Kristin Cashore’s book transports readers into a world of fantasy


Photo by E. Schafer

“Graceling,” a book that takes readers on a life-changing adventure.

Ellie Schafer, Viking Voices Co-Editor

Kristin Cashore is the author of “The Graceling Realm” series, which consists of five books. The series is approximately 15 years old and isn’t widely known, but it is an amazing story. “Graceling” has won the New York’s Time’s Bestseller, the Mythopoeic Fantasy Award for Children’s Literature and many other awards.

In “Graceling,” there are seven kingdoms, each with its own king, and its own set of problems. In these kingdoms, certain people are gifted with extreme skills called Graces. Graces can be anything from singing, breathing underwater, to mind reading and even killing. The Graces do not always show themselves when the child is born; it may take up to five years before the Grace reveals itself in the form of heterochromia, the presence of two different colored eyes in one person.

This fantasy romance adventure book, follows Katsa, a strong, independent young woman whose Grace is one no one would wish for, the Grace of killing. Po, a Graced Lienid Prince when searching for his missing grandfather, finds himself entangled with Katsa. Po struggles with leading a normal life while hiding a life-altering secret.  Numerous other characters also change the lives of Katsa and Po.

Neither of these Gracelings are experienced with letting people in, for who would want to befriend a girl Graced with killing? But through something like fate, this unlikely pair finds themselves fighting unethical kings, saving the life of a young queen to-be, struggling through personal dilemmas and fighting for what they believe is right.

If you are looking for a fantasy book with medieval elements, adventure, relatable characters and sparks of romance, “Graceling” is a book that you might want to consider. I enjoyed reading about a protagonist was a strong female who knew when she wanted and wouldn’t back down. Cashore does a great job of showing how her characters mature and relationships grown throughout the series. I found this book to be absorbing, gripping and sweet – an all-around good read.