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Graceling (Graceling Realm, Bk 1)
Graceling - Graceling Realm, Bk 1
Author: Kristin Cashore
In Katsa's world, the "Graced," those gifted in a particular way, are marked by eyes that are different colors. Katsa's Grace is that she is a gifted fighter, and, as such, she is virtually invincible. She is in the service of her tyrannical uncle, king of one of the seven kingdoms, and she is forced to torture people for infra...  more
ISBN-13: 9780152063962
ISBN-10: 015206396X
Publication Date: 10/1/2008
Pages: 471
Edition: 1
Reading Level: Young Adult
  • Currently 4.4/5 Stars.

4.4 stars, based on 101 ratings
Publisher: Harcourt Children's Books
Book Type: Hardcover
Other Versions: Paperback, Audio CD
Members Wishing: 57
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  • Currently 5/5 Stars.
reviewed Graceling (Graceling Realm, Bk 1) on + 1077 more book reviews
3 member(s) found this review helpful.
AWESOME! The people of the Seven Kingdoms are magical (well some of them). They call the magic "Graces". So Katsa has the Grace of killing and she is the King of Randa's assassin. On the side, she is involved with the Council who rescues people in danger from the ever-fighting king's. She meets Prince Po at one such rescue. He has the Grace of fighting. Of course, they spar constantly both verbally and physically.

At one point, they leave Randa and travel on a quest to learn why Po's grandfather has been kidnapped. Their journey takes them throughout the entire realm of the Seven Kingdoms which tends to be tedious at times but really builds the relationship between Katsa and Po. It is reminiscent of Sharon Shinn's Mystic and Rider.

The books starts out slow and rather confusing - too many people, too much conflict and the whole Grace this. About halfway through it really grabbed me and totally drew me in. The world building is spectactular and the characters are wonderful. I can't wait til next month to read Fire.
  • Currently 5/5 Stars.
reviewed Graceling (Graceling Realm, Bk 1) on
3 member(s) found this review helpful.
This book has been my number one favorite book for a year now. It is filled with sooooooo many twists, so many different emotions, so many wonderful perfectly detailed characters! Surprising fact after surprising secret, you will regret finnishing this wonderful tale!
  • Currently 5/5 Stars.
reviewed Graceling (Graceling Realm, Bk 1) on + 168 more book reviews
2 member(s) found this review helpful.
Finally a YA book with a strong, independent female whose desire isn't to be rescued by some prince or married off with children. There are so many books that already have the whole prince rescues princess, or girl wants boy for marriage/kids. It's been overdone!

So, it is so very refreshing to find a novel where the heroine can fight her own battles, is fiercely independent, has future goals/plans, and, at the same time, isn't so aloof/cold that she can't have relationships, friendships, ask for help when needed, etc.

On top of that, the plot is engaging. I read this in one day. Just fantastic. If I could give it more than 5 stars, I would.

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  • Currently 3.5/5 Stars.
reviewed Graceling (Graceling Realm, Bk 1) on + 734 more book reviews

Like many novels there is a point or two where the story seems to slow too much for some readers but I truly enjoyed the key character, Katsa, who has a talent for fighting, combat, and killing. That talent is used by her uncle to punish and/or destroy those who disagree or disobey him. For her uncle, it is important not just to kill but often to torture before killing. Her distaste for torture leads Katsa to refuse to follow his instructions putting her in a difficult position.

Many characters in this novel are "graced" with skills that make their life more interesting or difficult depending upon how you look at it. One is Po, whose grandfather has been kidnapped. When Katsa decides to help him their adventures begin and they narrowly escape difficult situation after difficult situation.

They fall in love but Katsa is determined not to marry anyone. As the novel develops, the reader supports the formation of the Council, an underground network of innkeepers, servants, and gracelings, who share knowledge to thwart missions and protect the innocent who inadvertently encounter the fickle judgment of rulers like Katsa's uncle, Randa.

This is an excellent beginning to a well written series. I hope, however, that the author avoids the trap of many authors who write series and use weak plots and extended wordage just to get the next novel out.
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.
reviewed Graceling (Graceling Realm, Bk 1) on + 27 more book reviews
I loved this book! I truly didn't want it to end. I'd love to write more, but busy, busy, busy. Oh, and I loved the narration. Some of the music in the background was a little too much, but I loved having different voices for the characters.
  • Currently 4/5 Stars.
reviewed Graceling (Graceling Realm, Bk 1) on + 23 more book reviews
I loved this book. First, it's that great classic combination of intrigue, adventure, and a young person growing up and learning how to be independent. What takes it beyond readability are the engaging writing, sympathetic characters, and some unexpected avoidance of cliches I've come to expect.

Katsa is the king's enforcer/executioner. She hates the job and herself a bit for doing it, but at the beginning doesn't see how to break free of his control. So in her spare time, she's formed a secret council that does good deeds under cover of darkness in an attempt to undo some of the harm she and the king have done. A mission introduces her to Prince Po and a boatload of conspiracy and intrigue, which naturally leads to them going on a mission to find out the truth and possibly rescue a few people and topple a monarchy.

The Seven Kingdoms are like many Fantasylands with their vaguely medieval setups, but Cashore doesn't always follow the script, fortunately. Like many fantasy heroines, Katsa doesn't like wearing dresses - but only because they get in the way of her work, not because she thinks dresses are inherently evil creations. She quite likes her nurse, who is very much pro-dress. She doesn't want to get married - not because she hates men, but because the legal aspects of marriage in her society are unfair, and she thinks that would wreck even a good relationship where she and the guy wanted to treat each other as equals. She doesn't want children either - not because she doesn't like kids; in fact, she likes them fine and acts as a mentor and protector to a girl for part of the book. She just doesn't want her own. And when on her travels she encounters women who are not sure how to protect themselves after their husbands or sons have disappeared (or whatever), she doesn't side with the many fantasy heroines who gripe about how useless those girls are. She wonders why people don't train their daughters in self-defense and force them to be dependent on others to protect themselves, which is not a foolproof system by a long shot. And being Katsa, you know she'll try to fix this, too.

Also, the villain was one of the scariest villains I've seen in a while, and he wasn't quite typical either. He didn't live in a brooding fortress, or ride into battle, or go around randomly stabbing peasants to show us how evil he is, or spend piles of gold on gluttonous feasts and fancy clothes, or even bribe people to hide his evil deeds.

I also enjoyed the prequel, Fire, and am looking forward to the release of the sequel Bitterblue.

Book Wiki

Seven Kingdoms  1 of 2
katsa (Primary Character)
po (Primary Character)