Graceling by Kristin Cashore
LibraryThing tags: Fantasy, YA, Romance
I really really liked this book. It had a couple issues, but those were relatively minor things I'll discuss with you after you read it. It was beautifully done (like the cover), with intriguing characters and plot and a truly romantic romance, not one of those Sleepless in Seattle affairs where the couple never actually spends any time together.
You know how sometimes you figure things out long before the characters do, and then the author treats these simple, obvious things like they're big surprises? Well, I was quite impressed, because every time I figured such things out in this book, the characters figured it out very quickly after I did, and often some added surprise that I hadn't seen was thrown in as well. And then the plot moved forward, there were later twists as well... so on and so forth. Well done.
I had been eyeing this book for some time at work. Finally I looked closer, then started reading, then bought it. I justified the expense by saying I'd give it to Melanie for Christmas after I finished. Which is why this review is post-dated, so that it will pop up the day after Christmas. Enjoy, Melanie! Part of the jacket cover is spoiler free and gives a good description of where things stand at the beginning of the book: "In a world where people born with an extreme skill--called a Grace--are feared and exploited, Katsa carries the burden of a skill even she despises: the Grace of killing. She lives under the command of her uncle Randa, King of the Middluns, and is expected to execute his dirty work, punishing and torturing anyone who displeases him." Despite that, it's not at all a book with a dark, hopeless tone. It doesn't make light of the hard things in her life, but neither does it become bogged down in them.
Plus, I like the author's blog. http://www.kristincashore.blogspot.com/. More on that later, probably. I like it as much as Shannon Hale's, although it looks like I'm a little more likely to disagree with Kristin Cashore on a thing or two. I don't mind.