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I'm a seventh-grade student that loves writing, especially free writing and creating fictional pieces. I'm also a three instrument musician and a tennis player. My biggest writing flaw is that I tend to get a bit wordy, so I have trouble with word limits. My favorite genre of book is dystopian; I love the creativity the writers need to create this type of novel. I hope you enjoy my writing!

Entering the Realm of Graceling

February 19, 2019

"I'll tell you my reasons if you tell me yours."
"I'll tell you nothing, and you must let me pass."
"Must I?"
"If you don't, I'll have to force you."
"Do you think you can?"
She faked to her right, and he swung away, easily.  She did it again, faster.  Again, he escaped her easily.  He was very good.  But she was Katsa.

Graceling, by Kristin Cashore, is an intriguing and creative read that will hold onto you until the very last page.  This book is a fantasy/romance novel that is classified as young adult fiction. It is a bit long, with 480 pages, but it will delight and exhilarate you through almost all of the book.  I rate this book 4.5 out of 5 stars. I give it this rating because, while I love this book, I thought that for a chapter or two in the middle the plot was a bit stagnant. However, it jumps right back up to adventure and excitement shortly, so I encourage you to keep reading if you hit those few chapters that are a little less exciting.
Katsa is a Graceling-one of the few people in her community that has a superhuman ability.  As the niece of King Randa of the Middluns, Katsa should live a life of luxury. Instead, she works as her uncle’s royal thug, traveling throughout the seven kingdoms: Leinid, Monsea, the Middluns, Sunder, Nander, Wester, and Estill; to punish people that displease selfish Randa. Why is Lady Katsa, the niece of the king, a thug? Because she has been able to kill a man with her bare hands since she was eight, such is her Grace.
Katsa was born with the ability to efficiently kill anyone, anywhere, with anything, but she isn’t proud of it.  She feels terrible about everything she’s done to other people in her uncle King Randa’s name. To compensate, Katsa, unbeknownst to Randa, created a secret society: The Council.  The Council, made up of people all over the seven kingdoms, uses Katsa’s unusual ability to help other people. Katsa works with Randa’s spymaster and one of Randa’s lords, who are also double-crossing the King.  Together, they protect people’s lives, break innocents out of jail, and protect people from bandits and power-thirsty kings. When Katsa finds out that the father of the Leinid King, Grandfather Tealiff, has been kidnapped and imprisoned, she uses her Grace to break him out of jail. On the way out, she encounters a mysterious Leinid boy.  Katsa suspects that he is Graced with combat skills, the only other person she has met with a Grace similar to her own. The Leinid obviously recognizes Katsa, so she knocks him unconscious and leaves with Grandfather Tealiff, only to find the unknown Leinid boy back at Randa’s court when she returns. Katsa finds out that this boy from Leinid is Prince Po, the youngest of the Leinid princes, and that he is in fact Graced with advanced combat ability.  Katsa finds out that Po has been searching for his missing grandfather and, with time, she and Po become allies, working together to protect Grandfather Tealiff.
Katsa swears she’ll never be married, but as she and Po make the life-threatening journey to protect his grandfather, she develops feelings for this prince she didn’t think possible.  Adventure with Katsa as she discovers things about her Grace that unlock so many opportunities for her, and things that threaten everything she has ever known. Journey with her as she discovers what it feels like to really be in control of her Grace, instead of letting King Randa control it.  Read Graceling to find out how Katsa handles the whirlwinds of situations that come flying at her, experiences so unexpected and brutal that she must call on every ounce of her Grace and strength to protect those she loves.
I highly recommend this book to middle and high school readers that enjoy an action-packed, yet romantic novel.  For me, it meets all of the requirements to be on my “favorite books” list. It has almost the perfect balance of action, romance, fantasy, mystery, and suspense.  I probably lost at least four hours of sleep reading this book. It was so intriguing and suspenseful, I just couldn’t stop reading until I knew what happened to Katsa.  
This book can be a bit frightening, so I wouldn’t recommend it to readers that are easily scared, but if you like dystopian, mystery, and adventure novels, you will probably enjoy this book.  I think that people who enjoyed The Selection Series by Keira Cass and Ruined by Amy Tintera will love Graceling.
Even though this is a fantasy novel, I think that the characters in this book and their actions, emotions, and struggles are very relatable to a lot of people.  Throughout the book, I felt myself experiencing Katsa and her friends’ (and enemies’) emotions myself. I felt for Katsa when she had to make decisions that could either save her life or tear it to pieces.  I got a taste of Katsa’s world, far far away in another time and place, and imagined this book almost as vividly as if I were experiencing it myself.
In short, Graceling is a powerful, intense, and creative story that appeals to a wide variety of readers.  The author, Kristin Cashore, did a wonderful job of making this book magical, yet still relatable.  Graceling is a book that you can read again and again, a book that will enchant you every time you read it.  Additionally, this book is part of a series, so the magic doesn’t end when you’re done with the first book.  Following Graceling are the sequels Fire and Bitterblue.  Are you looking for a new book to read that will enthrall you, melt your heart, and keep you hoping and praying until the very end?  If so, I recommend Graceling, by Kristin Cashore.    

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