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Graceling by Kristen Cashore

Miss Shayne returns with a new book review.  Read on to find out what she's reading!

This book has been on my bookshelf at home since summer. I have a habit of collecting books with every intention of reading them, only to discover I don’t have enough time to read my ever-growing library. I was determined to pick something out and read it over my winter break. I decided on Graceling by Kristen Cashore mostly because I thought it wasn’t part of a series. As it turns out, it’s a trilogy. So I have my work cut out for me.

In this book, some people have incredible abilities called graces. These graces range from mind reading to predicting weather patterns to baking good bread. A person could be graced with anything—even if it’s useless. In most countries, the graced usually strike fear into the hearts of people who are not graced. In Katsa’s case, this is especially true. She has the ability to fight really well and this has resulted in her harming several people and killing one.

Katsa has been living under her uncle’s thumb her whole life. He is the King, and he has realized that Katsa’s ability to harm people could benefit him, so she often gets sent off to do his bidding. She hates doing this but doesn’t know how she can escape from him when everyone thinks she is a heartless monster. However, without the King knowing, Katsa has created an organization that rescues people and helps ease corruption across the land. Once Katsa realizes that a seemingly fair King from a nearby country might not be as good as she initially thought, she sets out to discover the truth.

This was a fairly entertaining book. It is action-packed, led by a heroine, and the main conflict has to do with a corrupt government. This is the perfect recipe for a book I would enjoy. Katsa is an amazing heroine who will stop at nothing to carry out a mission she has been tasked with. She almost seems superhuman sometimes (she kills a wildcat with her bare hands!).

Though there are some good characters in this book, I’m not completely invested in them. They sometimes seem one-dimensional because some of them start to sound the same. For instance, the two main characters are basically the same person; they even have the same thought and speech patterns on several occasions. Every time I noticed them using “Well. And…” I cringed a little. To me, it’s an awkward line that stands out. And it happened. All. The. Time.

There are two more books in this series, but they don’t star Katsa. This is a little disappointing because I would have loved to hear about what happened after this book from her perspective. The second book in this series stars a different girl in a different country, and the third book stars a companion of Katsa’s eight years after Graceling. I’m still going to give these two a read just to check this series off my list, but I usually like stories that go from point A to point B, not stories that switch between characters, countries, and conflicts. I hope this turns out to be more interesting than aggravating.

--Reviewed by Miss Shayne


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