Friday, May 3, 2013

Review: Graceling

Title: Graceling
Author: Kristin Cashore
Pages: 471
Release Date: October 1, 2008
Publisher: Graphia, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Format: Paperback
Rating: 5 Cows

Goodreads Description:

In a world where people born with an extreme skill—called a Grace—are feared and exploited, Katsa carries the burden of the skill even she despises: the Grace of killing. She lives under the command of her uncle Randa, King of the Middluns, and is expected to execute his dirty work, punishing and torturing anyone who displeases him.

When she first meets Prince Po, who is Graced with combat skills, Katsa has no hint of how her life is about to change.

She never expects to become Po's friend.

She never expects to learn a new truth about her own Grace—or about a terrible secret that lies hidden far away...a secret that could destroy all seven kingdoms with words alone.

I couldn’t say why it took me so long to open this book up and read it, but I really regret procrastinating! I bought the book a LONG time ago and it’s been sitting patiently on my shelf while I kept passing it over to read other books. That was a GINORMOUS mistake on my part!

Kristin Cashore creates a world that the reader effortlessly falls into. It is very well written (from a third person point of view)-creating a good balance of language appropriate for the time/setting of the book while not turning off the target age range. GRACELING takes place in a time of castles and kings, where knives and swords are the weapons of choice and horses and ships transport you through the land of the seven kingdoms. I absolutely love stories set in this time period but what I loved more was the kick-butt female lead character, Katsa! She is fierce, deadly, and powerful and is a really nice change from some of the other “weaker” female characters that have been popping up in YA books lately. Throughout the story, she develops as a person tremendously but in a seamless manner making it feel more realistic.

Katsa shows her skills, or rather her grace, in the first pages and the action keeps pace from then on. The plot has many twists and secrets (who kidnapped the grandfather and why) that kept me feverishly turning the pages and at the same time, not wanting to keep reading because the book was bound to end. The best bittersweet situation for all book lovers! There is a love interest in the book that doesn’t not consume or deter from the original storyline.

This book is aimed toward 14 years and older, but parents should know that there are a few scenes that hint toward some characters engaging in sex. The book does not go into detail or come right out and say it, but it definitely implies it. I would liken these situations to the “sex scenes” from Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight series-nothing over the top. The book also takes a firm stand against marriage as Katsa finds it to be too suffocating and somewhat demeaning to women.

All in all, this book was a fantastic escape to a fantasy world with magic, love, and friendship. Cashore has two companion novels, Fire and Bitterblue, that I expect to be just as amazing!

Buy Graceling


  1. YAYYYY I'm so glad you loved this one! But really.... Don't feel bad because I read Graceling like, last year and I still haven't read Fire and Bitterblue yet haha!
    I just loved Katsa AND Po. I can't wait to read more of Cashore's writing! (Or apparently I can... Whoops!)

  2. I've read Graceling such a long time ago, but I clearly remember the quote about marriage. I liked it in the context, Katsa is a free spirit who's destiny was determined by men for long enough. Somehow I wouldn't expect anything else from her :)

    I'm glad you liked it. Your rating cows are freaking adorable!

  3. Graceling is well-written with some grand adventure, musings on talents, as well as characters who actually grow and change as they learn more about themselves. It never goes for the cheap shot in action sequences although they aren't the focus of the story. In other words, I liked it. Even the few philosophies that I didn't agree with made me think. That makes it a book worth reading.


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