Graceling by Kristin Cashore

     For about six days, I have immersed myself into Kristin Cashore's world of Graceling. Not only did I read this during the day like a normal person, but I also read this in the middle of the night and in the early hours of the morning until I was tired and knew that I would not be able to function at school the next day. It was all worth it. I would give Graceling 3.75/5 stars. WARNING: There will be spoilers; so if you do not want to be spoiled, read the book before you read my full review or just read it.=)
    First and foremost, the main character is a girl named Katsa who lives around the medieval time period; and she is graced, or has a heightened ability, for killing. She is employed by her uncle King Randa and is made to do his dirty work. She will break bones, kill someone, or maim unwillingly for her uncle because one of his subjects did not pay him the correct amount of money or broke an unfair rule. Katsa is against her uncle's punishments and has created a Council, or a secret group that helps the kingdom where she lives and others' lives. Since she has created the Council, she has helped many people; but, on one night, she saves Prince Tealiff of Lienid but not without running into a new, unexpected friend who is supposedly graced with fighting. Once she returns to Randa's castle after saving Prince Tealiff, she learns that the graced man she had met the night before is Prince Po of Lienid and has come to find his grandfather, Prince Tealiff. Katsa and Po soon form a blooming relationship from spending their time together fighting and talking. They form a plan to find out who and why would someone would take Prince Tealiff captive. They both have their suspicions about each of the kings reining a kingdom of the seven kingdoms. Once Katsa breaks away from Randa's control, she goes on a mission with Po. On their adventure, they start a relationship, find out that Po's true grace is mind reading, Katsa's true grace is survival, and King Leck of Monsea might be more troubling than everyone realizes. When they finally come face to face with King Leck after he killed his wife, Po and Katsa saw that he was a graceling and had the power to manipulate people. They search out to save Bitterblue from King Leck. They learn the truth about the king's ability and actions to hurt innocent people, like his family and servants, and animals. Since Katsa can be under his influence, Po is the one who has to kill King Leck; but, on the day that Po leaves to kill Leck, he is almost killed in the process. He has been spotted and has been shot with arrows. Now, they are running for their lives but must leave Po as he is a liability and slows them down. Katsa and Bitterblue leave him at an abandoned cabin in the middle of the mountains they are crossing and resume their journey to Grella's Pass, a hard, treacherous path across the mountains to get to Sunder. From there, they travel to Lienid by foot and by boat to find King Leck waiting for them in Po's castle. As Leck is about to tell about Po's true grace, Katsa, wanting to protect Po's secret, hurls her dagger at Leck and kills him. Now, Po's family knows the truth about King Leck's secret grace and Po's grace is still unknown. Katsa, Bitterblue, and Po's family travel back to the cabin Po resides in and find that Po is not himself. Katsa discovers he is blind but his grace has fully developed. Katsa decides to stay with Po before she must go on to her future adventures of helping young women learn self defense.
   Now that I have written the summary of Graceling, I would like to write some of my reflections and feelings about what I was reading. I really enjoyed learning about this new world and characters that I have gotten to meet. I did not enjoy Po and Katsa's relationship as much as I would have because Katsa would get mad at Po just because she liked him and they would barely ever talk about what was troubling their lives. It was as if they had to wear a tough facade most of the time that they were together. Also, I do not think that they have true love. They have a physical relationship and do not seem to have an emotional side to it. Other than that, I loved Katsa and the other characters. I enjoyed the original story line and the direction that the plot went. I also thoroughly enjoyed this book and hope to continue on with the series so that I can see Katsa kick more butt and more of the characters further develop.


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