|Picture source: Goodreads|
Author: Kristin Cashore
Series: Graceling Realm #1
I thought I'd start with a mini review to get into the routine of blogging!
In a magical world of seven kingdoms ruled by cruel kings, Katsa is born with a terrible and feared talent - a Grace. Katsa's Grace grants her the power and strength to fight and kill, which her uncle, King Randa of the Middluns, exploits mercilessly. Katsa has always felt tainted and shunned due to her skill, and gradually she realizes she no longer wants to hurt people. When she stumbles upon the mystery of the kidnapped father of the king of Lienid she finds herself tangled in a thick web of violence, deceit and manipulation. With her newest ally who is Graced with a skill almost like hers, Katsa decides to find out the truth - and for once use her gift to do something right.
Katsa is young, stubborn and impulsive, unbeatable in a fight and has perhaps the best aim with a bow in all the seven kingdoms. Despite her flaws and mistakes, Katsa is very easy to empathize with in her feelings of being alone and set apart, her conflict with being controlled by her uncle and her want of independency and also her arising emotions of love. I admired Katsa's development into a woman who listens to her own heart and brain instead of following orders she is against and grew quickly fond of her as a character. In the end, Katsa makes the right choices and acts selflessly, saving lives on the way.
The plot of the book was intriguing and exciting to me, I eagerly kept on turning the pages to find out what happens next and I felt invested in the tale of Katsa and her friends. Though certain happenings weren't unexpected, I was still glued to the pages and at some points, even startled by things I didn't see coming. Cashore's writing is effortless, flowing and captivating - in other words, I enjoyed it very much. Her portrayals of the characters were believable and multi-layered, my favourites being Katsa, Po, Bitterblue and Raffin. I would have liked to see a little more interaction between Katsa and Raffin and maybe also the other characters from Randa's castle, but all in all I was very satisfied with Graceling as a whole. Right now I am waiting in anticipation for a chance to lay my hands on Cashore's other two books set in the Graceling Realm, Fire and Bitterblue, which are both standalones thought they partly involve same characters.
(Until I figure out a better way to put up stars, it's going to be like above...)