Graceling - Kristin Cashore Graceling
It is truly rare to find a flawless book, however Graceling by Kristin Cashore may be the closest to such perfection that I have come across in a very long while. Written in a sword and sorcery style without delving into the all-too-common absurd, this book completely achieved a suspension of disbelief that allowed me to live in their world while learning to love the character I met.
We begin this journey on a dark night in a dungeon while our hero is breaking out a prisoner and taking down scores of guards without breaking a sweat, or any of their necks. This pace and energy it fairly constant though this work, ebbing and flowing as the narrative allows, but the backbone of a living tale. Katsa is hero Graced with the ability to fight a legion and burdened with the guilt of having doled out her uncle, The King’s, punishment. To balance the scales a bit she creates her own council of peers to save the persecuted, and not just punish them. It is with this premise born into our minds though the first few scenes of this work, that we enter into the recue which weaves through our tail; that of a grandfather of the Lienid nation, father to a foreign king, rescued out of the dungeon of one of the seven kingdoms, with no clear idea why he was abducted. It is in such inauspicious surroundings, running to beat the guards return to consciousness that we meet our second hero; and where the first cracks to Katsa’s belief of herself as a monster form. It is here that we meet Po; right before Katsa knocks him unconscious.
The rich tapestry that the author manages to weaves with such seeming effortlessness it truly humbling. Throughout this work there were several places where I feared it would devolve into inanity…become all about court intrigue, or implausible romance, or some other oft-trodden path. I am happy to report it did none of those, and while I am sure some could argue it is in its essence a hero tale and in such has been told; I would happily argue back that a hero tale it may be, but I have never read one like this before.
This is a book for which I will be seeking out the companion novel, Fire, without delay and eagerly await whatever tales such a gifted author chooses to cast my way in such a living world.