The ever-lucrative young-adult novel genre is continuously being mined for the next big Hollywood adaptation, and news hit last week that another popular book series is on its way to the big screen.
‘Graceling,’ by Kristin Cashore, takes place in a medieval fantasy world where a rare few people are born with a “Grace” — a sometimes frightening and often-misunderstood skill that’s easy to spot in people who have mismatched eyes. The heroine, Katsa, while not necessarily handy with a bow and arrow like a similarly prefixed ‘Hunger Games’ protagonist, has a Grace for killing, and when you’re the niece of a power-hungry king, that skill is called upon quite frequently. Having never met her match yet, Katsa is surprised to come across a mysterious stranger named Po who seems to have an equally dangerous Grace. When she learns he’s more interested in helping out his family than engaging in a duel to the death, Katsa wonders if it’s time to start fighting her own battles, which unfortunately means abandoning the only family she has left.
India-based Reliance Entertainment (‘Lincoln,’ ‘Cowboys and Aliens’) alongside Kintop Pictures (‘Bend it Like Beckham,’ ‘Buena Vista Social Club’) have acquired the film franchise, and British screenwriter Piers Ashworth (‘Nostradamus’) is set to pen the script for the first installment of the best-selling trilogy.
The book is an enjoyable read, and strong, complex characters bring a realistic and intriguing layer to the realm of storytelling. The deep universe-building will lend itself to beautifully detailed settings when translated to the screen, and the action — missing from such young adult adaptations as ‘Beautiful Creatures’ and ‘The Host’ and were worse off for it — could be an equal crowd-pleaser for fans of ‘The Hunger Games’ and next year’s ‘Divergent.’
No release date has been set.