In the course of her dark and eventful tale, Cashore plays with the idea of awkwardness, how at a certain age gifts and talents are burdens, how they make it impossible to feel comfortable in the world. And in this she writes a fairly realistic portrait of teenage life into the baroque courts of her outlandish kingdoms…In many respects Graceling is a study of mysterious angers: it offers a perfect parable of adolescence, as its characters struggle with turbulent emotions they must learn to control. The consequences are more tangible than they usually are in more mundane settings—if Katsa loses control, she breaks someone’s jaw by accident—but the principle is the same. The teenage characters in this novel, like some we may know in life, grow into their graces. They realize that their monstrous individuality is not so monstrous after all.
PD Sept 2009 | 480pp