Sep 5, 2009

Graceling, by Kristin Cashore

Summary (from

Graceling takes readers inside the world of Katsa, a warrior-girl in her late teens with one blue eye and one green eye. This gives her haunting beauty, but also marks her as a Graceling. Gracelings are beings with special talents—swimming, storytelling, dancing. Katsa's Grace is considered more useful: her ability to fight (and kill, if she wanted to) is unequaled in the seven kingdoms. Forced to act as a henchman for a manipulative king, Katsa channels her guilt by forming a secret council of like-minded citizens who carry out secret missions to promote justice over cruelty and abuses of power.

Combining elements of fantasy and romance, Cashore skillfully portrays the confusion, discovery, and angst that smart, strong-willed girls experience as they creep toward adulthood. Katsa wrestles with questions of freedom, truth, and knowing when to rely on a friend for help. This is no small task for an angry girl who had eschewed friendships (with the exception of one cousin that she trusts) for her more ready skills of self-reliance, hunting, and fighting. Katsa also comes to know the real power of her Grace and the nature of Graces in general: they are not always what they appear to be.

My Opinion:

I found Graceling a bit slow to start, but once it gained momentum, there was no putting it down.
In the beginning, I wasn't very comfortable with the writing in third person, but later I learned that it had a purpose: to show us, not only what went through Katsa's mind, but through the rest of the characters as well, and this was something without I couldn't have guessed many of their reactions or thoughts.
I liked that Katsa and Po's relationship wasn't rushed, but built in the first half of the book, deepened in the third quarter, and fully developed in the end. It always kept me on the edge of my seat, and left me wanting more. Cashore handled this romance in a sweet, yet sensual, manner.
Learning about Katsa's Grace was also a plus. The back-story of how she learned what her Grace was was very well told. It explained many things when, further into the story, we learn more about this Grace of hers, and how it's not exactly what she (and everyone else) thought it was.
I could understand why she would want to stay away from people, so that she didn't have a chance to hurt them by accident, even if this meant having just a handful of friends, people who weren't scared to look her in the eyes.

Graceling is a beautiful tale, full of adventures, love and friendship.

I recommend it to those who like The Lord of the Rings (couldn't help comparing them), a bit of magic, and some romance.

Monkey Rating: 4 Monkeys

Author's Site:


*Fire, Graceling's companion, is coming out in October 2009 from Dial Books for Young Readers (in the U.S. and Canada) and Gollancz (in the U.K., Australia, and New Zealand).
And since Graceling was published in Argentina by Roca Juvenil, I'm keeping my fingers crossed to have Fire released not long after it's release in the North!

*The Audiobook for Graceling is from Full Cast Audio, and every character's got a different voice, played by different people. I had started listening to it before reading the book, but found it a little slow (like I said, it took me a while to get into it). I recommend listening to it after reading Graceling. I may give it another chance.

1 monkey thought (s):

Juju from Tales of Whimsy said...

Great review. I really need to read this.

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