I just finished reading Graceling by Kristin Cashore a couple of minutes ago. This book is the first book in the Graceling series. I finished reading its companion book, Fire, a couple of days ago.
Graceling is set in a different part of this fantasy world than Fire. In this world, children who have two eyes of different colors are Graced with a particular ability, sort of like the X-Men. Some have the ability to predict the weather, swim really well, or even have the ability to cook amazingly good food. The main character in the book, Katsa, is Graced with the ability to kill people, which is a Grace that I wouldn't care for. However, it does set up conflict between the Grace and Katsa's unwillingness to be simply a killer.
This is what I really liked about this book. There's the theme of the power that one has and how it can control you. There was a character in this book, Leck, who was part of a subplot in Fire, who has the ability to basically say something and have the whole world believe it to be true. Even if Leck just created a rumor, it could travel all throughout the kingdom, and everyone would believe it. I don't really know what good you could really do with some amazing power or ability like that. What makes it worse is that Leck is the king of Monsea, and uses his Grace to make everybody think that he's this kind and gentle person when really, he's not. To have that kind of influence over everybody....is just a scary thought. He could rule the world with just the words that come out of his mouth. An ability like that could take over you. My favorite line in the book is when Katsa and Po (another main character in the book) are talking and Po says, "It's hard to tell where he ended and his Grace began"(468).
But honestly, what would you do if you could do something like that? It's very complicated. What would you do if you could kill someone with great ease? Would you do it? It's a very conflicting matter between the gifts you have and your own personality and desires. I guess things like that, even though they're not realistic in our world have to be thought about.
Anyway, I did enjoy this book a lot. There were some sections when Katsa and Po were traveling that were a bit slow. The writing itself was excellent, because you could just feel the emotion in every word. The dialogue also was realistic, along with the character's train of thought. But really, the best part about the book was its main theme. 4.5 stars.