20 Jan Graceling by Kristine Cashore
Gracelingtakes place in a world of Seven Kingdoms in which a small number of people are born Graced, gifted with unusual and sometimes fearsome abilities. As a young girl, Katsa comes to the chilling realization that she has the Grace of Killing. With her parents dead, her uncle, King Randa of the Middluns, trains her until she becomes a feared and deadly lady killer, prisoner to his will and expected to do his bidding of torture and punishment.
Struggling for redemption from her terrifying Grace and to free herself from the tasks she is forced to perform, she creates the Council, an underground group of citizens and people of power that carries out missions in secret to help victims of the king’s abuses.
While on a Council mission to rescue old prince Tealiff from another kingdom, she is confronted by a mysterious foreigner, Prince Po, who is a Graced fighter. Katsa and Po unite to discover the truth about the kidnapping and undergo a journey that reveals truths about their Graces and exposes a secret that is a menace to all Seven Kingdoms.
A romantic fantasy tale set in a stunning world, Graceling captures realistic struggles in the life of a conflicted young woman who questions her nature as a person and her place in the world.
Learning through experience about the value of trust, Katsa realizes that society’s standards are not always the right ones and that the beauty of a Grace comes from knowing yourself.
Also by Kristin Cashore:
For more about Kristin Cashore, visit kristincashore.blogspot.com
Reviewed by Scarlett C., TAB@DBPL President 2010-2011, Reader Advisor since 2009