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Graceling by Kristin Cashore
MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
5,969447701 (4.17)1 / 634
Authors:Kristin Cashore
Info:Harcourt Children's Books (2008), Hardcover, 480 pages
Collections:Your library

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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)
Oh man, this book - it broke my heart and not in the good way.

The book started out well enough. It's very well written, the pacing is good, character development was good, the world building was good, the plot was good. It was all good. This should have been a solid four star read. In the end I had to talk myself from two stars up to three.

Graceling follows a pretty typical high fantasy recipe: Main character has extraordinary powers and is subject to the whims of tyrant-king. Meanwhile, evil is brewing elsewhere. Character meets love interest - see love story grow. Character takes hold of their own destiny and sets out to save the world. There's nothing really new here.

Still, at first, the book kept me reading and was well on its way to a four-star rating. Then I hit the 60% mark and suddenly found myself in danger of dying from boredom. It picks up again for the last 5-6% or so, but there's something fundamentally wrong when the most boring part of a book is the part which is supposed to be the most exciting. I literally had to force myself to read the last 40% and even then I skim-read a lot of the stuff with Katsa and Bitterblue in the mountains because I knew if I didn't, this would end up in the DNF pile.

Okay, now I'm going to address the feminist agenda in this book. I love books with a feminist theme. I love a good old 'stong female' main character as much as the next feminist. I did not like Katsa. In fact, I've come very close to hating her. She's not the worst pseudo-feminist character I hated, nor does she hold the number one spot on my list (that honor is reserved for Celaena Sardothien) but I'd probably say she takes number two.

Her out-right refusal to marry? I could appreciate this if it was for a sensible reason, or just because (like myself) she saw no value in it. Refusing to marry because she would not allow a man to rule her - especially when at one point in the novel she admits that her love interest wouldn't do that - is ridiculous. I might not see the value in marriage myself, but the message in this book that marriage is unequal is not fair and misrepresenting.

Her abhorrence of all things feminine? This is the one that really gets me. This ideal that in order to be considered truly equal women must cast off the trappings of femininity and embrace all that is masculine. She cuts her hair short "like a mans," likes to remind us of how much she hates dresses and shoes and jewelry and basically anything that can be considered remotely feminine, she lives in men's clothing. I would love to see a woman who accepts that she is a woman and embraces everything that is feminine be a kick ass heroine (and yes, I know, Celaena Sardothien, but I explain all my reasons for disliking her here.)

This habit that authors have of trying to masculinise female characters and calling it feminism is so damaging. It completely undermines the real message behind feminism that women, exactly as they are, are just as capable and competent as men. By turning her into a tomboy, the author demeans that message, especially when it has already been done so, so many times.

Overall, it was a disappointing read. It ended up being a very boring, the main character was frustrating to read about but the quality of the writing was very good. It's not a book I'll ever read again and I don't think I'll be going on to read the other two. ( )
  LydiaLeigh257 | Apr 29, 2015 |
I can only imagine how hard it is to come up with new & fresh material with so many awesome books out there. Although Katsa did remind me a lot of Katniss from the Hunger Games, both in name and personality, this story is entirely different. The whole idea of different colored eyes, and being “graced” with something special was new to me. Of course, I’m not terribly well read, but it seems like an original concept.

I liked watching the relationship between Katsa and Po grow. I liked how he didn’t expect her to change, that he encouraged her strengths and accepted her for who she was while at the same time encouraging her to be her best self. What I didn’t like about this book was the negative position it projected about marriage. This is touted as a Young Adult novel, but it’s not something I’d want my impressionable “young adults” to be reading. For one thing, the idea of taking a lover and it being an acceptable alternative to marriage is not one that I condone. Secondly, I don’t see that wanting to marry or to bear children makes a woman less independent or weak, which is the stance Katsa seems to take. There’s also a lot of cruelty and abuse discussed in these pages, and it’s not something, certainly, that I’d want my pre-teen reading.

Would I recommend this to fellow book lovers? Yes, but it wouldn’t be at the top of my recommendation list?
Would I recommend this to my teen daughter? No.

3.5 of 5 stars ( )
  lauraodom | Apr 16, 2015 |
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 |
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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