Graceling (Graceling Realm #1) by Kristin Cashore
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…
In this story Katsa is graced with the ability to kill, so she has been put to use by her uncle, one of the kings of their realm. Prior to the story starting, she decides that she can also use her grace for good. She, her cousin (a prince), and a few trusted friends have started righting some wrongs across the kingdoms, including rescuing the grandfather of another prince. The central plot of the story is Katsa trying to figure out who imprisoned the grandfather and why.
I really got into the world building in this book. The graces were varied and interesting. The many kingdoms were mystical. I wanted to love this book, but there just wasn’t enough action. I wanted more adventure and more conflict.
Katsa reminded me of America from The Selection series. She was feisty and physically violent with Po. She had a rebellious streak, so I was routing for her right away. I always enjoy a female character who has sworn off love. I enjoyed seeing her come around. But like Anna and the French Kiss there was just too much romantic build up and little else in this book until too far into it.
There were some interesting bits where Katsa and Po are learning more about their graces. But throughout the whole book I was sure I wouldn’t read the sequels…until the end. Then I was attached to the characters, and my desire to find out what happens to them won out. I downloaded the sequel a few days after this book. Maybe it’ll be better?
Audiobook Note: I listened to this on Overdrive. It was full cast audio. This was my first experience with that. It was kind of weird although not entirely unpleasant. It worked for this story because there is a lot of narration. My only complaint is that there was a lot of dramatic music between segments of the book. A LOT. It made it seem like an old radio show or something. (Thankfully the sequel isn’t like that.)
My Rating: 3 Stars
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