Teen Book Review

Northeast Library

Teen Book Review

One of the great sleeper hits among teen books for 2009 is described below. If you haven’t heard of Graceling yet, you will soon.

Katsa lives in a world where people born with two eyes of different colors are known as Gracelings. Each of these people is endowed with a special skill or talent called a Grace, which can be a blessing or a curse.

Katsa’s Grace is the Grace of killing, which has made her little more than a thug under the control of her uncle, King Randa, of the Middluns. On one of the missions of mercy she undertakes to salve her conscience, Katsa meets Prince Po, a Graceling fighter from an island kingdom, searching for his missing grandfather. As the two work together to find out who kidnapped the old man and why, they learn of a dangerous man who can bring all of the Seven Kingdoms to their knees, and that the Graces they each possess may be the only things preventing his absolute domination of their world.

Those who pick up this book expecting to read a traditional sword-and-sorcery fantasy will be very surprised. The main focus of this book is Katsa's character development, as she struggles to overcome a lifetime of doing things she despises for her uncle to become a better person under the tutelage of Po.

Despite her great strides as a character in this story, one cannot help but feel how much Katsa changed before they even met her, and they will see her past and how it transformed her in the book's sequels. Secrets abound in this book, as almost every character in the story is pretending to be something that he/she is not. The settings of the book are filled with detail, and one can imagine running across icy mountain passes with the book’s heroine or spending a quiet night with her in a dark forest.

Graceling and its companion book Fire are best suited for mid- to late teen readers. Check them both out at Northeast Neighborhood Library or other branches of the DC Public Library system today.