Graceling by Kristin Cashore

Katsa, niece of the king of the Middluns is a graceling, or someone with an extreme skill. The skills range from anything between healing and fearlessness. The way you can tell someone’s “graced” is their two mismatched eyes. Katsa is graced with killing. Her uncle, the king of Middluns’s of course recognizes the immense advantage in this, and uses her to slaughter and torture whomever he wishes. She does this unhappily, for in her eyes, there is no other option. Her only secret is the organization, called The Council, that she and her friends, Prince Raffin of the Middluns, Lord Giddon, and spymaster Oll have created, dedicated to thwarting crime throughout the seven kingdoms of their world. One day, she’s on a mission to save the father of the Lineid (an island kingdom neighboring Middluns) king Ror, when she encounters a boy, graced with fighting. She’s intrigued and frightened, for he has skills to rival hers, which she thought no one had. So when he shows up at court, as none other than Prince Po of Lineid, she’s shocked. He’s come to find his grandfather, and find out why he was kidnapped in the first place. Everyone’s puzzled at the kidnapping, for King Ror’s father has no political advantage or rivals, he’s basically a harmless old man. But, as they begin to work together to solve the mystery , Katsa and Po discover a lead. Peaceful, humanitarian King Leck of Monsea, married to Po’s lovely aunt Ashen, is acting suspicious. At first, Katsa and Po are quick to dismiss it, King Leck has never waged any war with any war on any kingdom and even has a hospital for animals in his palace. Everyone they talk to can only say great things about him. So why did his wife and daughter lock themselves in their room? Grief? Katsa and Po decide to journey to Monsea to investigate, and unwittingly weave themselves into a web of lies and secrets, where no one is ever honest. They find betrayal and lies at every corner, and the people they thought they could trust may be the biggest liars of all. Kristin Cashore’s Graceling is a breathtakingly beautiful tale of politics, romance, survival, adventure, and mysteries that every fantasy lover must pick up.

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