Harcourt Children’s, 2008
Kristin Cashore’s Graceling is a novel that I’ve put off for years for no real reason. Bursting onto the scene in 2008 Graceling swept up a number of awards and nominations in Young Adult and Children’s categories including the Mythopoeic and was listed as one School Library Jounral’s Best Books of the Year. Graceling tells the story of Katsa who lives in a world where certain individuals are gifted with graces; extraordinary magical abilities that make those individuals well suited for a particular task. Katsa’s gift as a graceling is that of killing. Since a young age she has been trained and raised by her uncle to serve as his personal assassin and strongarm; eliminating rivals and threating his vassals should they step out of line. Along with some friends she has formed a group that looks to counterbalance her thuggish work. It is in the pursuit of this group’s aims that she finds herself drawn into the orbit of Prince Po, also graced with extraordinary combat skills, and sent on a journey of discovery that will unveil secrets of her own personality and will reveal the terrible truth behind a distant land.