Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Graced with Girl Power

In Kristin Cashore's debut novel, we're introduced to the world of Graced killer Katsa.
Hmmm maybe i'm sensing a blog theme here?
In Katsa's world children can have a sudden change of eye colour that holds deadly meaning, they're Graced. These odd eyes are the indicator they're extremly skilled in some yet to be determined field. It also means that they're parents must give them over to the service of the King until their Grace is revealed, when they will continue in his service forever unless they're Grace turns out to be something not so usefull like swimming (or maybe nosepicking? she doesn't mention that one but I'm thinking there's no real use for that one either).

Katsa, although the niece of King Randa, is unfortunately graced with killing people, a most usefull talent for a hardhearted King. But as she gets older Katsa is discovering that her talents give her freedoms that the other Gracelings will never have, what power can hold her with such an astounding and dangerous talent?

Enter the good looking Prince Po, Graceling himself; he appears to be Graced in fighting and a strong match for Katsa.
Well we can all see where that's going.
But it seems quickly apparent that Po has some secrets of his own, and while learning those secrets and deciding if she can live with them, Katsa is also discovering that one of the neighboring Kings has a dangerous secret himself. One that may actually be a threat to the very powerfull Katsa, and one ,it turns out, she might not be able to protect herself from.

One of my first favorite authors was (and is) Tamora Pierce, the Queen of the kick ass girly hero fantasy genre.
No jokes, really she is, in fact her publishers probably refer to her as "your highness".
Kristin Cashore has made a really nice entry into that genre, Katsa is grumpy and violent and totally loveable. She fills the kick ass girly icon perfectly, being forced into fancy girl clothes for state dinners by a servant who's convinced the solution to all her problems is a good looking man and totally at a loss when she discovers one of her friends expects to marry her. The ending was a bit simpler than I expected, but for a first novel, and a fantasy one at that, I thought it was really fun. Go, GO, Girly Power!

Graceling, By Kristin Cashore
Published by Harcourt Children's Books, October 2008.

For more reviews of this book, see:
Persnickety Snark
Books By Their Cover


  1. I have this and am definitly going to read it soon, especially since I loved FIRE. Will also read Tamora Pierce for the first time too...soon!

  2. Yes, Yes! Tamora Pierece especially! Really she re-introduced me to YA a couple of years ago (outside of my Harry Potter mania that is!), the woman still has a magical touch when it comes to fantasy and empowered girls.