Author: Kristin Cashore
Publication Date: 2008
Reading Level/Interest Age: 14 and up
Plot: Certain people live with powerful abilities and these people are called “Gracelings.” You can tell that they are graced because they have discolored eyes and most regal leaders have authority over them to do their bidding. Katsa is a graceling and she is graced with the art to kill. Her uncle Randa is the king of Middluns and he forces her to carry out his every order, which is usually to kill those who disobey him. Because Katsa complies, her reputation is seen as a vicious killing machine and everyone fears her when they catch sight of her. While on a rescue mission, she comes across a young man who is able to prevent each of her attacks and is startled by this and kidnaps him. She later finds out that he has a grace as well but she cannot quite figure out. Soon enough, she will discover what his ability is and his plans that he must carry out.
Critical Evaluation: The suspenseful twists and turns in this book are what excited me the most while reading. Cashore does a well done job at illustrating all the details from the dramatic stand stills to the action filled fighting sequences. Katsa’s realization of Po’s Grace creates heated moments between the two and sparks start to fly. When they both come to the conclusion that Katsa’s Grace is not the art of killing but the skill of survival, relieves both Katsa and the reader that she is not someone to be frightened of. Tragic happening on Po’s loss of his eyesight is quite a devastating event when Katsa finds out and the emotional struggle that he went through was almost heart wrenching.
Reader’s Annotation: Katsa has the ability to kill whoever she pleases, which takes a toll on herself. But all this changes when she meets a young man with an interesting ability as well.
Author: Retrieved from Kristin Cashore’s “A Short Bio” page on her official website –
“I grew up in the countryside of northeastern Pennsylvania in a village with cows and barns and beautiful views from the top of the hill and all that good stuff. I lived in a rickety old house with my parents, three sisters, and a scattering of cats, and I READ READ READ READ READ. I read while brushing my teeth, I read while chopping parsley, the first thing I reached for when I woke up in the morning was my book; the only two places I didn’t read were in the car and in bed. What did I do then? The one thing I liked even more than reading: I daydreamed.
And so, without knowing it, I was planting the seeds. Reading and daydreaming = perfect preparation for writing.
At 18 I went off to college– thank you, Williams College, for the financial aid that made this possible– and it almost killed me. College is hard, man, and the Berkshires are cloudy. A (phenomenal) year studying abroad in sunny Sydney revived me. After college I developed a compulsive moving problem: New York City, Boston, Cambridge, Austin, Pennsylvania, Italy, and even a short stint in London, where my showerhead hung from the cutest little stand that was exactly like the cradle of an old-fashioned telephone. The best phone calls are the pretend phone calls made from your telephone tub.
During my stint in Boston, I got an M.A. at the Center for the Study of Children’s Literature at Simmons College. (Thank you, Simmons, for the scholarship that made this possible!) Grad school almost killed me, but I felt a lot more alive than when I was almost being killed in college. The Simmons program is stupendous. It got me thinking and breathing YA books. It got me writing.
Since Simmons, I haven’t stopped writing, not once. I’ve developed a compulsive writing problem that makes my moving problem look like a charming personality quirk. I can’t stop! But it’s not actually a problem, because I don’t want to stop. I’ve been writing full-time for a bunch of years now, first doing educational writing for the K-6 market and now working on my novels. It’s a dream job, which is another way of saying that when I shop for work clothes, I go straight to the pajamas section.
A few years ago I grew tired of all the moving and dealt with it by, um, moving, from Jacksonville, Florida, to Cambridge, Massachusetts, trading the St. Johns River for the Charles River and pelicans for geese. As a native northerner, it’s nice to be back in the land of four seasons. I feel as if I’ve come home. :o)”
Curriculum Ties: N/A
- What abilities or graces could help a king rule his kingdom?
- Sexual content
- I would be sure to study and memorize the library’s collection policy.
- The Library Bill of Rights must also be brought to the challenger’s attention stating that the library is an information institution that provides both information and ideas.
- Have both good and bad reviews (from respected sources) about the book at hand.
- Remember to mention the awards and honors that the item has received.
- Be sure to listen to the person who is challenging the book and do not interrupt them while they are speaking. Try to understand where the patron is coming from when he or she states their concerns about the material.
- When you respond to the challenger, have a calm and respectable tone informing them that the library must do all that it can to provide intellectual freedom to its patrons, young and old.
Why This Book? I am always a fan of fantasy books and this one was one of the best that I have read so far.