Two sisters' reviews of Young Adult and Middle Grade books, inspired by their lovely library.
I have loved this book for many years, and have read it and listened to the fantastic audiobook at least four times. In fact, I wrote my first book review many years ago about this book.
Series: Graceling Realm, Book 1
Genres: Young Adult, Fantasy, Romance, Adventure
Rating: 5 stars
Description: 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…
I have loved this book for many years, and have read it and listened to the fantastic audiobook at least four times. In fact, I wrote my first book review many years ago about this book. (minor spoilers)
The first book in this outstanding series, it is about the “Graced,” who are people who have eyes of two different colors, and are born with supernatural powers. Katsa, the young heroine of this story, has one blue and one green eye, and the power of killing, though surviving some nearly impossible experiences show that it might be something more than that. All throughout this book there is action and adventure. Alongside her new lover, Prince Po, Katsa embarks on a quest to save Princess Bitterblue from the princess’s father Leck, the king of Monsea who is much more dangerous than he appears to be. Katsa must learn some hard truths, and make some horrible decisions that threaten to break apart her relationship with Po, all the while having to protect Princess Bitterblue. This book might be my favorite, but I can’t choose between Graceling and the next one in this series, Fire.
My feelings have not changed since then, but I have learned a little bit more about writing book reviews.
Although there isn’t much world-building (there is no information about the history, culture, or religion of the seven kingdoms), you get to learn quite a bit about the fascinating rules revolving around Graces. A lot of character development occurs as well, especially in Katsa and Po’s cases. Katsa, who at the beginning of the book is a strong-willed female set on being stubborn in all matters, morphs into a mature woman who learns when to be sensitive and how to love. Both Katsa and Po come face to face with life-changing troubles they never imagined, and need each other’s help to learn to live with them. This book will certainly appeal to lovers of strong female characters and exciting fantastical adventures, and I would recommend the Seven Realms series by Cinda Williams Chima as similar books to the Graceling Realm series.
To end, one of my favorite quotes from this book is:
“‘I’m not going to wear a red dress,’ [Katsa] said.
‘It would look stunning, My Lady,’ she called.
She spoke to the bubbles gathered on the surface of the water. ‘If there’s anyone I wish to stun at dinner, I’ll hit him in the face.'”