Cashore, Kristin. Graceling. Harcourt. 2008. ISBN 015206396X
Reader’s Annotation: Can Katsa use her Graceling skill to kill with ease and join Prince Po to help those who live under the tyranny of an evil king?
Plot summary: Gracelings are those born with an extreme skill in some area whether it be something as innocent as singing or more ominous like Katsa’s grace of killing others with her bare hands without breaking a sweat. She loathes her skill and her life as her tyrannical uncle’s control because he is King of the Middluns and he controls the fate of gracelings. When Katsa meets Prince Po she realizes that she can take control of her own destiny if she is brave enough to do so.
This is a fun and quick fantasy read with a strong, kick butt female heroine. We see her blossom from this little girl who is told she’s stupid and cursed because of her graceling into a strong woman who realizes her grace doesn’t have to be a curse. She can use her skills to help others which is a great message to get across to readers who may not realize they have strengths hidden inside of them that makes them special.
Po is a character readers will adore. He will catch girls’ hearts with his sexiness, confidence and kindness. He’s comfortable enough with who he is to not feel threatened by Katsa’s skills and in fact admires her every time she bests him in a fight.
The world Cashore built is amazing and the story is filled with action and adventure. The only minor issue was that at times the language felt too modern for the setting but otherwise a wonderful book for teens and adults alike.
About the author
On her blog Kristin Cashore talks about how when she grew up she loved to read and to daydream thus planting the seeds for her writing. She initially did educational writing for the K-6 market and then moved on to writing novels.
Graceling was nominated for the William C. Morris awards. Her second book, Fire, was actually more of a prequel to Graceling and the third book wraps up the series.
Book talking idea
If you could be born with any skill and be a natural master of it what would you pick?
Read Katsa’s first experience with her grace.
Grade 8 and up.
Why did I include this book?
It was a fantasy novel that I heard so much about and everyone I’ve spoken to loved it.