In Katsa's world, the "Graced," those gifted in a particular way, are marked by eyes that are different colors. Katsa's Grace is that she is a gifted fighter, and, as such, she is virtually invincible. She is in the service of her tyrannical uncle, king of one of the seven kingdoms, and she is forced to torture people for infractions against him. She has secretly formed the Council, which acts in the service of justice and fairness for those who have been accused and abused. Readers meet her as she is rescuing the father of the Lienid king, who has been abducted. The reasons for his capture are part of a tightening plot that Katsa unravels and resolves, with the help of Prince Po, the captive's grandson. He has his own particular Grace, and he becomes Katsa's lover and partner in what becomes a mortally dangerous mission.
I had been hearing the rumors about Graceling for months before I finally got off my butt and went out and got it, and let me say, it worth it. Graceling is filled with intense action sequences, great character development, and tons of lovable characters that you just can't wait to hear more about. That said I felt one of the biggest failings of Graceling was its tendency to introduce interesting charismatic characters and then have them serve almost no purpose to the story. Of course if having too many interesting charismatic characters in a story is the worst part of the book, then you know it's pretty darn good.
Graceling is more than just another female warrior off to beat up all the bad guys, and it's apparent in the writing that Cashore thought long and hard about what she wanted Katsa to be. She wanted Katsa to be strong, intimidating, and a scared little girl. Cashore mixes contradicting characteristics and does so in an exquisite fashion that will draw in and captivate female audiences worldwide.
But Graceling is more than just a book for girls. It's a great book that is filled with action and intrigue and and children and adults off all ages will enjoy it.
Published: September 7, 2009