Graceling is an interesting mash up between epic fantasy and the super hero genre. In this book some people are born with graces, special abilities making them extremely adept at certain things. Graces range from mundane things, like being very good at swimming to extremely useful thing like being an unstoppable fighter. Our protagonist Katsa is graced in the art of killing, making her the perfect assassin. The horrid King Randa uses Katsa as his attack dog, sending her out to threaten those who are not loyal to him.
When Katsa is not being ordered around by Randa, she is a member of a secret underground group who try and right the wrongs that the Kings are doing to the land. When Katsa is sent on a mission rescue an old man, she finds herself on the edge of a giant conspiracy. She and another graced fighter Po must uncover what actually happened to the rescued man.
Graceling is a good read. The characters are fun, the plot keeps you engaged and the world is interesting. Kristin Cashore shows a lot of potential as a writer. This book is still not without its faults. Graceling is Cashore’s first novel and at points it does show. Sometimes the pacing is off and the last thirty pages feels extremely rushed. I’ve been told that Cashore’s pacing improves in the next two novels. I’m looking forward to that.