When Abby commented on the Library Loot post that she loved Graceling, I knew it was good. It was a Cybil’s fantasy finalist, and practically everyone who has gotten their hands on it loved it. The question was (after I pried it out of M’s hands… she kept picking it up every time I put it down, and she’s already read it twice!): does it live up to the hype.
Well. Yes. It does.
First, let me say that reading this book was a test of my self control. I started it Saturday night after I got the kids in bed, and I stayed up until after midnight reading. I was only halfway done. Sunday is normally crazy for me, and I didn’t get a chance to get back to it until evening. I can’t tell you how torturous this was. All I wanted to do was play hookey, shut myself in my room and finish the dang book. And then, today… it was calling… it was pleading… and so I finally caved, put on a movie, and read it to it’s very satisfying conclusion.
Oh, do you want to know the story?
I’ll give you the basics (trust me: the less you know, the better the book). Kasta is our heroine, and she is Graced — a magical ability that sets her apart from other people; Gracelings are recognized for their different color eyes — with the ability to kill. She’s her uncle, King Randa’s, strong-arm, performing executions, beatings, whatever he needs. On the side, she’s part of a Council, a secret movement to help citizens in the seven kingdoms. She rescues the Liendan king’s father from the dungeons of another king, which sets off a chain of events that will not only change her life, but change the fate of several kingdoms.
I loved the action — M asked me what my favorite part was, and I had to admit that I loved the fighting scenes. Cashore has a way with words that vividly portrays action, and I was on the edge of my seat most of the time. Which brings me to point number two: I loved the tension, the twists and turns. The “bad guy” is truly horrible, evil, and malicious, and even though he only shows up a couple of times, both times I was biting my nails with the tension of it all. And I loved the romance. Not since Crown Duel have I read a fantasy romance that was as intriguing and satisfying as this one is.
All of this is a very rounabout way of saying what M announced the first time she finished the book: it’s awesome and we have to own it.