From School Library JournalStarred Review. Grade 8 Up—In this debut fantasy novel, Cashore treats readers to compelling and eminently likable characters and a story that draws them in from the first paragraph. In Katsa's world, the "Graced," those gifted in a particular way, are marked by eyes that are different colors. Katsa's Grace is that she is a gifted fighter, and, as such, she is virtually invincible. She is in the service of her tyrannical uncle, king of one of the seven kingdoms, and she is forced to torture people for infractions against him. She has secretly formed the Council, which acts in the service of justice and fairness for those who have been accused and abused. Readers meet her as she is rescuing the father of the Lienid king, who has been abducted. The reasons for his capture are part of a tightening plot that Katsa unravels and resolves, with the help of Prince Po, the captive's grandson. He has his own particular Grace, and he becomes Katsa's lover and partner in what becomes a mortally dangerous mission. Cashore's style is exemplary: while each detail helps to paint a picture, the description is always in the service of the story, always helping readers to a greater understanding of what is happening and why. This is gorgeous storytelling: exciting, stirring, and accessible. Fantasy and romance readers will be thrilled.—Sue Giffard, Ethical Culture Fieldston School, New York City
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- Reading level: Young Adult
- Paperback: 480 pages
- Publisher: Graphia; Reprint edition (September 7, 2009)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 0547258305
- ISBN-13: 978-0547258300
I don't like the author's opinions about marraige which she reflects on Katsa who does not get married and can't think she ever will because she would lose her "independent spirit." Her character is not as memorable or developed as some and while entertaining was not an "instant bridge" for me into her world.