by Kristin Cashore Book 1 of the Graceling Realm Series

Katsa—a disarmingly strong female protagonist—is a “graceling,”... read more

Katsa—a disarmingly strong female protagonist—is a “graceling,” someone who possesses a special skill or talent. Katsa’s skill is also her burden—she is an unbeatable assassin whom her uncle the king uses as his enforcer, a role Katsa despises. With a reputation as a deadly fighter, Katsa has few close allies, save her wizened advisor and brotherly cousin. When a stranger comes to their court, a graceling prince from a distant kingdom, Katsa meets her first true rival. Po seeks information regarding his kidnapped grandfather. Distrustful of each other’s strengths and knowledge, Katsa and Po lock horns, but their physical and emotional struggle soon leads to mutual if guarded respect. Embarking on a joint mission to discover the reason behind the kidnapping of Po’s grandfather, the two become friends, and then lovers. Their close bond becomes essential to their survival when they face an opponent whose grace is to manipulate people’s perception of truth—something far more frightening than any physical power. Sharp dialogue, intense action, and a mysterious plot reveal the deep layers in this rich fantasy from debut author Kristin Cashore bursting with adventure, magic, and romance. Of particular note is the relationship that develops between Katsa and Po, who experience tremendous growth as individuals in addition to becoming a couple whose lives are inextricably intertwined. (Age 13 and older)

© Cooperative Children's Book Center, Univ. of Wisconsin - Madison, 2009

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