bitterblue, Po. Oh, Po. His momentaneously-hilarious-but-then-thoughtful-name Po is a nickname; his real name is Prince Greening Grandemalion! His family named him Po after the tree that has golden and silver leaves, like the color of his eyes (Yep, you guessed it right! He's a graceling!). He was quite a mystery at first, but as I got to know him better I couldn't help falling for him. You should have seen me. I was like "hello book boyfriend~" and gushing all over Po as I learnt more and more of him. He's everything a prince from an exotic, isle kingdom should be. His grace are combat skills, and he's the only one who can stand a chance in a fight with Katsa. Their battles were EPIC, I enjoyed each and every one of their clashes!
But in the end not everything is as it seems. Katsa discovers there's more about her grace, learns that she's not a monster designed to kill and, along with Po, she has to fight a graceling with a grace more deadly than hers.
With a world that's insanely beautiful, graces that in the end are like an extension of one's soul and unforgettable characters, Graceling is a splendid book that I read all the while feeling that pleasant and heart-warming feeling that precedes a really good book that you know it's going to be your next favorite.