Monday, July 13, 2009

Review: Graceling

Graceling coverTitle: Graceling
Author: Kristin Cashore
Genre: Fiction, Fantasy, Young Adult
Pub Date: October 2008, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Hardcover, 471 pages


In a world where people born with an extreme skill--called a Grace--are feared and exploited, Katsa carries the burden of a 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.

My Thoughts

Why, oh why, did I wait so long to read this book? I'd had it on my wish list for months and never picked it up until I ordered it last week. Boy, was I missing out!

This is exactly the kind of fantasy novel I enjoy reading--epic adventure, a bit of romance, and strong characters. In my opinion, a strong, well-written book makes you feel as if you are right there in the middle of the action, and Graceling did that for me. At times it was a bit predictable, but there were also many events that I did not see coming, so I didn't feel as if I had already read this story before. I also enjoyed the premise of these few people throughout the seven kingdoms who have Graces, and their different-colored eyes making them stand out for who they are. Yes, these Graces certainly make for a tale of exciting proportions--particularly Katsa's skill for killing. A skill that she wishes she didn't have, though as the story unfolds, she begins to learn the truth about herself and her Grace.

Now for the characters. Personally, I enjoyed them all, from the evil kings (Randa and Lech) to Katsa's sidekicks (Raffin, Giddon, and Oll) to Po, with whom she finds herself falling in love. Cashore also did a good job writing about their relationships to each other--I found myself quickly forming attachments. It is exciting to watch Katsa grow, thanks to Po's insight and support, and even more incredible to read the tale of her rescuing Princess Bitterblue (don't you love that name?) from her horrible father. I think that my only problem with this book was how quickly the main threat to the characters was resolved. One minute you are surprised at this person's appearance and the next they've been disposed of. I suppose it was almost a bit anti-climactic, though I still had to breathe a sigh of relief at the outcome and did garner a certain amount of satisfaction from it. But that wasn't the end--there was even a twist or two left to discover, and overall it really was an enjoyable read.

I think most fantasy-lovers would enjoy this book; I know I read it in one sitting today and couldn't wait to write the review. (By the way, can I also say I just really, really love this cover?) Now I'll be sitting here with the rest of you who are waiting for Fire to come out in October.

My rating: 5 stars

Other reviews of Graceling:


  1. This is wonderful review and totally on point with how I felt about Graceling too. Here's my review:

  2. Great review. Graceling has been sitting on my shelves for weeks now. I have to return it to the library by Wednesday, so I plan on reading it tomorrow. Can't wait!

  3. Why oh why did you wait so long? Well, at least you don't have long to wait until FIRE comes out.

    Glad you enjoyed Graceling, it's definitely one of my fave reads of the year so far. I'll link to your review from mine.

  4. I have heard some great things about this onee! Glad you liked it :)

  5. I STILL haven't gotten to my copy yet. But at least I know it's going to be good lol I totally loved your review Melissa <3

    P.S. I have an award for you here:

  6. I loved this book! I can't wait until FIRE comes out!

  7. I have been waiting all week to see what you thought of it, as the cover had literally sold itself to me. Now I know how fabulous it is, I will surely be looking out for it.

  8. Wasn't this a great book? I just read Fire last week and it's even better.

    Here's my Graceling review:

  9. WOW great review, I'm adding this one to my wishlist and you are sooo to blame lol

  10. I'm going to finally start reading this one too! Everyone who I know who has read the book.. has loved it! :)

  11. And now I'm ten times more excited to read this book.

  12. Haven't read it yet, but you know what? I have it on my shelf! I'm sure I'll go, why did I take so long to read it? too :o)

  13. You make this sound so good, Melissa! I will have to look for this one.

  14. This one should be available to me at the library ANY SECOND now! :) Sheesh, I've been waiting for months now.

  15. I loved this so much, too! Great review.


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