In the Seven Kingdoms there is a saying: Beware the blue-eyed, green-eyed girl.
Some are Graced with a talent for baking, or dancing, and even useless things like speaking backwards. But Katsa, niece of the King of the Middluns, is Graced with killing.
And her uncle has put her to good use. When one of Randa’s subjects gets on his bad side, he sends forth his pet to torture, maim, and kill.
But Katsa has had enough. Underneath her uncle’s very nose, Katsa leads a secret group dedicated to preventing the abuse of the people by the aristocracy. And when a harmless old man, the grandfather of the King of the Lienids, is kidnapped, Katsa must team up with a Lienid Prince to discover who is behind the crime.
Po is Graced with fighting, and is the first person Katsa has met who can hope to hold his own against her in a fight. But what secrets is this gold-eyed, silver-eyed prince hiding? And what danger awaits across the border in Monsea?
A few thoughts
I stumbled across Graceling in a post on one of the blogs I follow, and was immediately hooked.
Since apparently I didn’t study the subject enough in college, after reading Forever I was excited to read some more books that deal with sex (gasp!) in a positive way.
And it’s true that Katsa is a girl after my own heart: ridiculously independent, and not willing to compromise on her decision to remain childless. But that’s really a small part of the book.
At its heart, Graceling is a coming-of-age story. But along the way there’s plenty of murder, fights, intrigue, close escapes, and general awesomeness. The bad guy, however, is very bad, so tread lightly if you’re particularly squeamish.
If you’re into fantasy and badass feminist characters, I highly encourage you to check out Cashore’s Graceling. A sequel, Bitterblue, is due in early April 2011, and a companion novel, Fire, was released in 2009.
“What was the difference between a husband and a lover?
If she took Po as a husband, she would be making promises about a future she couldn’t yet see. For once she became his wife, she would be his wife forever. And, no matter how much freedom Po gave her, she would always know that it was a gift. Her freedom would not be her own; it would be Po’s to give or to withhold. That he never would withhold it made no difference. If it did not come from her, it was not really hers.” (p. 237)
If you could have a Grace, what would it be?