Booktalk: Graceling by Kristin Cashore

Graceling cover

Graceling is an exciting and dark fantasy story featuring a conflicted female protagonist who will alternately make readers root for her and fear her.  Now, while I happen to be a female reader who enjoys fantasy novels, I know that books that are perceived as “girl books” and “fantasy books” have the potential to turn off prospective readers (especially boys).  Which is why I happen to be a big fan of this cover — yes, there’s a girl on the cover, but we can only see one of her eyes, and that eye is reflected in a shiny weapon!  So I’m pretty sure that a boy could be seen reading this book without risk of being thrown out of the testosterone club.

Oh, and BTW, my prep work for this episode led me to a very handy website that I’d like to share.  When browsing around on Kristin Cashore’s website to double-check the pronunciation of her name (I had two guesses, and they both turned out to be wrong), I followed her directions to this lovely author name pronunciation guide!  It’s very handy if you’d like to find out just how many authors’ names you’ve been mis-pronouncing all this time (oops!) so that you can correct those mistakes in the future.  And it’s why I now know that “Scieszka” rhymes with “Fresca” and that “Riordan” uses a long “i” sound, like in “rye bread.”


Katsa is a very unusual girl.
She is strong-willed and independent.
She has one blue eye and one green eye.
And she can kill a grown man with her bare hands.

Usually she doesn’t kill them, though.  Usually she tortures them, these men who don’t meet the demands of her uncle, the king.

When Katsa first showed signs of having two-colored eyes, everyone waited to see what her Grace would turn out to be.  Some people with different-colored eyes were natural experts at something practical, like cooking or sewing.  Some had a less impressive ability, like being an expert in swimming.

But when Katsa was a little girl, she killed a man with her bare hands.  That’s when everyone realized what her Grace was … and that’s when everyone became afraid of her.

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