This may be the first debut fantasy I’ve read that I wholeheartedly enjoyed. Kristin Cashore has managed to create a fresh plot, interesting and endearing characters, and a rollicking and romantic read.
Katsa lives in a world where certain individuals have a Grace. Graced persons have a specialist skill at which they excel with little or no training or effort. Graces can be frivolous or highly useful, and a Graced person always has two different coloured eyes. In Katsa’s world, the Graced are not necessarily loved – they are different, sometimes feared, and do not fit easily into society. The king has first refusal on their service; if he chooses to hold them, the Graceling becomes part of the royal retinue, no matter their beginnings. If he does not want them, the Graceling must eke out their own way in the world. Continue reading
The Forest of Hands and Teeth
Mary lives in an isolated world where fear is constant, and danger ever present. Her village is locked away from whatever else may be out there in the world, forever sequestered by the threat of the plague of “undead” that surround them outside the fences. The society Mary lives in is harsh, confining … and facing extinction.
Within a few chapters, Mary’s already fragile world is turned upside down – her mother dead, her village destroyed, and Mary on the run with her betrothed, beloved (they aren’t the same person), brother, and pregnant sister-in-law, fleeing into the unknown only because the threat behind them is more dire. Mary’s young life has been filled with pain and death, but at least she had always had the sanctuary of the village, and the “known”. Continue reading
The Curseworkers Book 1
Cassel is trying to live an ordinary life. He attends boarding school, gets good grades, and flies under the radar, even if he’s not, strictly speaking, following all the rules. But then he wakes up on the roof of his dorm and finds himself shunted back to his family. His very un-ordinary family. Cassel’s family are curse-workers, users of magic who are forced underground, into the crime world, by law. In a world very like ours, where one in 1000 people have a gift, or curse, to be able to work a form of magic, Cassel’s family blossoms with talent.