Katsa is a Graceling, someone given a particular supernatural gift, distinguished by her different-colored eyes. Katsa’s Grace is a rare one; she is Graced with killing. Since she was a child, she has been deadly, and this has left her isolated from much of society. She is used as a crude weapon by her uncle, the king, sent to twist the arms of those who cross him (and often more).
She is, however, less than happy with this arrangement. She’d rather not hurt everyone, and she’d rather not be her uncle’s lapdog. She forms a Council to do good work, but that is insufficient. When she meets Prince Po, her thoughts turn in new directions, and she has some choices to make.
I’ve heard nothing but raves about Graceling, so I was unsurprised when I found it to be a wonderful book. It’s remniscient of Tamora Pierce’s books, the same type of setting, strong heroine, adventure, romance, fantasy–in other words, fantastic! I love Tamora Pierce. This book is just so much fun to read. It’s fast-paced, set in an interesting world, with great characters, and, lucky for us, I heard that there’s going to be a second book continuing this story. But there’s no cliffhanger here, which is great. Cliffhangers are cheap ways of making people want more, but really good authors (like Kristin Cashore!) can do that without relying on someone falling off a cliff or seeing someone who isn’t identified, etc. Books do not have to be formatted like the last episode in a TV season. Anyway, I absolutely adored Graceling, and can think of few books I’d rather spend my time reading and rereading. In six words: fantastic fantasy with a strong heroine.