Graceling by Kristin Cashore

Graceling by Kristin Cashore
Graceling by Kristin Cashore

Title: Graceling
Written byKristin Cashore
Reading Level: Young Adult
Published byHoughton Mifflin Harcourt (October 2008)
Hardcover: 488 pages
Rated 4.75/5
Author Blog 

You know how when you read The Hunger Games, (WHAT? You haven’t read The Hunger Games? Go, right now and buy it.  Then sit down and read it. For goodness sakes, what am I going to do with you?) how you thought Katniss was the youknowwhat, so tough and strong and superior to any man around?  

Well, let me tell you, she ain’t got nuffin’ on Katsa.  She is the new youknowwhat.  For you see, Katsa is a Graceling, one of the unusual people born in her land with an extreme talent and identified by their unusual different colored eyes.  Since the age of eight, Katsa has been able to kill a man grown with her bare hands.  All Gracelings by law belong to the king, so Katsa lives with her uncle King Randa and becomes his thug – delivering his messages and carrying out all his punishments.  Katsa hates this and to help balance the bad, she creates a Council, who help people behind the king’s back.  It is during one of these missions for the Council that she meets Prince Po.

Prince Po is from a neighboring country – and is also Graced.  As they come to know each other, to fight, to confide and to become friends, Katsa’s life begins to change in ways she never expected, or dreamed.  She learns new truths about herself and finds the courage to break out of her bondage and become the woman she was meant to be.  Along the way she makes new friends, discovers friends she didn’t know she had and helps uncover a sinister secret.  

And wow, Prince Po is something else.  Can you say HOT?

Aside – Have you noticed how the male roll in YA books seems to be changing?  I’m pondering a separate post on this, but he typifies this new male character I’ve been seeing emerge in the last few YA books I’ve read.  I like it.


Awhile back, Kailana at The Written World and my reading twin, dared me to read this book.  This was back before this “I Dare You” challenge thing that’s going around, but anyway.  I take her opinion pretty seriously so I got it from the library.  I was still somewhat dubious, I have no idea why, but last Friday night I thought “what the heck!” and picked it up.  I am usually a fixture on Twitter on Friday nights, but you may have noticed I was suspiciously absent.  I was lost in this book!  I barely put it down until I finished it Sunday (I had to put it down a few times, I had birthday parties to begrudgingly attend).  

This is a thoroughly well-crafted first novel. If I hadn’t known better, I would have thought Ms. Cashore had written many more novels.  The characters are all well-rounded and well-thought out.  Katsa is a excellent adolescent heroine, confident in her strengths but still unsure of her weaknesses.  Her growth as a character through the story is pronounced and feels accurate.  No action goes without consequences and it has such a satisfying ending.  Well, satisfying except for leaving you wanting more!  Which, incidentally, the next part in this trilogy, FIRE, will be coming out soon!  I can’t wait to get my hands on it.

Also by Kristin Cashore

The soon to be released companion to Graceling – Fire

Also reviewed by:

Bookshelves of doom | Kailana | Becky’s Book Reviews | Melissa’s Book Shelf | Teen Book Review | Book Nut | Karin Librarian | YA Fabulous | Reading the Leaves | YA Book Nerd | and lots more …

23 thoughts on “Graceling by Kristin Cashore

  1. I'm on the waiting list at the library for the audio version of this. I need to replinish my audiobook selection on my ipod and this will be a great addition. Thanks so much for convincing me to give this one a try.

  2. Have I ever steered you wrong! See, you can trust me. Provided I have read the book ahead of time, anyway. 🙂 Next step, Diana Wynne-Jones… I think that was the next one anyway. 🙂

  3. I just read this one this week! Took me forever to finally read it, but once I did I kept thinking why didn't I get to this one sooner?? I LOVED it! I can't wait to read Fire now.

  4. Well, if your review wasn't enough to get me interested, I just went to reserve it on the library's website and found that there's a rather lengthy line for it. Sigh as I queue up . . .

  5. I can't wait to hear what you think of the audio. I love rereading books that way, so I'll probably "reread" this that way someday. I hope you enjoy it as much as I did!

  6. LOL Sarah, I felt the same way. It was probably my third time having it out from the library and it was due, like, 2 days after I started it. So I just HAD to rush! lol

    I can't wait to read Fire!!!

  7. Oh I'm so jealous! I hope my copy comes soon! I can barely stand it! I'm more anxious for FIRE than I am CATCHING FIRE.

    I can't believe I just admitted that.

  8. I've honestly not heard a bad thing about this book. I'm glad that I've got it in my TBR pile. Can't wait to read it and see how I like it 🙂

  9. I'm in the middle of it! (as you know on Goodreads)- they just left the inn with the thugs. Things, they are changing!

    I can't believe it's taken me this long to get to it and now I need The Hunger Games too.

    I look forward to your post on the male roll in YA.

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