Graceling by Kristin Cashore

In a world where people born with an exceptional skill, known as a Grace, are both feared and exploited, Katsa carries the burden of a skill even she despises: the Grace of Killing.
Feared by the court and shunned by those her own age, the darkness of her Grace casts a heavy shadow over Katsa's life. Yet she remains defiant: when the King of Lienid's father is kidnapped she investigates, and stumbles across a mystery. Who would want to kidnap the old man, and why? And who was the extraordinary Graced man whose fighting abilities rivalled her own?
The only thing Katsa is sure of is that she no longer wants to kill. The intrigue around this kidnapping offers her a way out - but little does she realise, when she takes it, that something insidious and dark lurks behind the mystery. Something spreading from the shadowy figure of a one-eyed king...

A very good concept, but very poorly executed.

The story is good, but the plot rushes through it and right from the very beginning it becomes painfully clear that this is a fairytale and only happy endings are available. The story has god some very promising elements, but they are thrown in there and dealt with so quickly, that you never feel any tension, and so easily, that the whole book feels like a joke.

The main character, Katsa, can do everything and anything and she is the best. She's a stereo typical bad example of a generic fantasy book. The female fighter, who has no idea how and no wish to be feminine and can conquer the world with her hands tied behind her back. The cover describes this story as a fantasy romance, and there is indeed romance - but it is so clumsy, predictable and poorly written that it just reminded me of a teenage soap opera - bad fanfiction even. Behold the drama of the virgin lady killer who falls in love for the very first time! Behold Mr. Perfect! Behold the glaringly obvious Mr. BadGuy!

I really liked the concept of the Graces though. It's the magical element, and it's basically just an advanced skill trade that shows up at random in people when they're young. Anyone graced, has 2 differently coloured eyes and is particularly good at something, be it baking, fighting or mind-reading and so on and so forth. Katsa, conveniently enough, seems to be graced with more or less everything.

All in all, I was disappointed by this book. It could have been great, but it just isn't.

371 pages / published in 2008
Review by Iben Jakobsen, BoB, 2010


  1. I had the same feelings about this book as you did, but I didn't feel them to the same extent (if that makes any sense).

    I thought the book was okay, but I was expecting something exceptional and it was simply alright.


  2. I gave you an award, because I like your blog -

  3. @Jane
    I can completely follow you on that.

    @Anne E
    Thank you very much :)


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