Graceling (Seven Kingdoms Trilogy #1)

Graceling (Seven Kingdoms Trilogy #1)

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Graceling (Seven Kingdoms Trilogy #1)
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Age Range
14+
Release Date
October 01, 2008
ISBN
015206396X
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In a world where people born with an extreme skill - called a Grace - are feared and exploited, Katsa carries the burden of the skill even she despises: the Grace of killing. She lives under the command of her uncle Randa, King of the Middluns, and is expected to execute his dirty work, punishing and torturing anyone who displeases him.

When she first meets Prince Po, who is Graces with combat skills, Katsa has no hint of how her life is about to change.

She never expects to become Po's friend.

She never expects to learn a new truth about her own Grace - or about a terrible secret that lies hidden far away...a secret that could destroy all seven kingdoms with words alone.

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Overall rating 
 
3.7
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3.7  (3)
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Overall rating 
 
3.3
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3.0
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3.0
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4.0

Accessible Fantasy


Once I got past the point of thinking 'Katniss' every time I read 'Katsa', the book settled into a journey-based light fantasy with variable pacing. Though the worldbuilding gives off a distinctly euro-medieval feel, the “magic” elements are fairly original and the premise is intriguing.

Graceling takes place in a multi-climate world comprised of seven Kingdoms. Among the primary plot points is the fact that a small, undetermined number of people amid the population have a wide array of exceptional abilities that can range from cooking to fighting, marked by some form of Heterochromia iridis (i.e. possessing eyes that are of a distinctly different color from each other.) These special individuals are referred to as “Gracelings” and are typically claimed by their region’s king, unless they turn out to have a grace that proves useless to their Lord (i.e. a Graceling in a dessert kingdom with a Grace for swimming, etc.)



The story is written in third-person limited, exclusively from the POV of a young Graceling woman called Katsa. The orphaned niece of a petty and cruel king, Katsa’s Grace is unmatched in terms of her capacity to fight and kill. As such, her uncle has spent years using her as his own personal torturer, enforcer, and assassin. But Katsa’s conscience has gradually led her to defy him—if only in minor ways—and she forms a sort of do-gooder council in secret, hoping to right a few wrongs done by some of the more tyrannical kings across the land. It’s on a council mission to rescue a kidnapped old man that she encounters a far-reaching mystery, along with a handsome Graceling fighter, and her quiet path of resistance is pushed to a point of no return.

Katsa is what we used to refer to in the text-based gaming world as: 'Twinky.' ( i.e. All of her stats are ridiculously high.) She is abnormally good at -everything-, outside of empathy, to the point where readers may not see much reason to be concerned for her. Beyond that, Katsa can be difficult to sympathize with up until the final 1/4th of the book when Bitterblue comes into play and she is forced to put the child before her own goals (although, granted, her long-term wants and goals beyond “freedom” are never really explored.)

While this reader always appreciates a strong female lead, this story’s heroine managed to come off as too much of a good thing. This one is bullheaded, quick-tempered, and is consistently unfeeling—bordering on abusive—in her treatment toward horses. Katsa also goes well beyond the title of Tomboy—showing a pervasive and judgmental contempt for femininity in any and all forms. She is never once concerned about her appearance, not even in regards to her love-interest, and openly looks down on women who aren’t enough like her (i.e. stubbornly aggressive and romantically non-committal.) If this were simply her starting point, that would be believable—plenty of room to grow. But outside of increasing self-confidence, she shows precious little character development by the end of the tale.
(There is, however, a fair amount of character growth in Po (the sweet, lovesick martyr), with the most extensive evolution shown in Bitterblue—despite how little of the book she’s actually featured in.)

Just to be clear, I don’t personally have a problem with a heroine whose preference is to never marry or bear children. But when the established world marks this decision as highly unusual, a degree of justification would be a courtesy to the reader (along with a way to belay concerns over author intrusion.) Unfortunately, there wasn’t anything compelling in Katsa’s limited backstory that aided in rationalizing her militant hostility toward either concept. She has little memory of her parents, and there’s no account of them having a negative or abusive relationship. Her eventual bonding with Bitterblue doesn’t cause her to even momentarily reconsider her stance on procreating. It felt as though her organic development as a character was forced into a contrived mold.

One noteworthy drawback to the worldbuilding involves the fact that the story is meticulously sterile of religion. No belief systems are mentioned; no symbology, no architectural or artistic influence, no point of morality guidance... not even swearing. (They swear on their kingdoms.) While this admittedly makes the work a simpler and quicker read (and likely a safer bet to mass-market), it also feels a bit like a painting that’s missing a color. In addition there is, sadly, no origin lore offered and no speculation on the cause of gracelings (hereditary, ethnic, environmental, magical, or otherwise.) This may be addressed in future books, of course...

Content Note: To those young adults and parents to whom it may concern, this book does contain several sex scenes—though they are not graphically described and it at least makes some reference to a form of herbal birth control. The first (and longest) sex scene occurs in the middle of the book, almost immediately after the hero and heroine’s first kiss. Some may not care for how this breaks the romantic tension, if they don’t outright object to the message it seems to be sending its intended audience.

What stands even more on the unusual side is the heroine’s doggedly ambiguous status toward the hero—her unexplained disdain toward marriage and insistence on being free to leave him at any time. (Rather than female-empowering, this unfortunately comes off as an effort to glorify relational instability in a manner that wouldn’t be well received or admirable were the stances of the hero and heroine reversed.) As a result, I regret this one doesn’t earn the goddaughter-approved recommendation.

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Kept Me Reading

The plot was interesting and twisty-turny enough to keep me reading. The characters were also interesting, although by the end, Katsa felt like she just stopped growing and progressing as a character. I loved Po, though. LOVED PO. *hugs Po* The strange thing about this book was that while the world building was really amazing, and I felt invested in the characters, it felt like the true climax to the story happened a good 80 pages before the book actually ended. However, I was invested, so I kept reading, and I'm glad I read the book. It's a solid debut for Cashore, and I'm sure we'll see even greater stories in the future.

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A Fantasy of Growth and Courage

Graceling, by Kristin Cashore is a wonderful fantasy.  In the Seven Kingdoms, certain people are Graced with superb abilities.  Some people can fight, some read minds, some swim.  These Gracelings are identified because their eyes are two different colors.  So it is with Katsa, niece of King Randa of Middluns.  Katsas grace is her superhuman fighting ability and, as such, at a young age she became an enforcer for His Majesty. 




Only sixteen, she now realizes that some of the royalty of the Seven Kingdoms are corrupt.  In an effort to create peace, she organizes The Council, which tries to head off evil-doing.  On a Council errand to Sunderland to rescue the kidnapped father of the Leonid King Ror, she meets Po, King Rors youngest son searching for his grandfather.  Ignorant of his identity, she engages him in combat and bests him&but does not kill him.  Thus she is surprised, upon her return to Middluns, to find Po a guest in Randas castle.




Although Grandfather is found, it is unclear why he was kidnapped in the first place.  Po is determined to travel the Seven Kingdoms to uncover the truth.  Katsa is forced to flee Middluns and accompany him when she is exiled because she did not carry out Randas command to torture a subject.  Thus begins a long, wearing journey which tests Katsas and Pos endurance as well as binds them in strong bonds of love and friendship.




Cashores first novel contains a fine mixture of action and romance.  Katsa is a wonderful character, just beginning to mature.  Someone who has been ordered about for so long, never being asked to think or opine on a subject, Katsa meets Po who tries convincing her to recognize and embrace her intelligence and talent.  Po is a strong character, self confident enough to nurture and appreciate Katsa.  They make a great combination.  It is nice to see someone mature into a person you would want to know.




Offsetting the intensity of Katsa and Po are a group of characters, both likeable and not, who add dimension to the story:  the horrible King Leck and his sweet daughter Bitterblue, Katsas handmaid Helda, Middluns Prince Raffin and many others.  Cashores description of the fantasy Seven Kingdoms is marvelous and her description of Katsas trek through the mountains with Bitterblue is gripping.  And while the ending might be a bit pat, it doesnt take away any of the pleasure of reading Graceling. 




Graceling
is another of my top 10 books for 2009.  Transport yourself to the Seven Kingdoms and enjoy the journey.

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Overall rating 
 
2.7
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3.0
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3.0
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2.0

Intriguing But Slow

A minority of people are gifted with special abilities that are marked by mismatched eyes, these are known as the Graced. They are treated with disdain, fear and hate. Used as servants and weapons they belong to their King, having little to no freedom of their own. The seven kings are often at war with each other using Gracelings gifted with great fighting skills as their swords. The main character Katsa is one such Graceling serving her uncle King Randa. Unfortunately for her, she is gifted with the ability to kill, hence making her feared by all and used as her uncle's own personal thug.

Katsa uses her gifts for good as well; secretly creating a Council that aims to protecting the average person from the idiocy of the seven kings. She rescues the father of the Lienid king taking the interest of Prince Po from Lienid. Po is also a Graceling gifted with fighting and has one silver and one gold eye. Together they escape Katsa's uncle, searching for the truth of why the grandfather was kidnapped. However, they get more than they bargained for; discovering horrible secrets about Po's family, the Graced and the royalty of a neighbouring kingdom.

I loved the strong female character of Katsa. She is a woman who can defend herself and those she loves, survive pretty much anything and kicking butt while doing so! Bitterblue, a young princess is also a strong girl who survives a lot of physical and emotional difficulties.

It was a bit slow in the middle but the end had a good twist. It was written well with good development of the main characters, Graced abilities and the world they live in.

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4.0
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4.0
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4.0

Graced with Difference

Yet another book leaving me pondering what sort of supernatural/magical/fantastical power I would like to have if I was forced to choose. In Kristin Cashore’s “Graceling,” people don’t get to choose this power, they are born with it and it’s called a Grace. A Grace is an exceptional talent at a given skill. There are Graced swimmers, chefs, climbers, and for Katsa, Cashore’s main character, she is Graced with fighting. She can beat the living daylights out of anyone who messes with her, regardless of whether she’s armed or not, or facing just one foe or an army of enemies. Homegirl has got skills.

It is because of this extreme skill in certain violent things like fighting that not everyone is jazzed with people who have a Grace, known as Gracelings. Instead, most people in Cashore’s fictional seven kingdoms fear those who are supernaturally talented because their powers can be used for evil and control rather than good. Katsa feels like a leper because most people shy away from her for fear that she’ll knock ‘em into next week at the slightest annoyance. Ultimately, Katsa feels Cursed rather than Graced.

This whole book highlights the fear of difference, and I think that’s a great theme kids need to read about. Even though it’s 2012, kids are still sent messages of fear regarding race, religion, gender and sexuality. Cashore seems to be sending the message to embrace all differences and use them for positive means. Katsa may be one stellar fighter, but she uses her skills to protect the weak and defenseless. “Graceling” shows us that what may be seen as differences can also be seen as strengths, and that’s one fact that many kids would be Graced to learn.

Good Points
Fun new powers to fantasize about.
Medieval realness - Sometimes you need a good kingdom or kingdoms in turmoil.
Uncommon female protagonist whose aggressiveness is refreshing.
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4.3
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5.0
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4.0
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4.0

Enjoyable

Here's your disclosure: I read this book in February. It is now August. Do the math.

I really liked Katsa and I REALLY liked Po. They were both interesting characters and just...lovely. Even if Katsa does have to kill and torture people. I mean...it wasn't her choice.

The story was really interesting and definitely took some turns I didn't expect. Especially towards the end? Like...total shock to me, some of what happens. I loved reading it and getting totally stumped about what would happen next.

And there is romance of the awesome variety. I really, really loved how their story ended in this book. It was different and wonderful and just...yes. All the yes. *hugs romance*

Graceling is well written, well developed, and has some epic things going on between the covers. While I didn't fall head-over-heels super-in-love like most people seem to, I did really enjoy Graceling and fully intend to read Fire and maybe read Bitterblue if I can ever get my hands on it.

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(Updated: July 19, 2012)
Overall rating 
 
3.3
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3.0
Characters 
 
3.0
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4.0

Not for me

Kristin Cashore’s Graceling was definitely a read with a very formulaic storyline but with some atypical characters. While there are elements that I truly enjoyed, I thought the storyline was fairly predictable and the adventure didn’t give enough time for the characters to truly grow as I feel the point of most adventure books should be. The main character Katsa, was interesting as a lead but could have been explored further. The premise could have also been probed a little more thoroughly.

There were a few characters, as I mentioned above, who stood out, like the main character Katsa and her companion Po. I liked that the author chose a truly independent and strong female character as the lead. I think it’s always empowering as a female to read about such individuals. So, seeing how she broke away from the typical female lead was refreshing. Her relationship with Po was also something I enjoyed. They questioned a lot of the typical male-female roles of that time period which are still valid today. For example, the idea of marriage and kids and everything they represented. I definitely admired Katsa’s individuality and her strong sense of will.

The premise of the story was something that definitely appealed to me as a reader who doesn’t read a lot of fantasy, but the delivery of the idea left something to be desired. Essentially, it was about a female who lived in this world where something called a “grace” existed. I wish this idea would have been explored a little more because it had the potential to create a very different world with problems and ideas that could still be relevant today. There were no shocking finales or plot twists that were strong enough to keep me interested which is something I definitely look for when reading fantasy. The heroine had a task that was to be carried out and she did.

Now, talking about the writing, it was something I was happy with. In all its simplicity, it was generally very descriptive and overall the details were vivid. The dialogue was, similarly, expressive and for that reason, I enjoyed reading the various conversations between the characters.

Overall, this book was not one of my favorites. That was not to say that it was terrible in any way. There were some interesting elements that could have been explored and I felt the author didn’t take advantage of its full potential. I would have loved to learn more about the Kingdoms and their history with each other and how they all connected back to our main characters. I liked the main character because of her sense of independence at a time when freedom was not celebrated for women. However, I have to admit, Katsa’s character and her relationship with Po were the only things that kept me reading.

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Beautiful fantasy story, I just wish I liked Katsa more

I can see why Graceling is so well-loved by so many people. The writing is fantastic, and the world-building exquisite. I love the idea of this fantasy world where certain people have what essentially amounts to mutant powers. The notion of the different-colored eyes marking the Graced is great, as is the exploration of how the inhabitants of the different kingdoms view the Graced. In one kingdom, the Graced are honored, where in another, they are shamed. It’s a very subtle look at prejudices and stereotypes woven throughout the plot, and how those perceptions impact an individual’s self-image, and I thought it was very well done.

The plot was also lovely. I enjoyed the action, and although I’ve read several reviews that thought the pacing was slow and the length ponderous, I thought it moved rather quickly. Maybe that’s because most of the fantasy I read is adult. This book was certainly longer than a lot of YA fare, but I thought the length was justified by the story.

Po was a fantastic character. I liked him immediately. I loved that he was nuanced and flawed, and I was surprised along with Katsa when new facts were revealed about him. There are certain parts of the book where Po is not present, and while they are extremely exciting and tense, I was still slightly distracted wishing Po was there. It’s always fun when a book makes me actually miss a character when he’s not around.

I also loved the character of Princess Bitterblue, who is the focal point of one of the companion novels. While she was a child, I admired her attitude and spunk, and I enjoyed reading about her.

I did have a few issues with the book, and these were just matters of preference, not of the storytelling or the writing. I was not a huge fan of Katsa. I understood why she was the way she was, and I definitely acknowledge that she is a far cry from many of the helpless damsels in distress that are abundant in YA literature. However, her extremely guarded and untrusting nature didn’t make her a character I really enjoyed reading about. Don’t get me wrong – I enjoyed the story that she was involved in, I just didn’t really enjoy her. And although she does exhibit some growth during the course of the book, it wasn’t enough to make me really like her by the end.

I also was a bit let down by the climax of the book (which actually occurs several chapters before the ending). It seemed kind of lacking after so much build-up. Now, I’m not entirely sure how it could have been done better or differently; I just know that after I finished reading it, my thought was, “Oh, that was it?”

However, as an overall story, Graceling excelled. And considering neither of the companion novels focus on Katsa, I’m extremely interested in reading more about this beautiful fantasy world and the amazing characters that populate it.

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Overall rating 
 
5.0
Plot 
 
5.0
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5.0
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5.0

Best of the Seven Kingdoms

I loved this book the most because I think that it was not as boring as Bitterblue (more action) and Fire was a bit to off the topic of Graceling, and it was also very wrong with Archer. Now he was a weirdo.

I think Katsa's grace was a an awesome one. I love how the author made everyone think that she was graced with killing, and that she was a tough chick who cannot be broken. She was not though, Po got to her, and her shield dropped slowly. The grace of survival is probably one of the best things you can be graced with, as it includes killing, but only when time needs be. She also can survive the most extreme conditions in the world, which is pretty wicked. Katsa was a kick-ass character and she was a powerful women who did not think like posh women who cannot get their hands dirty. She is a lady that proves that they can be better than men, as we are.

I thought Po was overreacting near the end of the book, why would he think that Katsa would not love him anymore because he was blind (sorta). I think his brain must of been joggled around when his eyes failed on him, as he was not thinking straight at all. But other than that, I thought Po was an awesome character, who always thinks before he acts. This is one of the best traits to have, but sometimes he thinks to hard and sees everything the wrong way.

The plot was pretty good, and Leck was a great villain. He was such a good villain as no one realised that he was. No one rebelled against his rule because they were all fooled by his grace. The only one who really did was Katsa, and I thought that was perfect, as she did not join another group, and this made her even more important than what she was before.

I thought that this book was perfect, and I think this was the best of the Seven Kingdoms books. I think everyone should read this if they want to experience reading at its best.

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Overall rating 
 
5.0
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5.0
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5.0
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5.0

I think this was the best of the Seven Kingdoms books

I loved this book the most because I think that it was not as boring as Bitterblue (more action) and Fire was a bit to off the topic of Graceling, and it was also very wrong with Archer. Now he was a weirdo.

I think Katsa's grace was a an awesome one. I love how the author made everyone think that she was graced with killing, and that she was a tough chick who cannot be broken. She was not though, Po got to her, and her shield dropped slowly. The grace of survival is probably one of the best things you can be graced with, as it includes killing, but only when time needs be. She also can survive the most extreme conditions in the world, which is pretty wicked. Katsa was a kick-ass character and she was a powerful women who did not think like posh women who cannot get their hands dirty. She is a lady that proves that they can be better than men, as we are.

I thought Po was overreacting near the end of the book, why would he think that Katsa would not love him anymore because he was blind (sorta). I think his brain must of been joggled around when his eyes failed on him, as he was not thinking straight at all. But other than that, I thought Po was an awesome character, who always thinks before he acts. This is one of the best traits to have, but sometimes he thinks to hard and sees everything the wrong way.

The plot was pretty good, and Leck was a great villain. He was such a good villain as no one realised that he was. No one rebelled against his rule because they were all fooled by his grace. The only one who really did was Katsa, and I thought that was perfect, as she did not join another group, and this made her even more important than what she was before.

I thought that this book was perfect, and I think this was the best of the Seven Kingdoms books. I think everyone should read this if they want to experience reading at its best.

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Overall rating 
 
5.0
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5.0
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5.0
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5.0

Graceling

I read both Graceling and Fire, but I really think that Graceling was the better of the two.

I love all the characters. Katsa is an really great protagonist. She's so strong, independent and she hates being feminine, which I think is pretty great. I really like the survival Grace... sigh, I wish I had that Grace, it would be so cool, except for he reputation that she gets. I think its pretty funny how she is so good at fighting and working things out alert, and yet she has no clue about how love works.

I reckon that some people might find Katsa's anti-feminine thing and how she really has no plans of getting married or having children a little offensive or just weird, but I really liked it.

The book begins with Katsa, with her two companions, rescuing "Grandfather". Here we start getting a little taste of Katsa's extraordinary fighting skills. She successfully knocks out all of the guards, rescues Grandfather, and gets out of there without any catch. Almost. On the way out, she meets a mysterious Lienid stranger (Lienid is the where Grandfather comes from). He says he trusts her, but she is not so sure. She knocks him out anyway, because you can never be too sure.

But... back at her home, suddenly a mysterious stranger, a prince called Po, turns up. Katsa finally finds someone who's fighting skills rivals her own. And when she discovers that it is the same man she met on her first mission. Questions begin to arise in Katsa's mind. Why hasn't this man reported her? Why would someone kidnap Grandfather, an old man? How does it all connect? As Katsa begins to delve deeper into this mystery, she discovers things she would have never considered...

I won't tell you anymore, since I wouldn't want to spoil the book.

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(Updated: September 29, 2012)
Overall rating 
 
5.0
Plot 
 
5.0
Characters 
 
5.0
Writing Style 
 
5.0

Graceling by Kristin Cashore

-

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Overall rating 
 
4.7
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5.0
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5.0

This book cost me so much sleep!

Christopher Hsu
Mrs. Poulsen
English 10B
March 12, 2012
Graceling Book Review
The perfect blend between mystery, romance , and supernatural powers can be found in the novel Graceling by Kristen Cashore. The mind-blowing book’s plot revolves around a Graced fighter Katsa, as well as another Graced fighter, Po. Gracelings, they are called, for they possess a Grace, or a special prowess at something. Because of a mysterious kidnapping of a harmless old man in which motives are unknown, the two fighters from different countries unite to find the truth about the causes of this kidnapping. Along with mystery, their growing affection for each other contributes to a variety of character changes of traits throughout their journey. The conversations between people in this book are fairly realistic, incorporating real life human thought processes behind the words. As the book progresses and the two grow more and more affectionate about each other, one can sense the hints of love and playfulness in between the once plain mysterious conversations. The change of traits in characters makes it even more realistic and appealing to the reader. It makes it that much more compelling. The fact that the author gives hints and little foreshadows about what is going to happen allows the reader to want to keep on reading. Another effect of foreshadowing is that it gives the reader some space for imagination, it allows them to guess what is going to happen and compare it with the actual outcome of the book. As one reads, the puzzle begins to piece together which gives a fulfilling feeling when reading. Another factor providing appeal are the humorous details hidden in the dialogue which adds seasoning to the highly suspenseful and romantic conversations. No book would be perfect without a certain amount of humor in it. One interesting part about this book that separates it from the others is that it states something insignificant about a person, but turns out to be one of the most important characteristics of the character, thus adding even more character arc which makes them more real. One last thing that I loved was that the descriptions of scenery in this book really appeals to the senses, the author does a great job painting the picture in your mind. She uses precise descriptions to make the book three dimensional. Considering all of these aspects, I give this book five stars. Personally, I think this novel attended to all of my desires in a book. The magical ratio of romance, mystery, and the supernatural was what compelled me the most. I would recommend this to teenagers like me and people interested in this genre of novels.

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5.0
"Mr. Kermit is entering his 30th year of teaching, and he's already put in for early retirement. He started his..."
On Blood Road (A Vietnam War Novel)
 
5.0
"Taylor Sorenson is a typical rebellious teen of 1968, sneaking out of his posh apartment to hang out with friends..."
Right as Rain
 
3.0
"Rain's family has experienced a tragedy-- her older brother was killed in a car accident. The mother thinks that the..."
Eventown
 
3.0
"Elodee's family is struggling for reasons that aren't clear, and she and her twin sister Naomi are not getting along...."
Scream and Scream Again
 
5.0
"I found some stories to be a lot more scary or interesting than others but the whole book was enjoyable...."
How Do I Love Thee?
 
5.0
"HOW DO I LOVE THEE is a beautifully illustrated children's book that is based on Elizabeth Barrett Browning's "Sonnet 43"...."
Privateer's Apprentice
 
4.0
"Privateer themed books can so easily go the way of the ridiculous and over the top. Not so with Privateer’s..."
Louisiana's Way Home
 
5.0
" I want to hug this book and never let go. Louisiana Elefante is cursed. She is hopeful..."
Unbound: A Novel in Verse
 
3.0
"All her life, Grace has been told the rules she must follow to survive: keep eyes down, keep mouth shut,..."
Time Jumpers: Escape from Egypt
 
3.0
"Time Jumpers: Escape from Egypt offers lengthier chapter book reading, while still offering delightful illustrations more familiar to young readers..."
Mangoes, Mischief, and Tales of Friendship
 
3.0
"This book took me right back to my childhood! But what’s interesting is that the stories in this book aren’t..."
Zora & Me: The Cursed Ground
 
5.0
" Reading stories set during the time of slavery twists the stomach into a knot. Though most of us..."
Laugh-Out-Loud A+ Jokes for Kids (Laugh-Out-Loud Jokes for Kids)
 
3.5
"Yet another collection of clean kid’s jokes in the LOL series, this slim paperback offers fresh school-themed humor. As with..."
The Third Mushroom
 
4.0
"Ellie's grandfather Melvin, who turned himself into a teenager in The Fourteenth Goldfish, has gotten tired of traveling and has..."
A Long Line of Cakes
 
3.0
"'A Long Line of Cakes' by Deborah Wiles, set in a comfortably cozy town where everyone knows each other, captures..."
Are You Scared, Darth Vader?
 
5.0
" This is a fun, cute, beautifully illustrated childrens book. What scares Darth Vader? Not wolfman, vampires, ghosts or kids!..."