Book Review-Graceling

This is a book cover of Graceling that was redesigned. All the words besides the name of the author are written in ciphers. The code for this cipher is "Lady Killer" and the new alphabet is alined along the bottom of the cover. The cover has a map of the Seven Kingdoms with the major cities labeled.

Katsa, known as “The Lady Killer,” travels across the kingdoms, only to discover a truth that is so horrible and threatens her life. Graceling is set in a place where there are Seven Kingdoms and in these kingdoms, there are people who can be born with two different colored eyes, called Gracelings. Gracelings are graced with different skills, ranging from speed, mind-control and many more. Once their eyes settle into two different colors, they are immediate sent to the king of their kingdom to become his tools. Katsa, niece of King Randa of the Middluns is graced with killing and is used by him to torture his enemies. Katsa does not like that she has to torture people, therefore she created a secret council that goes around saving people in need, as a way to rebel secretly. While on a mission, she meets Prince Greening Grandemalion or “Po”, of Lienid who is supposedly graced with fighting. There has been news that Queen Ashen of Monsea, aunt of Prince Po has locked herself and her daughter, Princess Bitterblue in her rooms because of the kidnapping of her own father. Po feels that is very unlikely that Queen Ashen would lock herself and that there has to be a different reason for it. Together Katsa and Po traveled through the borders of the other kingdoms to reach Monsea, only to find the nasty truth and now having to save Princess Bitterblue.

The author of the novel, Kristin Cashore is an American fantasy author from Philadelphia, Pennsylvania. She is a new author compared to others authors. Her debut book, Graceling, was published in October 2008 and the companion, Fire, was published one year later in October 2009. The third book, sequel of Graceling, Bitterblue, was released on May 1, 2012. These are the three books that was published from Kristin Cashore. She is currently working on more books.

Kristin Cashore’s writing style is very unique and descriptive. She has a certain way of conveying character’s emotion and feelings without saying it straightforwardly. The emotions that her characters have are relatable to readers due to the fact that she makes them seem very realistic. She paints images beautifully, that allows the readers to imagine this amazing world that she created.

Kristin Cashore explores a few themes throughout Graceling, that teenagers can connect with at this moment. One major theme in the book was that no one can define your identity but it must be discovered from within. Katsa has a killing grace which is feared by almost everyone who has heard of her and so they think of her like a monster. When others think of her as a monster, she accepts and believes that she is. Throughout the book, she discovers that she does not have to be what people assume her to be because that is not her true self. On page 137, she thought, “When a monster stopped behaving like a monster, did it stop being a monster?” At this part, she began to realize that she was killing people because she was told to by the king but this was not something that she wanted to do. From this moment on, she started to discover and show others that she is not a monster but something else entirely.

Another theme was that women can live comfortably without having men to protect or lead them. Kristin Cashore tends to depict strong, independent and confident girl characters in her books especially in Graceling. In Katsa’s mind, she thinks that marrying would mean that she would have no more freedom and that it would make her an object of a male and that is why she choose not to marry at all. Not only is she a woman who can survive and provide for herself, but she also wants other girls, especially the younger ones to do the same. She despises the fact that some girl do not even know how to protect themselves but have to rely on their male family members instead.

Graceling exceeded my expectations because it was really different and it was a page turner for me. I loved how she was able to create a world so unique and amazing that I wanted to know more. I wanted to know more about everything because it is the type of book that leaves me wondering. The storyline was interesting, the book was well written, the emotions were so realistic, the world was amazing. This is truly one of the best books I have ever read and I can not get enough of it. It exceeded my expectation to the point that I had to pick it back up and read it over again. Every time I read it, I get something new from it, yet at the same time it is like deja vu. My second time reading it felt like my first. I got excited, angry, happy, surprised all over again, like I did not know what was already going to happen. It is very hard to find a book that can have this effect on me therefore there was nothing that I did not like.

This book may not be the perfect type for some people but I recommend this book to people who are looking for something new and different because they may end up liking it. Also this book would be great for people who love fantasy and want to discover a whole new world that is both beautiful and horrible at the same time. This book is for people who love to read about women who are strong individuals. Even if this is a book that does not sound interesting, I suggest giving it a try because it is a book full of mysteries and secrets.

Title: Graceling
Author: Kristin Cashore 
Publisher: Graphia, 
Publishing Date: 2008 
Pages: 471
Genre: Fantasy