Book #3 - Graceling by Kristin Cashore.
Worryingly my 3rd 'teen' novel of the year, I'm reading other things too, honest!
I first saw this reviewed on Karenika's blog and wanted to have a read of it. I was going to say that I don't usually read fantasy novels, but I like Terry Pratchett, Trudi Canavan, Tolkien, JK Rowling and Frank Beddor to name a few so I can't really make that claim. I like my fantasy worlds well thought out and I think Cashore stands up to the task. Although a lot of the names are either very unimaginative or a bit odd, but that might just be my Englishness.
It's a world where some are born gifted with a 'Grace', an exceptional skill, which for most is not a blessing and frequently turns out to be not as it seems. Katsa discovers at about 8 years of age that she has the Grace of killing and the path of her life is mapped out before her in bloodshed and grief until things begin to change with a chain of events starting with a royal kidnapping.
I enjoyed Graceling and it ended with me wanting more which is lucky as the book happened to contain a few pages from Cashore's 2nd book 'Fire'. I was a little worried at first as it reads like it is another fantasy world altogether and I have serious misgivings about the dilution of quality when a writer invents multiple fantasy worlds, but all is not lost as the reviews reassure me that it is the same world and forms a kind of prequel to Graceling.
You can't read Graceling without considering what your own Grace would be. I have concluded that I have only one option - the Grace to eat chocolate, cake and crisps without putting on any weight. However, how I could adapt this Grace for the greater good is still unclear.
** Kate **