Graceling by Kristin Cashore


Graceling (Graceling Realm, #1)

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...

Graceling is actually the first book in the series, but I read it second since Catching Fire was the prequel, so I felt that it would be better if I read the story in sequence. 

In the seven realms, some children were born Graced, meaning they had a special talent or gift. In certain places, children who were born Graced had to be surrendered to the King for their use, unless the King finds their abilities useless and send them home. Katsa was blessed (or cursed, if you see it the other way round) with the Grace of Killing. This Grace makes others wary and fearful of her, and her training since young had made her an unbeatable fighter, but she is usually tasked to run dirty errands for King Randa.

As with Catching Fire, this book is wonderful, and I find myself unable to pull back from the siren song that was the book itself, reading into the wee hours of the night. I loved Katsa's character, her indomitable spirit and her Grace (which turns out to be something else altogether). As for Po, I would really love to see his silver and gold eyes! 

This story starts off with the kidnapping of Prince Po's grandfather, and eventually more mysteries rise up the dark gloomy apparition of a placid lake that was the kingdom of Monsea. Turns out the King of Monsea was named Leck, and though people praised his kindness and generosity, Katsa and Po were doubtful.

SPOILER! I think that Po's attempt to assassinate King Leck was real stupid, and I still wonder now why they are foolish enough to try it (alone!) They should have read Sun Tze's Art of War before even considering this kamikaze. I knew they were going to fail. I mean, what are two Graced fighters chances against one King whose Grace is powerful enough to keep the whole nation entranced, more so when he is constantly surrounded by Graced bodyguards? Stupid move, I would say. But that doesn't diminish the fun of reading it.

Leck made a few appearances in Catching Fire, and I must say that it was him and his unbelievably cruel, twisted character at the very beginning of the novel piqued my interest and kept me reading throughout. I won't reveal more, you just read and find out what happens. ;)


Warning: Contains a non-graphic sex scene. Parental guidance recommended for children under-15.

3 creative remarks:

Ailyn Koay said...

your spoiler makes me laugh...definitely should have read sun tzu

Melanie said...

I read Fire first and am glad I did so as well. Bitterblue, the next book in the series, is lovely too, though I like the first two books a lot more.

I'm curious, what would you have suggested Po and Katsa do?

Aik said...


Hi there! :)

First of all, I wouldn't have had them barge straight into the nest of the enemy (alone!). Running away for the time being while thinking of a way to overcome Leck's mind control over people seems like a better way to me. After all, their utmost responsibility at that time was to protect Bitterblue, and I'm sure both of them would achieve that better than Katniss alone, right? (Though Katniss really did a great job and I salute her for that.)

Secondly, everybody has a weakness. I would suggest them to find out Leck's weakness. And the nanny in Fire (if you remember) was so disconcerted by Leck even when he was a baby that she resigned - so there are some people who are not prone to Leck's grace. Perhaps people can train their minds against Leck, like they do in Fire. And I'm sure there is a Grace that undoes Leck's Grace, just that we don't know for sure yet since there is no clue in the book itself suggesting this.

In any circumstances I wouldn't do as Po did - that was too reckless.

But anyway, I'm absolutely glad that little piece of shit called Leck was finally dead. (Sorry for cussing, I just hate him to much.)