GRACELING by Kristin Cashore – double review!

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 privilege, but Graced as she is with killing, she is forced to work as the king’s thug. 

She never expects to fall in love with beautiful Prince Po. 

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

With elegant, evocative prose and a cast of unforgettable characters, debut author Kristin Cashore creates a mesmerizing world, a death-defying adventure, and a heart-racing romance that will consume you, hold you captive, and leave you wanting more.


Title : Graceling
Author : Kristin Cashore
Series : Graceling Realm (book one)
Format : eBook (overdrive)
Page Count : 481
Genre : YA fantasy
Publisher : Dial Books
Release Date : October 1, 2008

Reviewer : Hollis / Micky
Rating : ★ ★ ★ ★ / ★ ★ ★ ★


Hollis’ 4 star review

This was another reread for me, and another that I haven’t read in aaages, and honestly I’m not mad at all about ending a crap year with some old favourites which are all turning out to still be favourites. Is there anything better?

When you’re a monster, she thought, you are thanked and praised for not behaving like a monster. She would like to restrain from cruelty and receive no admiration for it.

That said, nostalgia wasn’t the only reason for revisiting this world after so long. As has been the trend for a few older and beloved trilogies, we have a new release coming very shortly for book four in the Graceling Realm world, and I definitely couldn’t pick that up without a solid refresh. Most of the plot points I had remembered but the details, the emotions, some of the characters? All hazy.

Mercy was more frightening than murder, because it was harder.

But oh man was this good. I love when YA stands the test of time. And, in hindsight, Cashore did so many great things with her characters, things we expect now but didn’t always get then, and that’s why it will continue to do well even ten years from now.

The basic premise of GRACELING follows a king’s killer, a Graced individual with the gift for killing, and how she breaks away from his control to be her own person, in control of her own actions, and along the way helps to save another nation, and even find love. Yes, I’m being vague, but a lot of people have read this so why rehash and for those who haven’t? I want to tempt you, tease you, tantalize you into picking this up and learning more.

This is such a fabulous fantasy and I am excited to continue this reread journey; not only to get to the new content but revisit all the things from books two and three that I’ve forgotten — which is pretty much everything!


Micky’s 4 star review

Another late entry to the party on this beloved-by-many series. It took me a little while to get into it but I really enjoyed the characters and world that Kristen Cashore created. The graces that certain chosen ones were bestowed with at birth were varied, interesting and not always for the good.

Katsa swept me away in this book. She wasn’t easy to get to know initially but when she cracked her facade a little, her whole self was so likeable. Po brought out the best in Katsa as did Bitterblue (I can’t wait for Bitterblue’s book). This story had the most vile villain and I loved everything about how that played out.

For me, this was a subtly feminist tale. Katsa was wholly feminist but there were themes that really sold this to me – the haircut and marriage views. I loved this element to the story and that it underpinned Katsa as a strong woman but still a woman with a heart.

This was a story told over time, time for character building and development, for friendships and relationships to really feel solid and for there to be a strong history to how the tale played out. This all makes me think this is so well written, I can’t find fault with any of that. I’m so looking forward to reading on with this and the plan is to get completely up to date with the series this month – wish me luck!

I read and listened to this on an audio/ebook combo and despite this being a full cast audio, I really didn’t gel with it. For me, the ebook was preferable.

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Create your website with WordPress.com
Get started
%d bloggers like this: