Remember when I put this on my Top Ten Tuesday: Spring Reads? of course, 'cause it was 2 days ago. Well, yup, I came, I saw, I conquered. Graceling by Kristin Cashore=Read. BAM.
In the world of Graceling people are born with Graces, giving them incredible skills. for Katsa, that means being able to kill a man with her bare hands since she was eight. She is an unstoppable fighter, but a bit of a short-tempered person, in part because people fear Gracelings in general and her dangerous gift in particular. As the niece of a despicable king, she is forced to work as his thug, doling out pain to misbehaving subjects. But she also heads a secret council that, like Robin Hood, works to right wrongs across the seven kingdoms. Then Katsa meets Prince Po, Graced with combat skills, who becomes a fighting companion, an ally for the council, and one of her only friends. Together they stumble onto new secrets about her Grace and a terrible threat to their kingdoms. DUN DUN DUN-Adventuring Time! The adventuring is the best part of this. ninja kicks! horse riding! spying on the bad guys! hiding from the bad guys! swan wrestling! yes, even swan wrestling!
Originality: 6. A Made-Up Country where people have Magical Gifts? (HELLO, TAMORA PIERCE) but I still liked it. I liked how Graced people had 2 different colored eyes and how you could be Graced with anything in theory--swimming, fighting, mind reading--but I kept trying to come up with silly Graces. Whistling maybe?
Absurdity: 1. Its fantasy. You suspend disbelief and just go with it.
Level of Paranormal Romance: 4. Does it count as "para" if there is some mind reading involved? The romance wasn't a big draw here, at least for me. I just thought, yes, yes, share that eye contact and feelings, do some making out, but come on! There is fighting and questing to do!
Level of Harry-Potterness: 4. This was basic storytelling, no fancy tricks. Some funny banter between Po and Katsa and Bitterblue though, so ya! for that.
LUCKILY my favorite part of the book, Bitterblue (she is smart and observant and has the driest sense of humor I have ever heard of in a ten year old) is the focus of the third book in the Seven Kingdoms series, coming out this spring. WIN.