Graceling~ Book Review

by Kristin Cashore
Read October 2009

gracelingPaperback Edition
471 Pages
Published by Graphia (Houghton Mifflin Harcourt)
Original Publication date~ 2008
Genre~ Young Adult Fantasy
ISBN 13~ 978 0 547 25830 0
Source~ Purchased in Store






From the back cover:
     Katsa has been able to kill a man with her bare hands since she was eight- she’s a Graceling, one of the rare people in her land born with an extreme skill. As niece of the king, she should be able to live a life of priviledge, but Graced as she is with killing, she is forced to work as the king’s thug.
     When she first meets Prince Po, Graced with combat skills, Katsa has no idea 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.

I absolutely consumed this book. It is one of the best fantasy novels I have ever read.

Katsa is one of the Graced, those with differing supernatural powers and abilities in one area. It can be anything from cooking exceptionally well to Graces such as Katsa’s, killing.  The one thing that all Gracelings share is eyes of two different colors.

Ever since accidentally killing her adult cousin at eight years old, she has been the King’s hitman and strong-arm.  She is made to think of herself as nothing more than a killer. No emotions, no feelings, no brains. Her uncle, the king, has made sure it is so. When a secret rescue mission grants her a first encounter with Prince Po, everything she thought she knew about herself, begins to change.

Watching Katsa evolve as a character as she discover’s her humanity was amazing. She starts as nothing more than a leashed attack dog for her uncle, King Randa.  As she meets and spends time with Po, she becomes more and more human. She is such a strong, fierce female character that we don’t see much of in many recent novels.  It isn’t a pretense for her, or in any way an attempt to gain advantage.  It is just who she is.  There is no Bella Swan in need of rescuing in this book.

Po is an equally rich character. Also Graced, he is the first true match in a physical fight for Katsa. Even with his Grace, he is still unable to beat her. What struck me was how he was okay with it and even seemed proud of her.  He doesn’t take the stance of many male characters and want to change or be the strong one in the relationship, and yet he doesn’t come off as wimpy or effeminate.  Cashore has done a marvelous job writing both characters.  They both have so much depth and fullness.

Po and Katsa’s journey to find out about secrets surrounding his grandfather’s kidnapping is exciting and full adventure.  Along the way there are wolves, mountain lions, treacherous weather, princesses in need of rescue, murder, and people who aren’t what they seem.

I knew this book would be good, but I was still shocked at quite how much I loved it.

I immediately went out and bought Fire, the prequel-ish companion novel. I have been told you do not have to read either book to enjoy the other.  I can’t wait to dive right in to it!



~ by jennifermorrill on November 4, 2009.

13 Responses to “Graceling~ Book Review”

  1. […] More here:  Graceling~ Book Review « Between th&… […]

  2. I’m not so sure this book is for me, but I love your enthusiasm! 🙂 I do have Fire, though. I won it at my local B&N.

  3. […] View post: Graceling~ Book Review « Between the Lines […]

  4. Yet another good book that is sitting on my floor in Mt. TBR.
    Glad you liked it. I have got to find time to read this one.

  5. I’ve been a little like Thoughts of Joy, not sure if I’d like it, but I will probably break down and read it.

  6. I loved Graceling!! 5 stars from me too.
    My only thing was I’m not sure it belong in the YA genre. I think it would be more appropriate in adult fantasy.
    The Study series seems similar in context to me (both main characters are the same age) and it’s in adult fantasy.

  7. Thoughts of Joy and J. Kaye~ I wasn’t sure I would like it either. I really enjoyed it. Although I’ve read negative reviews of it, the things they seem to nit-pick at is the genre and names of the 7 different kingdoms.

    Page~ Totally agree. This belonged in Adult Fantasy. But, it’s all the rage now to throw EVERYTHING into YA. I couldn’t find Pride and Prejudice the other day at the store (I was looking for a new copy). Lo and behold, it is in the YA section now.

    Jennygirl~ lol…Mt. TBR. Mine has become an actual mound right now since I am in need of new booksheves. I had cheap crappy ones that gave way under my Mt. TBR. They were all nicely stacked according to genre and when I wanted to read them…then KABOOM. Down went my shevles. Fortunately no books were harmed, other tha a scuff on the Life of Pi which I am not sure why I have anyways. I HATED that book, and it is rare that I find nothing good to say about a book. I’d give it away, but I’d hate to put someone else through reading it.

  8. super! even more excited to read this one.

  9. I have been wanting to pick this one up, thanks for the awesome review!

  10. Jenn~ First of all, you spell Jenn right with two ‘n’ s 🙂 Just like me! Secondly, I thought it was a really great book. I hope you enjoy it when you read it!

  11. I think this is on my book shelf…. I will have to go check! Great review! 🙂

  12. […] Fire by Kristen Cashore~ Really looking forward to this one after loving Graceling […]

  13. I’m glad you loved this one so much! I think I went in with my expectations a little too high – while I definitely liked it, I didn’t love it. However, I’m reading Fire right now and am loving that one!

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