Our first pick of the week, and our #2 book of the year is...
Graceling by Kristin Cashore!
Um, how many times can I tell you guys how made of awesome this book is?! It's been nominated for the Morris award for newbie YA authors, is on School Library Journal's list of 2008 Best Books, and I cannot rave about Kristin Cashore's debut novel enough. Even better, a prequel, Fire, is scheduled to release next fall, and she's got a sequel, Bitterblue, in the works.
In the Seven Kingdoms, only a feared and exploited few are Graced, their distinctive different-colored eyes marking them. In Katsa's kingdom, the Graced and their Graces belong to the king, Katsa's uncle Randa. For girl whose Grace is more terrible than most, it is a fate almost worse than death, for Katsa is Graced with killing, and King Randa is little better than a thug who uses her and the terror she inspires to abuse his people.
When Katsa meets Po, a Lienid prince Graced with combat skills, in the middle of a top secret (from king Randa) James Bond-style midnight resuce mission, her life is forever changed. When Po shows up at her uncle's palace the next day and Katsa discovers the man she rescued is Po's kidnapped grandfather, her life is forever changed. Together, she and Po hone their fighting and friendship skills as Po stays on to discover the real meaning behind his grandfather's kidnapping. When they discover who may be behind the kidnapping, they uncover a dark evil shrouded in lies that challenges everything they have ever known. When Po asks her to come with him, everything that Katsa believes about herself is called into question, including the true nature of her Grace...
If you're looking for fantasy, action, adventure, the epic battle between good and evil, a plot that packs a lot of punch, and one awesome heroine, look no further and check out Graceling @ the library!
(now reading Here Lies Arthur by Philip Reeve, also one SLJ's 2008 Best Books!)
P.S. Kristin Cashore has a fun blog where she talks about her books and her life @ http://kristincashore.blogspot.com/.