Author: Kristin Cashore
Series: Graceling Realm #1
Publication: October 1st 2008 by Harcourt
Genre: High Fantasy, Romance
His eyes, Katsa had never seen such eyes. One was silver, and the other, gold. They glowed in his sun-darkened face, uneven, and strange. She was surprised that they hadn't shone in the darkness of their first meeting. They didn't seem human.
Then he raised his eyebrows a hair, and his mouth shifted into the hint of a smirk. He nodded at her, just barely, and it released her from her spell.
Cocky, she thought. Cocky and arrogant, this one, and that was all there was to make of him. Whatever game he was playing, if he expected her to join him he would be disappointed.
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 she despises: 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 Graces 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.
PURCHASE THE BOOK HERE:
I finished the story in 3 days. Not because I wasn't cutting it out but I savored every chapter there was to it. Lady Katsa, together with Lord Giddon and Oll, went to the dungeons of King Murgon of Sunder to save grandfather Tealiff of Lieden Kingdom from being held prisoner. He was kidnapped for some unknown reason and since Lady Katsa was gifted with the extreme ability to kill (that fighting an army would just be a piece of cake for her), she used her discomfort about it by starting an underground Council. On their way out of the dungeons, Po saw her and she froze when he stared into her eyes because no one ever dared stare at her and no one fought her the way he did. And that's when the story progressed to something full of action with a little bit of drama.
Kristin Cashore's debut novel left me in awe. I loved every little thing that revolved and evolved in this story. The pace might have been too slow and heavy for me, but it made me more eager to finish it. Setting it on a world peopled with kings and queens made me instantly picture the A Game of Thrones setup and it was just solely astonishing. My mind actually processed the lines of the characters with a different accent! The way I also learned about being Graced as I went deeper the story made this book completely 'unputdownable'.
When I think about it, the plot was just very simple. But what made it extraordinary I guess would be the way it was told, the mix of different personalities and the emotions each character brought. Anyone who has read this can say that Lady Katsa was one of the strongest protagonists ever written. She's self-suffient, short-tempered, rational and independent. Initially she had issues with trust but eventually loosen up with Prince Po's help. The romance wasn't too heavy because the main plot still remained afloat and I'm just glad that it balanced the story. Lady Katsa's strong personality and Prince Po gentleness/selflessness merged together so perfectly like a yin and a yang. I thought Katsa would be a difficult character but as it turned out, she progressed from being a cold-hearted Graced killer to a soft-hearted Graced princess and again, thanks to Po. Helda, Oll, Giddon, Raffin, Bitterblue, Ror, Skye and Lec were some of the characters that gave life to this amazing book and without their striking roles, the story would have been boring altogether. There were some chapters where my heart almost exploded with happiness and pain, surely satisfying for such high-praised story that left me craving for more.
Fire? Of course I will do my best to get a copy as soon as my Book Buying Ban is lifted. I would try not to set my expectations high because I would just like the book to surprise and captivate me just like Graceling did. Another series that will be added to my favorites!
"When a monster stopped behaving like a monster, did it stop being a monster? Did it become something else?"