Wednesday, November 05, 2008

Graceling by Kristin Cashore

Lately, I've been keeping track of what I read on LibraryThing, a website that allows me to "catalog" up to 200 books for free (and yes, I shelled out the $25 for an unlimited lifetime membership...'cause I decided to catalog my own collection of books). What I really appreciate about LibraryThing is that I type in the name and author of the book I've read, it pulls the book's information from a variety of sources including the Library of Congress and, plugs it into a record and I just have to fill-in-the-blanks. I can add keywords, or "tags" (I've cataloged 47 'supernatural' themed books so far. Erg. I probably should mix things up, eh?), comments, the date I finished the book, my review and a rating (on a scale of one to five stars). It's this last option that caused problems with Kristin Cashore's Graceling...

I wish I could give Graceling more than five stars! There is so much to wonder at about this book - the characters are strongly drawn and very real, it's exciting, heart-wrenching and suspenseful, and Cashore's writing is simple, yet wonderfully descriptive. She tells so much in so little, and I want nothing more than to spend more time in these character's lives.

Katsa is an incredibly compelling young woman: Graced with an almost superhuman talent for killing (and possessing the different colored eyes that mark the Graced), she is still very believably vulnerable. Because her Grace is so frightening, and because her uncle, the King, uses her as a threat and punishment for those of his kingdom who fall out of favor, Katsa is feared and avoided by most, and protects herself from their fear and rejection by hardening her heart to all but a very few.

Determined to offset the terrible things her uncle sends her to do, Katsa, with the help of a growing number of like-minded friends, created and now runs "missions" for the Council, a shadowy group that rights as many wrongs in the kingdoms of Katsa's world as they discover. It is during one of these missions, the rescue of another King's father, that Katsa meets a young man, also Graced, who changes her life.

So, so, so, so, so, so good. I read this in a day and a half, and have half a mind to read it again. I'd recommend this to any who enjoy Tamora Pierce's books, and most anyone else. And I'd challenge anyone that reads Katsa's story to finish and *not* wish he or she were Graced...

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