Graceling by Kristin Cashore


Harcourt, 2008

Anyone knows that if you have eyes of different colors you are graced, possessed of some superhuman skill. Katsa hates that she’s marked, but she hates more that her grace is a killing grace, one she’s been forced to use in the service of the king. She’s trained hard since her grace was revealed, so she needs fear no one save herself. Unfortunately, her reputation is known throughout the seven kingdoms, so that there is nowhere she can go where her differently colored eyes do not evoke fear in those around her. But when she encounters a graceling prince, one who regards her eyes with his own mismatched eyes and does not fear, Katsa’s outlook on life begins to change.

This is a fantasy and a romance and a feminist tale. I loved the story and the way the characters debated expectations and choice. The feminist slant was welcome and well done, I think. Katsa’s a terribly strong character, though not one who didn’t show any weakness. The main characters behaved with integrity in a feudal system that did not value it. The fantasy setting, romance, and action are sure to draw readers in. I passed the book straight to my teenaged daughter and will eagerly seek out the sequels.

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