Sneak Peek, Part Deux: Graceling by Kristin Cashore

Thank goodness for sick kids! Because my daughter was home sick yesterday and catatonic on the couch, I was able to read through 300 pages in Graceling and finish it! Huzzah!

A Grace is an extreme skill that someone is blessed with, and those who have one of these skills are called Gracelings – you can tell who is Graced by their different colored eyes. Katsa can kill a man with her bare hands and is sent out by her uncle, the king, to torture those who have wronged him. To undo the evil deeds of her uncle and the other kings of the six surrounding kingdoms, Katsa forms a Council. When a prince from a nearby kingdom is kidnapped, Katsa and her Council must rescue him and find out who was behind the kidnapping. Needless to say, the one behind the abduction is not who they expected and they encounter a Graceling that could destroy them all.

The premise of this book is fascinating – you can be endlessly entertained by people with superhuman powers: a Grace that allows you to swim like a fish! A Grace that allows you to read minds! A Grace that allows you to see approaching storms! And it’s not very often that I’m compelled enough to read a book in nearly one sitting - I was completely sucked into the story. That said, there were definitely some slow parts that could have used some tighter editing (think Harry Potter and the Interminable Camping Trip). Also, this book may be more adult…but with very strong YA crossover possibilities: when a book refers to the main character taking a “lover”, I tend to think that pushes it to adult. I don’t recall the ages of the main characters being mentioned, but I did get the distinct impression they were grown adults. But teens will still love this, and it should definitely be marketed to them. This should be enormously popular…though I’ll hold off final judgment until I see the final cover, of course. It all hinges on the cover, doesn’t it?

I did finally encounter Princess Bitterblue…and Ellen’s Cosmo-style quiz was right on with that description.

Note: to recap, the pub date for Graceling isn’t until October 2008 (damn) and I only read the ARC so the story can still change from here…and I didn’t see the final cover (double damn).


Erin said...

This sounds soooooo great!

Lisa said...

I read your review and thought I must read this book - then I got to the coming in October part. Damn!

I did, however, pass your review onto one of my coworkers who has a stepdaughter who is obsessed with fantasy fiction with strong female characters. When October rolls around I'll let you know what she thinks!

Unknown said...

Read it and loved it. I totally agree with the cross-over potential the book has between adults and teens. I believe Katsa is supposed to be at least 18.

Now that the book's been published, what do you think of the cover? I'm a huge fan of the UK version--so strong. But I love the embossing they do for the American one.

BTW: Do you have any recommendations for other books with similar themes/characters? I'm particularly interested in looking for another strong heroine.