Tuesday, February 18, 2014 06:00

Review 234. Kristin Cashore – Graceling.

3236307Title: Graceling.
Author: Kristin Cashore.
Pages: 370
Published October 1st 2008 by Harcourt.
Sort: Part one of ‘Graceling Realm.’

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. When she first meets Prince Po, 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
Rating:

This book is what I would call a classic, good High fantasy. It has a lot of aspects I look for in a fantasy; ‘magical’ powers, interesting plot and fun characters. And you might know me by now and my antipathy for most romances, but I adored this one!

I loved all the different Graces and how people use them in their normal life. Being a Graceling means being feared and almost shunned by others, especially Katsa. For her Grace is deadly and she is used by her uncle to spread fear and obedience. It was fun seeing her grow into her Grace.

Katsa is a wonderful character. She is incredibly strong and intelligent, but what I loved about her was the fact that she shows her vulnerable, soft side. It made her realistic and it shows that she isn’t perfect. I always appreciate complexity in characters. The fact that she starts a Rebellion against her uncle made me admire her and her courage. Her banters with Po were adorable.

Po comes very close to being too perfect. He has a special Grace he must hide from everyone and he is the only one who comes close to Katsa’s fighting level. I still liked him and I shipped them together like crazy. There was something between them, that spark I look for in romance. Not only that, there is enough time to make it believable for me. When Katsa finally stand up against her uncle, she flees together with Po on an important mission. Po's grandfather was kidnapped by one of the neighbor kingdoms and they must find out who and why? They develop a friendship on their journey and it brings them in a dangerous situation. This was an interesting plot and I liked the villain.

We’re also introduced to some other characters. Not all of them are completely fleshed out, but I feel like I know enough of them to make them stand-out as individuals. I especially liked the young Bitterblue, who complicates the case with her appearance. I’m definitely intrigued to find out more about Bitterblue. Cashore showed me that she knows how to write. An easy writing-style, an engaging plot and a solid world-building, I can’t ask for more.

author image

Mel@thedailyprophecy

Mel is a microbiology technician who is obsessed with Disney, fairytale retellings and fantasy. If she's not reading or blogging, she's either busy with gaming, hanging out with family or watching a TV show. She loves summer and bright nail polish. One of her dreams is to travel the world. She has found her Prince Charming and they are together for 7+ years.

59 comments:

  1. This book is GREAT! I loved it soooo much. The rest of the series is pretty good too.I just want to read whatever Cashore has next for her readers, though I haven't heard about any new projects.

    Angie

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  2. Yayyy! I super crazy love this series so I'm glad you liked it too! I will say that Fire is more of a book that is related and not a sequel, which I think threw a lot of people and so they didn't like it. And Bitterblue is less action packed, so hopefully knowing that beforehand helps. Aaahhh I am so glad you liked this book! I always feel overly happy when I see someone loves a book I do even when I have 0% anything to do with it hahah

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    1. Yes, I've heard it's more a companion story, so I'm aware of that :) I look forward to it! I don't mind less action-packed, as long as the characters are intriguing enough, but thanks for the warning!

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  3. I loved this book too, Mel!! The relationship between Po and Katsa is really well-developed and I SHIP THEM SO HARD <3 Sometimes I felt Katsa was a little too stubborn (like the marriage part) but overall, I think she's a consistent character! Glad you loved this too, Mel!!

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    1. I'm sometimes a little too stubborn for my own good too, so I understand her, haha.

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  4. I love this book and this series overall! Bitterblue wasn't just as good as this but it was nice to see what was happening with all the characters from Graceling and even from Fire - which is another great read!

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  5. Graceling is one of my favorite books ever!!! But I LOVED Fire even more! It was so amazing. I think what I loved more about it was the sexual tension between the characters! But like some of the commenters said, Fire isn't really a sequel is more a companion/prequel. And it's weird that you didn't get to see the map. My paperback has one at the beginning of the book. Great review!

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    1. It appeared that my pages were stuck together, so I completely overlooked it! Carina helped me realize this, so now I'm able to see the map and I've adjusted my review. Thanks for telling me ;)!

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  6. Shipping, interesting plot and a villain that one can like sounds perfect! I want to meet Katsa after being introduced to a couple of okay fantasy heroines. She sounds badass!

    I'm so binge-reading this series soon. I think around middle of March would be good. Yay to high fantasy! =D

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    1. I really wish I had the other two books. This series asks for a binge-read! I have to wait 't til I get the other two. I might go to the library.

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  7. I am so GLAD you enjoyed this Mel!
    I absolutely adored this when I first read it, even if the other two books in this series did nothing for me.
    Po and Katsa are such wonderful characters and it was so fun to watch them finally get together.
    The fantasy bit was just as fun and I was definitely satisfied by it (fantasy buff here :P :P)

    Lovely review, Mel! :)

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    1. I'm sorry to hear the other two didn't do a thing for you! But I love fantasy too <3

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  8. I always wanted to read this book, but since I'm not a huge fan of High Fantasy I never really put it on the top of my pile. However, your review sounds amazing. I think I might give it a chance.
    I really want to meet Po!
    Lis @ The reader lines

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    1. I think even people who aren't such a fan of High Fantasy will like this, since there are so many enjoyable aspects :)

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  9. The villain's Grace is just TOO CRAZY THOUGH.
    I loved it!
    But it scared me.

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  10. YAY for liking the romance! Banter? Rebellion against one's family? Oh, yeeesshh. I'm so excited to meet Po, everyone loves this guy. Bad. Also, yay for great individual characters and I hope that this series will be a huge success for you (if you haven't already read the following books). Great review, Mel!

    PS. Maps are perfections in books:)

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    1. No, still haven't. I need to get some copies!

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  11. Ahh awesome awesome review hun! I have had this book for forever and still have not read it yet!! Will have to pick it up soon ((: Oh and BTW holy crap I love your new design!!!! So cute! (:

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  12. Awesome, I still need to read this one and it makes me excited to see that you loved it! I can also be hard to please when it comes to romances, so it's encouraging you like this one. And the Graces sound cool!

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    1. Most romances don't work for me, so that might be a good sign for you too!

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  13. I have a copy of this one, but haven't had a chance to read it yet. Glad you enjoyed it and hopefully I will too!

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  14. It took me quite some time to chew through this one but in the end, it was soo good!

    Lovely review, Mel! <33

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  15. I LOVE THIS BOOK SO MUCH TOO!! :3 I can't wait for you to get to Fire, Mel! That has got to be my favourite of the three! The world-building is always spectacular, and I always get so immersed in it, sometimes I never want to leave no matter how scary it may seem! :D
    I'm so glad you enjoyed this one, Mel!! Lovely review!! <33

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  16. I really loved Katsa. She was strong and fierce--something not a lot of YA heroines are these days. And Po was amazing. I'm glad you enjoyed this one, Mel! :)

    Aimee @ Read by the Undead

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  17. Oh, how I love Graceling. It will forever be my favorite book of all the books. <3 I'm so glad you enjoyed it! But also a tiny bit heartbroken that you gave it four stars and not five, hih :D But still. I'm glad you enjoyed it. <3 Sigh. I cannot wait to see your thoughts on Fire and Bitterblue! I loved Fire just as much as Graceling :) Thank you for sharing Mel. <3

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    1. Haha, it just wasn't good enough for 5, but perhaps Fire will be ;)

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  18. Yay wonderful review! This one was my very first audiobook and it was awesome - it had full cast audio too (not sure if you're an audiobook listener or not) but anyways. I loved Katsa she remains one of my favorite heroines. I also love her name! I also came to really like Bitterblue she was one of the main characters I connected with which doesn't happen often. Also this post reminds me I have yet to read the rest of this series!! >.<

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    1. I'm not a listener, but I can see that this would turn out great in an audio bok!

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  19. I'm so glad you liked this one! Will you be reading Fire? I have yet to start that one, because it's a prequel and I don't know if I want to leave Katsa.

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    1. Oh yes, if I had a copy I'd have read it by now!

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  20. Sounds amazing, I have to read this soon it's been on my shelf forever. I really enjoy YA high fantasies because they don't overcook it with the plot. Great review!

    Jeann @ Happy Indulgence

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  21. I think I'm going to have to add Graceling to my March TBR after reading your review. It's been sitting on my bookcase for about a year now, and now I really want to read it!
    Honestly, I had no idea what this book was actually about but I'm extremely intrigued now. I want to know about the Graces; I want to know more about Katsa and I love that there's time for the romance to develop!
    Brilliant review, Mel! :D

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    1. Cool! I'll keep an eye on your blog for a possible review :D

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  22. I should reread this. I liked it but I read it right after Twilight at a time when people were using it as a weapon for Twilight - and in my Twilight induced haze, that annoyed me. i think I'd like it more now.

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  23. I read this book SO long ago, but I remember loving it. And Po especially, lol. So glad you finally got to read it, and that you liked it too! :D

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  24. I'm always secretly rooting for the villain - so glad to hear! I've had this book on my shelf forever - I really should get around to it *sigh*

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  25. I really liked Graceling, because of the great plot and the graces. I thought they were very interesting! Katsa frustrated me at times, but I do agree with you on Bitterblue as I really liked her!

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  26. I am so glad to see that you ended up liking this book too Melanie! I didn't really know much about Graceling when I first picked it up, But it was a world which I absolutely adored! I can't wait to see how you get on with the rest of the series, as I adored Fire even more! Fab review! :)

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    1. The only thing I knew was that everyone loved it so much. It's great to go blind into books :D

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  27. So happy you liked this one Mel!! I loved this whole series, but Fire might have been my favourite. It's just so...colorful!

    And I loved how Po managed to work his way closer to Katsa; watching their friendship develop was so touching.

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  28. Yaay . I loved graceling . I should read the others though . Duh . Lol
    Tnx for the lovely review Mel

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  29. This is one of my favorites, so I'm so glad that you liked it! :) I liked the other books in the series too. I'm actually ready for more! This series reminds me a little of Throne of Glass. Great review!

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    1. Oh yes, I definitely see the comparison. Kick-ass girl, interesting boy :D

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  30. I've heard so many amazing things about this one, but I'm kind of nervous to read it, since I'm not usually much of a fantasy person. However, Katsa and Po sound like amazing characters! Great review :)

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    1. I think this is a very good start for non-fantasy lovers :)

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  31. So happy you liked this one Mel. This series is one of my all time favorites. The world. The writing. The romance. So so well done all around.

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  32. I really loved this one too! I'm so happy you did too! I really liked Katsa and it really was just such a great high fantasy. It was one of the first fantasy books I read when I started to dabble into fantasy. Awesome review! So happy to hear such lovely feedback :)

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    1. This book sounds like a fantastic start in the fantasy world :D

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  33. I own a copy of this one (and have for a long time now) but I have yet to read it. I'm really happy you enjoyed this one so much and reading your review reminded me that I need to start it asap! I love how you described Kasta and how strong and determined she seems. The magical system sounds exciting and since I can be fussy with YA romances, I'm especially excited that this one was a good one for you :-D Lovely review ^^

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  34. This is one of my favorite books, I adore it! I am not a big fantasy reader, but this book made me feel like I should be! I'm so happy I found it and I'm glad you enjoyed it, too!

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  35. YESSSSSSSSSSSSSS. You liked Graceling! I think I remember this from some months past on Goodreads, and was like: c'mon, this week you get back to comments! You muuuust go celebrate that Mel liked Graceling. But I didn't. *sigh*

    "‘magical’ powers, interesting plot and fun characters. And you might know me by now and my antipathy for most romances, but I adored this one!" -- YAYYAYAYAY. (Are you really anti most romances? I'm a huge romance reader, just an anti romance person when I think it's not too well or taking too much time.). It's interesting that that's what you associate with high fantasy too! Because there are actually quite a few that don't involve any magical powers :O. Like the Queen's Thief series.

    "I loved all the different Graces and how people use them in their normal life." -- Agreed. It's not a new concept, supernatural powers like that, but Cashore does a really great job of making them feel pretty ordinary and extraordinary at the same time, huh?

    "Katsa is a wonderful character. She is incredibly strong and intelligent, but what I loved about her was the fact that she shows her vulnerable, soft side. It made her realistic and it shows that she isn’t perfect. I always appreciate complexity in characters. The fact that she starts a Rebellion against her uncle made me admire her and her courage. Her banters with Po were adorable." -- YES. All of Cashore's heroines are like this. I don't think you'll like Fire quite as much as you like Kasta... She might be your least favorite of the 3, but I'm curious what you'd say if you continued to read the other two companions :D.

    "Po comes very close to being too perfect. He has a special Grace he must hide from everyone and he is the only one who comes close to Katsa’s fighting level. I still liked him and I shipped them together like crazy." -- Oh, yes. This is why I am not a huge fan of Po. He's adorable, but to me, tooooo perfect. There are a couple of male main characters in YA who've felt kinda like him to me (the character in the Burning Sky & Tarver from These Broken Stars). Doesn't mean they're not awesome characters, just makes it harder for me to ship them... though it sounds like you didn't have that problem :D?

    "I especially liked the young Bitterblue, who complicates the case with her appearance. I’m definitely intrigued to find out more about Bitterblue. Cashore showed me that she knows how to write. An easy writing-style, an engaging plot and a solid world-building, I can’t ask for more." <-- Bitterblue is an awesome character if you read her book. She's got so much to face in her future 'cause of her dad.... go read the rest now, Mel!!! :D :D

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    1. -Most romances don't work for me, so when I find one they are super special and I'm always extra fangirly. That's a positive side :p I know that High Fantasy doesn't have to mean magical stuff, but I do like it when they add it!
      -I'm very curious to see what I think about Fire (and Bitterblue :D) I will read them as soon as I get them!

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