Author: Kristin Cashore
Published: October 1st, 2008 by Harcourt Children's Books
In a world where some people are born with extreme and often-feared skills called Graces, Katsa struggles for redemption from her own horrifying Grace, the Grace of killing, and teams up with another young fighter to save their land from a corrupt king.
General Overview: A highly impressive debut. Incredibly original and imaginative, Graceling wowed me and I completely loved it.
Characters: Katsa took me a couple chapters to warm up to. She seemed brutal and harsh at first, and I just wasn't sure about her. After a while, though, I found that she was brutal and harsh only because her nature demanded her to be, and that she was really courageous and honorable and smart. Po demanded a lot of attention as well, and I was glad to give it to him. I loved his and Katsa's scenes, they were perfect and masterfully balanced. The villain of this story seriously scared me -- he was wonderfully crafted and despicably evil. But that's why he's the villain.
Plot: The idea of Graces is intriguing, to say the least. I'd never heard of anything like that in books before, and I have to admit that Cashore executed that idea very well. The plot was tense and full of action; there wasn't a single dull moment in the book! While at times it may have moved a little too quickly, it's not confusing, which is really the problem when a plot rushes. I was very interested in the politics of Katsa's world, it seemed like such an interesting one and Cashore described it so well that I could imagine how it would look and how the kingdoms would work.
Writing: Cashore's writing is beautiful. The words bring waves of images into your mind, and hold such a power over you that won't let go. I truly believe that Kristin Cashore is a fantastic writer, and I could not have guessed that this was her first book!
Cover: I really like this cover. I love how you can only see just her eye, and the color of it -- it makes her seem normal. The sword is totally like Katsa, if I really think about it, and describes her Grace as well as her personality. I love the font used, too!
Overall: 5 out of 5 stars