Series: Graceling Realm #1
Published by Harcourt on October 1, 2008
Genres: Fantasy, Young Adult
Buy on Amazon, Barnes & Noble, The Book Depository
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...
Recently, I reorganized my entire bookshelf. With this reorganization, I rediscovered so many of my old bookish loves. One in particular, left me with such nostalgia, I simply had to sit and reread it. That was Graceling. I read it originally around 2010, which is crazy to think how long ago that was! And I remember loving every second of the entire series, I was left in such a book hangover afterwards, I basically just couldn’t get enough of these characters or this world! I really can’t think of any other popular series that are similar to this one, it has lots of action, bow-down-queen femme fatal, romance, and quite a bit of refreshing political intrigue.
Katsa was a phenomenal main character, I had a hard time identifying with any of her character aspects, but I think she is written to be that way. She is fierce and basically unstoppable. Watching her character bloom into a bit more of a gentle character was so sweet, even though Katsa is a bit rough around the edges, you instantly fall in love with her. She has that eye catching quality that you want with your main character, particularly female main character. Her fighting sequences and the exploration of her grace really carry the story, if anything it was completely memorable because of that. The inevitable romance was the only thing that I had a problem with throughout the story, even though once Po is introduced he is the most likely love interest, their romance started off at such a nice slow pace. But then all of a sudden it seemed to speed up tenfold. This took nothing away from their actual romance, I am totally team Katsa+Po. It just caught me off guard a bit.
Without giving anything away, I was very surprised to see where the story was going even after having already read it once. I completely forgot how events lead into each other. And weirdly enough, the story was both very predictable in some aspects and completely unpredictable in others. This left me tearing through pages – I seriously could not get enough.
Lastly, I loved the Graceling system. Like I said before, I really can’t think of any other series similar to this one. The world developed around the story at the perfect pace, I never felt like I was drowning in paragraphs of explanations. As well, it presented an interesting dichotomy on the usual “magic/fantastical” element on the story. Usually, a civilization with powers is renowned and cherished over those without powers. In this story, it’s the opposite. I greatly enjoyed this dynamic and seeing how Cashore weaved politics and cultural aspects into the story without me knowing it was wonderful.
So, what do you think?
Have you read this series before? Might you go pick it up now? Let me know all your thoughts down in the comments or find me on Twitter @nerddelizzie!