• Anna-Roisin Ullman-Smith

Graceling, Fire, Bitterblue, Kristin Cashore,

Kristin Cashore is an incredible author. It is very hard to say anything more than that, as her Graceling series leaves readers so awed it is decisive that there are not enough complimentary words in the world to describe the books, or the talented writer behind them.

Though a series these three books stand well individually, each telling a story so well thought out and so well devised that they each have a right to be celebrated on their own.

Graceling, the first of the series, is slow to get into, but once in, is impossible to put down. A true novel to rave about Graceling is an incredible story with a character who has fire, gumption and imperfect humanity.

In a world where people born with an exceptional skill, known as a Grace, are both feared and exploited, Katsa carries the burden of a skill even she despises; the Grace of killing.

Feared by the court and shunned by those her own age, the darkness of her Grace casts a heavy shadow over Katsa’s life. Yet she remains defiant: when the King of Liend’s father is kidnapped she investigates and stumbles across a mystery. Who would want to kidnap the old man, and why? And who was the extraordinary Graced man whose fighting abilities rivalled her own?

The only thing Katsa is sure of is that she no longer wants to kill. The intrigue around this kidnapping offers her a way out, but little does she realise, when she takes is, that something insidious and dark lurks behind the mystery. Something spreading from the shadowy figure of a one eyed king.

Through yourself into a complex world of intrigue, action and magic with Graceling, and enjoy the breath taking talent of Cashore that will captivate you and leave you wanting more.

In Fire Cashore pushes further into the world which she has crafted, and hooked readers too, with an incredible exploration into the unknown. Creating a powerful story which stands proudly on its own.

Fire’s exceptional beauty gives her influence and power. People who are susceptible to it will do anything for her attention, and for her affection.

But beauty is only skin deep, and beneath it Fire has a human appreciation of right and wrong. Aware of her ability to influence others, and afraid of it, she lives in a corner of the world away from people, not only to protect them, but also to protect herself from their attention, their distrust, and even their hatred.

Yet Fire is not the only danger to the Dells. If she wants to protect her home, if she wants a chance to undo the wrongs of the past, she must face her fears, her abilities, and a royal court full of powerful people with reason to distrust her.

Again Cashore shows her immense skill at creating characters of incredible depth and realism in Fire. Enticing readers further into the incredible world she has skilfully crafted and all the wonders held within.

Bitterblue stands as the final book in this wonderful saga. Though as fantastic, and standalone, as it’s predecessors, saying goodbye to this intricate world is no easy feat, and not one that Cashore makes easier with this explosive conclusion.

Eight years have passed for Princess Bitterblue, her country has been saved, her land at peace, and now Bitterblue is queen of Monsea.

But the influence of the tyrant who nearly destroyed them lives on. Her advisors believe in a forward-thinking plan: to pardon all of those who committed terrible acts during the dark period of their world, and to forget every dark event that ever happened. Monsea’s past has been shrouded in mystery, and it’s only when Bitterblue begins sneaking out of her castle, curious, disguised, and alone, to walk the streets of her city, that she begins to realise the truth.

Her kingdom has been under the spell of a madman, and their only chance to move forward is to revisit the past. Whatever it may hold.

This phenomenal final story brings what has been an outstanding series to a glorious close. A gloriously fresh series, written to sheer perfection, that you will definitely not want to miss out on.

We give Graceling Five stars We give Fire Five stars We give Bitterblue Five stars.

Graceling; Cover price - £7.99 ISBN – 978-0-575-09814-5

Fire; Cover price - £7.99 ISBN – 978-0-575-09815-2

Bitterblue; Cover price - £7.99 ISBN – 978-0-575-09719-3

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