Graceling Realm Series

Micayla Aycock, Writer

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When Leck, a graceling boy from the Seven Kingdoms, falls through the mountains into the Dells, he sets in motion events that will lead to his becoming a king.

The Graceling Realm series, by Kristin Cashore, is made up of three individual books: Graceling, Fire, and Bitterblue.

Each book, though having some of the same characters, embraces its own individual story. These tales of three individuals have been woven together by the might and magnitude of one man’s monstrous deeds.

Even though each book alone is incredible and could very easily be a stand-alone novel, they are better when read together. Each book sheds light onto aspects of the other stories that readers may never have noticed if they haven’t read the other books.

Graceling is the first book of the series, but some prefer to read its companion book, Fire, first. Both books can be read in any order without confusing the reader. Bitterblue on the other hand would probably be easier to understand if you have already read Graceling.

Fire

In the Dells there are creatures that, despite having the form of normal animals, are anything but normal.

What makes these monsters different from all of the normal creatures of the Dells is their ability to control the minds of humans and their beautiful, yet, unnatural colorations.

There are purple cats, orange mice, blue dogs, and many more possible color combinations. Some monsters, like the cat and dog type, are harmless, but others, like the vibrant raptors that prowl the sky or the leopards that lurk in the mountains, are lethal predators.

Animals are not the only ones that have monstrous counterparts. There was a time when there where numerous human monsters in the Dells, but now there is only one human monster left.

Her name is Fire.

Fire’s monstrous beauty has always brought out the best and the worst in people. Those with weak minds are not capable of–or simply choose not to–remaining in control of themselves in Fire’s presence. They often lack the mental barriers that stronger-minded people have constructed to protect themselves from the monstrous beauty that gives Fire her name.

Her hair is red but not just one shade of red. It is every possible shade, creating an illusion of her hair being fire.

Unlike other monsters, Fire is unwilling to use her mental powers to take advantage of others. She doesn’t want to steal people’s secrets when she has so many of her own that she tries to keep hidden.

Despite not misusing her powers, many people in the Dells hate Fire because of the havoc her father, Cancsrel, causes as the King’s most trusted adviser. Because of possible treats to his daughter in King City, where Cancsrel spent most of his time, Cancsrel sent Fire away to his other home in the mountains where Fire has spent most of her life.

But now Cancsrel and King Nax are dead, Nash, one of Nax’s children, is now on the throne and a war between the lords is brewing. If Nash is to have any chance of protecting his throne and his kingdom, he will need Fire’s aid.

While Fire and her companions are focused on the obvious threats to the throne, a boy with mismatched eyes full of malaise sets his sights not on the throne but on Fire. Will Fire be able to help put down the rebels? Will she be able to stop the boy with the strange eyes before his plans can plung the Dells in kayos?

Graceling

In the land of Seven Kingdoms there are some who are feared because of their eyes, for in this land if your eyes are of two different colors then you are a graceling.

If a child’s eyes ever change colors, revealing them to be a graceling, they become the property of their King. Gracelings possess various abilities that are almost like super powers.

Some of the graces can be useful, like mind-reading or incredible strength. But other graces, like talking backwards or being able to climb a tree upside-down, aren’t as useful.

The graces are different for each person and sometimes the graces don’t revile their true nature for several years after a graceling’s eyes have settled.

That was the case for Katsa, the niece of King Randa. When she was eight, Katsa’s grace horrifically revealed itself when she accidentally killed a distant cousin or hers with her bare hands.

If she hadn’t been the King’s dead sister’s daughter, Katsa surly would have been condemned to death. No king would be crazy enough to keep a child graced with killing. But instead of being executed, Katsa was turned into Randa’s graceling mercenary.

Why send an army when you can send a single representative whose reputation for breaking bones, removing fingers, and many other more gruesome things can strike  fear into the hearts of all your subjects?

Because of her reputation, most assumed Katsa to be a violent person who revels in the pain she causes, but the few who really know her see the pain and self-resentment that her jobs for Randa causes her.

Katsa sees her self as a trained murdering monster whose leash is controlled by a vindictive King. But one Lienid prince may not only change how Katsa views her self but also how the world views her as Katsa and Prince Po search for who kidnapped Po’s grandfather.

Bitterblue

Eight years after young ten-year-old Bitterblue took over the throne of her father’s kingdom, Monsea, Leck is still causing anguish from beyond the grave.

Bitterblue had hoped that with her father dead the effects of his grace would leave the people. But that has not been the case.

Someone is trying to cover up and hide all villains that her father had executed and it’s Bitterblue’s job, as queen, to find out why someone would commit murder to keep this secret tucked away.

With the help from some old friends and some new ones, Leck’s true story will come to light. The truths about her father may seem crazier then the lies he told.

To find out more about the Graceling Realm series go to http://www.gracelingrealm.com/books.html or to Kristin Cashore’s blog http://kristincashore.blogspot.com

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