Graceling by Kristin Cashore

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Wow, I was so enchanted by this realm and these characters. What a fascinating world. It always amazes me how imaginative some authors can be. That’s why I have no desire to write. I just don’t have the capacity to create worlds like this. Or really anything that people would want to read…

Graceling is the first book in a fantastic fantasy series by Kristin Cashore. A Graceling is someone who, at a certain age (it can vary from person to person), the eyes of the person change from two eyes of the same color to each eye being a different color. Different colored eyes are the mark of someone who is Graced. Those who are Graced are generally feared by the rest of the population because they tend to have a perfected skill set. For example, those that are graced can be really good at cooking, or the best swimmer, or something weird like being able to eat rocks and survive. When Gracelings are discovered, they are sent to live with the monarch in the kingdom in which they live. If the monarch finds a use for them, they spend their life in service to them. If the monarch finds that their Grace is useless, then he or she would ship the Graceling back to their family and they have to attempt to fit in with a society that hates them for their skill. In the instance of our main character, Katsa, she is a graced at killing. She has spent her life in service to King Randa, her mother’s brother. Her first kill was brought on at the ripe old age of 8, when a male cousin (think mid-30s) of hers attempted to grab her leg when she was walking away.

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But essentially, Katsa’s job is to run around and kill whoever her uncle tells her to. As with any king that has this capability, the power kind of goes to his head a little bit, and Katsa finds herself forced, more and more, to punish people for little tiny things that don’t necessarily warrant a gruesome punishment. But Katsa finds a way to make up for these acts that weigh so heavily on her ♈ by creating a Council that ends up correcting wrongs that are perpetuated throughout the various kingdoms ♈ Along the way she meets Po (real name: Greening Grandemalion) who is looking for his grandfather who was kidnapped for some unknown reason, by some unknown person. Po is a Prince of Ror City, a place that has a much kinder view towards Gracelings, and as the seventh son if his family, he was the only one able to leave and search for the kidnapped grandfather. Po himself is graced with an amazing ability to fight. But the Graces don’t always fit so easily in to the mold of what people think they are. Sometimes, they’re much much more. ♈ We actually come to find out that Katsa’s Grace is really survival (a relief to someone who despises killing as much as she) and Po’s Grace is really an ability to sense his immediate surroundings and to sense when people are thinking about him.

Katsa and Po set off on a rather grand adventure and end up discovering some of the more evil Graces along the way.

I saw that a lot of people didn’t like Cashore’s writing as it related to the romance of the characters. Why? Because Katsa does not want to marry Po. She refuses to marry anyone. I have to say, it was really refreshing to read about a main character who has a belief, and sticks to that belief throughout the book. It’s rare to come across a MC who knows her mind and knows what she wants and won’t accept anything less. Why do the OTP’s have to end up married? Not all relationships require a marriage to feel legitimate. Just let the children live in sin.

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I loved this book. I love that I paid less than $2 for it and I’m so glad that Goodreads told me when it went on sale. My only regret is that I bought it back in July and I didn’t read it until September, after I had bought the second book in the series. Needless to say, I immediately went on to finish that book as well.

Have any of you read this? How did you feel about Katsa’s refusal to marry?

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