* * * * */ Five Stars
Genre: Action, Adventure, Mystery, (mild) Humor, Suspense, Intrigue, Fantasy, (some slight) Romance
In this whimsical novel by Kristin Cashore, there are many realms and some 'extra special' (but highly discriminated against) people with eyes that are differently colored. They are called 'the graced'. The Gracelings can develop their talents at any age or stage in their life, and when they do, it is quite obvious what they are graced at. For example, if the first time you ever dance you may do so as if you were a professional, you are graced with dancing. The same is true for cooking, cleaning, sword-fighting, and anything else you can possibly imagine. When young Katsa punches her cousin in the face as a little girl to such effect that it breaks his nose, everyone, including herself, assumes her grace is fighting. Her uncle (the king), instead of sending her away, appoints her to be his own personal thug. Sent on missions to torture, collect info, fight in battles, and so much more, Katsa barely has much of any say in her destiny and is beginning to wonder what she wants. Then, one fateful day, she meets Prince Po, another royal from another realm that claims that he too shares this gift. As they become friends, her suspicious rise, and the flames fan around her kingdom. What will happen to her? And what secrets are yet to be uncovered?
I adored this 'colorful' and imaginative book. However, this book is probably more for a mature and developed audience. Anyways, I recommend it to any member of an older mental crowd that loves mystical worlds, pirates, magical beasts, and a taste for the extraordinary!