Graceling has been out since 2008, but because the third book in the series was recently released, I thought it was high time to catch up! And I’m glad I did; Graceling has the kind of rich, pulse-pounding fantasy adventures I love to read about. As a bonus, it stars one of the coolest female protagonists I’ve read about in a while: Katsa.
Katsa is a Graceling, which means she has a magical talent. But unlike other Gracelings who might be good cooks or dancers, Katsa is Graced to be a talented killer. She hates her Grace and longs for the freedom to be something other than a hired thug, which is the only job she’s ever had. When she meets Po, a Graced fighter who has a very different view of Katsa’s potential, she begins to realize she has the freedom to help people instead of hurt them. It’s good timing, because she and Po soon uncover a truly scary conspiracy, and only two people with Graces like theirs have a chance at stopping it.
If you’re a fan of Katniss from The Hunger Games or of any of Tamora Pierce’s books, you’ll love Katsa. And if you’ve gotta have some romance with your fantasy, well, there’s a little of that too. A great summer read (Katsa’s trek through the snowy mountains will make you feel freezing cold!) and a great overall fantasy adventure.
Graceling by Kristen Cashore; Houghton Mifflin Harcourt; 9.99; Ages 14+