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Graceling by Kristin Cashore
MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
5,899448709 (4.18)1 / 629
Authors:Kristin Cashore
Info:Orlando, FL : Harcourt, 2008.
Collections:Your library, Reviewed
Tags:type: hardback, age: young adult, genre: fantasy, read 2009, read 2010, strong women, read 2011, read 2012, read 2014

Work details

Graceling by Kristin Cashore

  1. 332
    The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins (librarymeg, saltypepper)
    saltypepper: The heroines' voices are very similar, maybe due to their similar response to the awful circumstances they find themselves in.
  2. 281
    Fire by Kristin Cashore (SheReads, Anonymous user)
    SheReads: Prequel to Graceling about different characters.
    Anonymous user: because you get the same different world paranormal thing and you get the romance and the good conquers evil
  3. 200
    The Hero and the Crown by Robin McKinley (Aerrin99, humouress)
    Aerrin99: Aerin and Katsa are both gifted women who struggle to find the line between respect and fear. Also, they kick butt.
    humouress: The way the heroines feel like outsiders because of their heritage is similar, as is the way the authors describe the way the heroines think.
  4. 201
    Alanna: The First Adventure by Tamora Pierce (francescadefreitas, helgagrace, espertus)
    espertus: Both Graceling and the Lioness quartet are stories of strong but vulnerable young women wanting to use their considerable powers for good and maintain their identity in the face of romance.
  5. 170
    Poison Study by Maria V. Snyder (deadbookdarling)
    deadbookdarling: Both are set in magical worlds, have strong female leads and a dash of romance.
  6. 170
    The Blue Sword by Robin McKinley (foggidawn, Aerrin99, humouress)
    Aerrin99: For stories that feature interesting and strong woman matched with equally interesting and strong men, with a dash of danger, adventure, and magic tossed in, try either of these books!
    humouress: The way the heroines feel like outsiders because of their heritage is similar, as is the way the authors describe the way the heroines think.
  7. 90
    Terrier by Tamora Pierce (notemily)
  8. 50
    Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta (alaskabookworm)
  9. 73
    The Thief by Megan Whalen Turner (notemily, C.Vick)
    C.Vick: While different in essence, I think Turner's Attolia books have a similar feel to Graceling.
  10. 51
    First Test by Tamora Pierce (foggidawn)
  11. 20
    Cinder by Marissa Meyer (Rozax)
    Rozax: Protagonist is relegated to third-class citizenship because of her gifts and must overcome prejudice.
  12. 20
    Throne of Glass by Sarah J. Maas (luna_lovegood)
    luna_lovegood: Exactly as kazhout said "strong, beautiful, intelligent, and sassy." Plus, badass and good heart.
  13. 20
    Mistwood by Leah Cypess (foggidawn)
  14. 20
    The Singer of All Songs by Kate Constable (bbrux)
    bbrux: Young woman on an adventure to discover her hidden talents.
  15. 21
    The Queen of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner (Nikkles)
  16. 10
    Moribito: Guardian of the Spirit by Nahoko Uehashi (avatiakh)
  17. 00
    The Legacy of Tril: Soulbound by Heather Brewer (SunnySD)
  18. 00
    The Demon King by Cinda Williams Chima (furieous)
  19. 00
    Touch of Power by Maria V. Snyder (bluepolicebox)
  20. 00
    Defy by Sara B. Larson (BookLizard)
    BookLizard: Strong female character. Political intrigue. Realistic love triangle.

(see all 30 recommendations)


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English (445)  Dutch (1)  Swedish (1)  Spanish (1)  All languages (448)
Showing 1-5 of 445 (next | show all)
Graceling tells the story of Katsa, niece of the King and Graced with the gift of fighting. Even without her Grace, she is not like the other women in court. She wants to never get married or have children. Her uncle uses her as his personal enforcer – sending her to hurt or kill those who dare challenge him.

But Katsa despises her uncle and the harm he causes. She secretly defies his authority and beings helping those in danger throughout the Seven Kingdoms. Even with her covert work as a protector of the people she still feels alone and unwanted. She views her Grace as a curse – believing she exists only to cause harm and hurt.

It’s after she meets Po, a Price from the Kingdom of Lienid who seems to possess a similar Grace, that she beings to reevaluate her life and her Grace.

I was caught up in the story from the first page. The pacing is very well done and keeps you hanging until the last page. I ended up reading the book in one sitting because I couldn’t put it down and I had to know how it ended. Katsa is a great leading woman, strong and determined to be who she wants to be.

There is some romance, but it is firmly PG-13 and does not take over the rest of the story. It gave me a similar vibe to Brandon Sanderson’s Mistborn Trilogy. I would highly recommend it to someone who loves fantasy novels or is looking for something with a strong female protagonist. ( )
  Decora | Mar 18, 2015 |
Fantastic New YA Fantasy/Adventure series!!!

Others before me have provided well-written summaries. The only thing I can emphatically add is give it a shot. So many reviewers tend to liken one series to another (if you like that, then you'll like this...) I could write those analogies, too, but keep in mind, this isn't an adventure in a dystopian society.

If you're looking for a new series, if you like YA (whether you're young or not so young), if you like adventure, give this a try. I am sure you won't be disappointed. ( )
  olongbourn | Mar 1, 2015 |
Graceling is one of the best teen books I’ve read in a while simply because of the SUPER AWESOME female protagonist who is a butt-kickin’, sword swinging, mountain lion fighting dame. I know, right? THE DEFINITION of what it means to be the opposite of the Bella Swan-like YA female lead. Very refreshing, especially after Beautiful Creatures.

I was sucked into Graceling right from the beginning when it places you in media res — for those of you who aren’t complete English nerds like me that means smack dab in the middle of some crazy action that’s going down — and we see that Kasta (our fantastic feline) is running a rescue mission for a Council that she’s *ahem* THE HEAD OF. Yeah, this girl’s not sitting around on her butt all day, she gets stuff done. Anyway, we learn that she is Graced with killing and that kinda makes her pretty much invincible so no one is messing with Miss Kasta ;) This Grace also causes her a lot of inner struggle in coming to terms with her Grace and not letting it turn her into a monster to be commanded by a hard-hearted king. Who is also her uncle. Seriously, what was with all the family drams drams back then? OH! AND There’s also a super cute prince, a rescue quest and yet an even more evil and more sadistic king, so hey, where can you go wrong?

It was great to read a book set in an imaginary Medieval land again because I loved reading those kinds of books when I was a kid. (Eragon and the Song of The Lioness quartet come to mind.) I just forgot how much I love those worlds and I feel like they aren’t getting published as much nowadays.

Now I just want to take this opportunity to gush about Kasta a little more :P Kasta is one of the strongest female heroines I have ever had the pleasure to meet in the world of fiction. She is brave enough to defy her uncle and doesn’t try to escape from him by marrying her friend. NOPE, NO-SIR-EE. Even though marriage would pretty much solve the uncle problem, she is an independent woman who knows what she wants and says SCREW THIS and just takes control of the situation herself. A character I can respect! Also I liked the fact that when on her journey with Prince Po, she is the one that does all the hunting and things like that. It was nice to read about a girl who could take care of herself and other people and who can step up to the plate when she’s needed to be brave or get things done, unlike some people (*cough* Bella *cough* Lena *cough*…. sorry, tickle in my throat.)

Moving on to her charming Prince Po…

Po is definitely a swoon-worthy guy and belongs up there with all the other literary guys that are super easy to fall for. What I think I liked about him the most was the refreshing way in which he was presented. I LOVED the fact that he wasn’t glorified in the eyes of a lovesick teenage girl. It made me like him even more when I didn’t have to read exhausting descriptions comparing his shirtless figure to that of a Greek god and yada yada yada. I also loved the fact that even though it is known by EVERYONE, including Po himself, that Kasta is the better fighter, he recognizes this and supports her, saying that he is not humiliated by her superiority, but humbled by it. I mean, is this guy THE BEST or what???

So, if I loved the characters and setting and everything so much WHY OH WHY did I not give it 5 stars? Well, the ONLY thing was that I found it lagged a bit during some of the journeying scenes and the denouement was a little too long. I think there was around 70 pages left after the climax, which wasn’t too bad, but it definitely could have been a little more succinct.


This book was definitely worth the read and I will MOST definitely be looking for Fire (the companion) and Bitterblue (the sequel). Kristin Cashore has earned her place on my bookshelf! ( )
  ceecee83 | Feb 28, 2015 |
I had fun with this book while I was reading it. However, the lower score comes because after I was done with it, I realized certain glaring issues with this book that I just couldn't get past.

First of all is the idea of Gracelings. Even though Gracelings and the main characters' individual Graces play a huge part in this book, it's never explained where these Graces come from. Some people just have them (all of them varying in helpfulness and strength) and you're just supposed to accept this. While I was not expecting some in depth explanation of this, I was wanting something. Like maybe an explanation based on religious beliefs, or maybe some sort of folklore that people use to explain these powers. Alas, there was nothing.

In fact, this world seemed completely devoid of anything that makes new worlds interesting. There was not folklore, no religion as far as the reader could see, and no exploration of the cultural differences between kingdoms. There were a couple of cultural things that are touched on, like how Lienid actually likes Gracelings unlike the other kingdoms, but as far as the actual people go, there wasn't much to distinguish them. No accents, no description of what they look like, nothing. I felt a little robbed since I wanted to know more about these places and people rather than the flora and fauna that the characters see on their travels. (There is a lot of this, and it drove me nuts.)

On top of this, I couldn't like Katsa as much as I wanted to. Her character needed more delving into, and while I could tell that there was some really interesting baggage and motivations behind her actions none of these were actually touched upon which made her feel a little flat. There was also a rather feminist theme surrounding Katsa that I would have loved to see more fleshed out. I can appreciate what she was trying to do with this theme, but I felt that it fell a little short and could have been expanded to become more impactful for the reader. Especially for the younger audience that it is written for.

The dialogue was sometimes on the iffy side. While some of the dialogue was really realistic, there were times when I rolled my eyes cause I just couldn't see these characters, let alone anyone, talk that way. For this reason, there is a particular scene that is really disappointing since I was anticipating for it to happen, and then when it happened the whole dialogue was just so melodramatic and uncharacteristic that it totally ruined the scene.

Also, the pacing of the plot was very up and down, with some sections that were fun and fast-paced, and others that seemed to drag on forever. That and the main plot of the book doesn't really come into play until about halfway through, which really annoyed me. It almost felt like a secondary plot when it really should have been brought in closer to the beginning of the book rather than just setting up for this big reveal and then taking forever to do anything about it. I think more time is actually spent on the characters traveling than actual action. Hence the slow parts.

This book had so much potential to be awesome but then kind of dropped the ball. Don't get me wrong, this book was not horrible. I actually enjoyed it for a little while, but it really doesn't stand up to any close inspection which I can't really help but give. However, if you're just looking for something fun to read really quickly, this book goes by fast and is good enough to hold your attention until the end. Just don't think about it too hard. ( )
  kell1732 | Jan 25, 2015 |
This is very, very good. I feel I have to start with that, because it's in my nature to focus on my criticism more than my praise, and I don't want my criticism to take away from the fact that this was a very, very good book. The plot was compelling, the world was interesting, and the main character, Katsa, is FINALLY a female character you can sink your teeth into. She's strong, tough, flawed, interesting, and consistent all the way through (not one of those warrior chicks who finds love only to settle down and learn crochet, ahem).

The only flaw? I wish the author had gone deeper. I felt that there was so much more to this character and this world that could have been brought out. It felt a bit shallow, which is a shame. But I will be reading the rest of this series. ( )
  CherieDooryard | Jan 20, 2015 |
Showing 1-5 of 445 (next | show all)
In a world of gossip girls, it is perhaps refreshing to have a teenage heroine who cuts off all her hair because it gets in her way; and Kristin Cashore’s eccentric and absorbing first novel, “Graceling,” has such a heroine. Katsa is tough, awkward, beautiful and consumed by pressing moral issues

» Add other authors (12 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Kristin Cashoreprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Baker, David AaronNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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For my mother,
Nedda Previtera Cashore,
who has a meatball Grace,
and my father,
J. Michael Cashore,
who is Graced with losing (and finding) his glasses
First words
In these dungeons the darkness was complete, but Katsa had a map in her mind.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Amazon.com Amazon.com Review (ISBN 0547258305, Paperback)

If you had the power to kill with your bare hands, what would you do with it?

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.

Graceling is the first book in a series, and Kristin Cashore’s first work of fiction. It sets up a vivid world with engaging characters that readers will certainly look forward to following beyond the last chapter of this book. (Ages 14 and up) --Heidi Broadhead

(retrieved from Amazon Mon, 30 Sep 2013 13:25:17 -0400)

(see all 3 descriptions)

In a world where some people are born with extreme and often-feared skills called Graces, Katsa struggles for redemption from her own horrifying Grace, the Grace of killing, and teams up with another young fighter to save their land from a corrupt king.… (more)

(summary from another edition)

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