Margin Notes



Graceling is a fantasy graphic novel, written by Kristin Cashorein and illustrated by Gareth Hinds,  that tells a story in the mythical land of The Seven Kingdoms. A king rules each of the Seven Kingdoms, all striving to maintain their own eminence and prowess over their kingdom. The gracelings, who are born with a specific talent, are what give the kings of the seven kingdoms their power. Meanwhile, there is only one way of distinguishing a graceling from the general public: by looking at their eye colours. Katsa, the blue and green-eyed heroine of the story, the niece of the king of Middluns, is graced with killing. The king of Middluns uses Kasta’s skill to his benefit, but in return, Katsa is left bitter, alone, and exploited. When the King of Middluns sends Kasta to yet another killing expedition, she encounters Po, a graceling who is the prince of Lienid with the skill of combat; Katsa is then drawn into a liberation quest across the Kingdoms.

Cashore creates a bond between the reader and the characters by incorporating fantasy, romance, magic, battle, rivals, and adventure. She also places an emphasis on independence, creating one’s own identity, and the triumph of good over evil. At the same time, Gareth Hinds’ illustration of the story perfectly captures all of its most crucial details and conveys the emotions in a way that words cannot.

I would recommend this book to high school students or late middle school students who like fantasy, mystery, romance, and adventure or a student who wants to broaden their genre horizons, finds it hard to get into books that lack action, or a student who does not know what genre they would like. Graceling has a fast pace; it has a way of throwing you into the plot that your eyes have a hard time keeping up. This book could also be used as an EAL recommendation; even though it can be hard to follow (there are lots of characters, kingdoms, and storylines to keep up with), the image tells a story itself. At the same time, the sentences are short and easy to follow but are filled with lots of imagination. And while there are many characters, kingdoms, wars, and rivalries to remember, this could also encourage students to discuss different strategies for keeping track of characters and more. No matter why a reader picks up this book, they are sure to enjoy the story within!



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