You may feel like you just finished reading The Graceling Realm series, but the current reader who is 16 years old was 8 when this book was published. Some young adult literature has a short shelf-life; pop culture references, trends, technology, even the language teens use to communicate, evolves. Fantasy is often more enduring because the worlds are entirely different from our own, yet the conflicts and themes are universal.
Katsa lives in a world where Gracelings are commonplace. Gracelings are noted by the fact that they have two different colored eyes and a special skill or ability. The skill may be as simple as being an excellent baker or climber, or an excellent swordsman or archer, but it can also be more complicated than that. Katsa’s grace is unique; Her ability is to kill. It does not matter the size or strength of her opponent, Kasha will kill them before they even have time to register what is happening.
However, even with this remarkable power, Katsa is being used by the king, her uncle, as nothing more than muscle. Katsa hates this, but even though she is secretly fighting back and trying to undo the evil her uncle has created, she is still scared to stand up to him. Until she meets Po. Running into Po was an accident. They were both on a mission to save a former king, now known as Prince Tealiff, who was kidnapped. Kasha is doing this undercover as her way to give back for the cruel services performed through her uncle. Po is doing this because this former king is his grandfather. Who kidnapped Prince Tealiff? Why would he matter now? Po plans on finding out and asks Kasha to assist him, which her uncle refuses. Can Katsa find her inner strength to leave the kingdom she has grown up in and help Po and his family? This fantasy novel will keep you on your feet as you go through the multiple layers of deception, danger, and depth. The guarded romance adds to the complicated relationship between Katsa and Po.