Kristin Cashore, Author . Harcourt $17 (471p) ISBN 978-0-15-206396-2

In a land of seven kingdoms, people with special talents, called Gracelings, are identified by their eyes—Katsa’s are green and blue, one of each—although she’s eight before her specific Grace is identified as a talent for killing. (While in the court of her uncle, King Randa, she swiped at a man attempting to grope her and struck him dead.) By 18 she’s King Randa’s henchwoman, dispatched to knock heads and lop off appendages when subjects disobey, but she hates the job. As an antidote, she leads a secret council whose members work against corrupt power, and in this role, while rescuing a kidnapped royal, she meets the silver-and-gold–eyed Po, the Graced seventh son of the Lienid king. That these two are destined to be lovers is obvious, though beautiful, defiant Katsa convincingly claims no man will control her. Their exquisitely drawn romance (the sex is offstage) will slake the thirst of Twilight fans, but one measure of this novel’s achievements lies in its broad appeal. Tamora Pierce fans will embrace the take-charge heroine; there’s also enough political intrigue to recommend it to readers of Megan Whalen Turner’s Attolia trilogy. And while adult readers, too, will enjoy the author’s originality, the writing is perfectly pitched at teens struggling to put their own talents to good use. With this riveting debut, Cashore has set the bar exceedingly high. Ages 14–up. (Oct.)

Reviewed on: 07/21/2008
Release date: 10/01/2008
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Compact Disc - 11 pages - 978-1-934180-89-1
Compact Disc - 978-1-934180-70-9
Pre-Recorded Audio Player - 978-1-61574-625-5
Prebound-Glued - 471 pages - 978-0-606-07993-8
Open Ebook - 1 pages - 978-1-299-88858-6
Paperback - 400 pages - 978-1-78062-090-9
Hardcover - 395 pages - 978-84-92429-81-3
Paperback - 471 pages
Downloadable Audio - 978-1-934180-97-6
Open Ebook - 480 pages - 978-0-547-35127-8
Hardcover - 371 pages - 978-0-575-09814-5
Hardcover - 512 pages - 978-1-4074-5541-9
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