Graphic Novel Review: Graceling: The Graphic Novel by Kristin Cashore, adapted and illustrated by Gareth Hinds

Graceling: The Graphic Novel by Kristin Cashore, adapted and illustrated by Gareth Hinds. Etch / Clarion, 2021. 9780358250425. 272pp.

Kat is one of the Graced, special individuals with differently colored eyes who have what I’m going to say is a super power. They are each the property of their unpredictable kings. Kat’s Grace is killing, which she found out when she was eight — she accidentally killed a man who grabbed her. King Randa has been sending her out to kill and intimidate on his behalf since she was ten, but with the help of the King’s spy, Oll, she’s also learned how not to kill. (This took years of training, fighting armed men in full armor. Yikes.)

Now she goes on missions, not just for her king, but also secretly, in disguise, on behalf of those who need her help. When she rescues an imprisoned royal, she crosses paths another Graced fighter, Po, who follows her home in search of his grandfather (the guys he rescued). This all leads to epic sparring matches, jealousy, friendship, and romance. Halfway through the story Kat sets off to do what she thinks is right, to help Po find out who kidnapped his grandfather.

This is the story of a powerful young woman figuring out how to do the right thing, a kind of medieval fantasy superhero graphic novel. I’ve loved Hinds’ graphic novel adaptations of classic literature, and it’s great to see him working in a different genre; he more than succeeds in bringing the characters and story to life, and his backgrounds and coloring work particularly well in this book.


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