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Gracelingby Kristin Cashore
Synopses & Reviews
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.
"In a land of seven kingdoms, people with special talents, called Gracelings, are identified by their eyes — Katsa's are green and blue, one of each — although she's eight before her specific Grace is identified as a talent for killing. (While in the court of her uncle, King Randa, she swiped at a man attempting to grope her and struck him dead.) By 18 she's King Randa's henchwoman, dispatched to knock heads and lop off appendages when subjects disobey, but she hates the job. As an antidote, she leads a secret council whose members work against corrupt power, and in this role, while rescuing a kidnapped royal, she meets the silver-and-gold — eyed Po, the Graced seventh son of the Lienid king. That these two are destined to be lovers is obvious, though beautiful, defiant Katsa convincingly claims no man will control her. Their exquisitely drawn romance (the sex is offstage) will slake the thirst of Twilight fans, but one measure of this novel's achievements lies in its broad appeal. Tamora Pierce fans will embrace the take-charge heroine; there's also enough political intrigue to recommend it to readers of Megan Whalen Turner's Attolia trilogy. And while adult readers, too, will enjoy the author's originality, the writing is perfectly pitched at teens struggling to put their own talents to good use. With this riveting debut, Cashore has set the bar exceedingly high. Ages 14 — up." Publishers Weekly (Starred Review) (Copyright Reed Business Information, Inc.)
"An assured fantasy debut....In a tale filled with graphic violence and subtle heartbreak, gentle passion and savage kindness, matter-of-fact heroics and bleak beauty, no defeat is ever total and no triumph comes without cost. Grace-full, in every sense." Kirkus Reviews (Starred Review)
"Cashore...creates believable characters with enough depth, subtlety, and experience to satisfy older readers....An impressive first novel." Booklist (Starred Review)
"With a butt-kicking but emotionally vulnerable heroine, [Graceling] should appeal to fans of recent girl-power urban fantasies as well as readers who've graduated from Tamora Pierce's Tortall series." The Horn Book Magazine
"Cashore treats readers to compelling and eminently likable characters and a story that draws them in from the first paragraph....This is gorgeous storytelling: exciting, stirring, and accessible. Fantasy and romance readers will be thrilled." School Library Journal (Starred Review)
"Here's a wow of a book! Seeing half-wild Katsa learn humanity as she battles soldiers, storms, and her own obsessive nature — I had to know how it ended!" Tamora Pierce
"Cashore juggles her complicated plot with dexterity rivaling Katsa's....Cashore writes with an assurance that captures the reader....Intrigue, death, love, a little sex, and pitched battles create a sure winner for mature fantasy fans." VOYA
With elegant, evocative prose and a cast of unforgettable characters, a debut author creates a mesmerizing medieval world, a death-defying adventure, and a heart-racing romance that will captivate readers.
Romantic medieval fantasy from a debut author
This dark and thrilling adventure, with an unforgettable heroine, will captivate fans of steampunk, fantasy, and romance.
On her 18th birthday, Lena Mattacascar decides to search for her father, who disappeared into the northern wilderness of Scree when Lena was young. Scree is inhabited by Peculiars, people whose unusual characteristics make them unacceptable to modern society. Lena wonders if her father is the source of her own extraordinary characteristics and if she, too, is Peculiar. On the train she meets a young librarian, Jimson Quiggley, who is traveling to a town on the edge of Scree to work in the home and library of the inventor Mr. Beasley. The train is stopped by men being chased by the handsome young marshal Thomas Saltre. When Saltre learns who Lenas father is, he convinces her to spy on Mr. Beasley and the strange folk who disappear into his home, Zephyr House. A daring escape in an aerocopter leads Lena into the wilds of Scree to confront her deepest fears.
Praise for The Peculiars
"McQuerry offers a brooding northwest setting touched by steampunk elements to tell a story that is in equal parts inventive fantasy, light romance, and thrilling adventure. With a backdrop as strong as its heroine, this one is a page-turner."
--Booklist, starred review
The Peculiars combines a teenage girls search for her identity with a setting that merges the genres of fantasy, gothic and steampunk. A light romance, a bit of adventure and the authors inclusion of historical notes complete this delightful offering.”
"Readers graduating from the stories of C.S. Lewis and Edward Eager will be right at home—and cat lovers will adore Jimsons employers pet, Mrs. Mumbles."
"A creative, entertaining, and wholly original fantasy."
--The Horn Book
"Richly atmospheric read."
YALSA 2013 Best Fiction for Young Adults
With the Brotherhood persecuting witches like never before, a divided Sisterhood desperately needs Cate to come into her Prophesied powers. And after Cate's friend Sachi is arrested for using magic, a war-thirsty Sister offers to help her find answers—if Cate is willing to endanger everyone she loves.
Cate doesn't want to be a weapon, and she doesn't want to involve her friends and Finn in the Sisterhood's schemes. But when Maura and Tess join the Sisterhood, Maura makes it clear that she'll do whatever it takes to lead the witches to victory. Even if it means sacrifices. Even if it means overthrowing Cate. Even if it means all-out war.
In the highly anticipated sequel to Born Wicked, the Cahill Witch Chronicles continue Cate, Maura and Tess's quest to find love, protect family, and explore their magic against all odds in an alternate history of New England.
About the Author
Kristin Cashore has written for The Horn Book Guide, The Looking Glass: An Online Children's Literature Journal, and Children's Literature in Education. She received a master's degree in children's literature from Simmons College. Graceling is Ms.Cashore's first novel. She lives in Jacksonville, Florida.
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