Graceling

Imagine that in your world, there are some people who are born with extraordinary abilities — “Graces.”  Those people are distinguished by having two different color eyes, and their abilities are amazing.  Some are graced with mind reading, some with storytelling, some with swimming or fighting. Katsa is graced with killing, and coming to terms with that Grace is quite a challenge for this young woman.

From the publisher:

Katsa has been able to kill a man with her bare hands since she was eight—she’s a Graceling, one of the rare people in her land born with an extreme skill. As niece of the king, she should be able to live a life of privilege, but Graced as she is with killing, she is forced to work as the king’s thug.

She never expects to fall in love with beautiful Prince Po.

She never expects to learn the truth behind her Grace—or the terrible secret that lies hidden far away . . . a secret that could destroy all seven kingdoms with words alone.

With elegant, evocative prose and a cast of unforgettable characters, debut author Kristin Cashore creates a mesmerizing world, a death-defying adventure, and a heart-racing romance that will consume you, hold you captive, and leave you wanting more.

Graceling is the first book by Kristin Cashore, and the first of two books (to be a trilogy before long) that take place in the Seven Kingdoms. It won the Mythopoeic Fantasy Award for Children in 2009 (although it is recommended for young adults), and is an impressive first novel. I loved the characters Cashore created, especially Katsa, who is a wonderfully strong and powerful young woman.  It was fun to immerse myself in the world of the Seven Kingdoms, and I look forward to reading more of this world. Cashore’s second novel, Fire, is out in hardback now, and is a prequel to Graceling.  I can’t wait to read it!  (On another note…I also have enjoyed reading Kristin Cashore’s blog.)

This is a perfect read for Carl V’s Once Upon a Time IV challenge, and I highly recommend it.

*”The Mythopoeic Society is a non-profit organization promoting the study, discussion, and enjoyment of fantastic and mythic literature through books and periodicals, annual conferences, discussion groups, awards, and more.”

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