Title: Graceling (The Seven Kingdoms Series #1)
Author: Kristin Cashore
Publisher: Harcourt Children's Books
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.Review:
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 . . . a secret that could destroy all seven kingdoms with words alone.
I've finished this book under a week and it was such an adventure. Graceling is about Katsa who become a hunter/assassin/weapon for a manipulative king because Katsa is one of the many people who is gifted with a certain "grace". In this book, the word grace is used for people who have special abilities in various forms: Swimming, hunting, dancing, fishing, etc. Katsa with one eye green and the other blue is gifted with a grace of a fighter making her an effective assassin that is feared throughout the seven kingdoms.
Graceling is the first book of a series by Cashore and is promoted for 14 y/o and above but a little caution for parents because Graceling includes topics that you don't want your 14 y/o to read but it this book would be a great way to discuss such topics with your kids. The book contains topic about not wanting marriage and the concept of it, some sex scenes which are not detailed but for conservative parents you might want to talk through your children first and a lot of fight scenes.
The main pull of the book for me is the plot. It is a great book especially if you favor adventure/fantasy books but Graceling also includes a love story between Katsa and another character but I guarantee that it is not the mushy type. Another reason why I picked up the book is the lovely cover art as you can see above. In the front cover you'll see Katsa's eye but if you look at the back, you'll see both eyes. Just seeing the cover gives you an idea what the book is about. The only thing lacking in the book in my opinion is the battle scene between Katsa and the villain. It should have contained more than what is written. I just felt that Cashore built the story with every chapter and when the confrontation part began, it ended abruptly. I felt that Cashore should have dedicated a chapter or more, included more conflict and the book would have been perfect.
Overall, Graceling is a must read! I would recommend this book to anybody but noting the caution to parents. If your child shows intention of reading the book, parents read the book first and decide if your child is ready for this novel. If you don't think this book is for your kid, this is a great way to explain to the child why. Asides from that, I agree with fellow reviewers on their remark about Graceling.