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Graceling by Kristin Cashore
MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingConversations / Mentions
7,756517673 (4.15)1 / 675
Authors:Kristin Cashore
Info:Graphia (2009), Edition: Reprint, Paperback, 480 pages
Collections:Your library

Work details

Graceling by Kristin Cashore

  1. 323
    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. 220
    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. 30
    The Singer of All Songs by Kate Constable (bbrux)
    bbrux: Young woman on an adventure to discover her hidden talents.
  12. 30
    Uprooted by Naomi Novik (cransell)
    cransell: Both excellent YA fantasy with strong female characters and great world building.
  13. 20
    Mistwood by Leah Cypess (foggidawn)
  14. 20
    Cinder by Marissa Meyer (Rozax)
    Rozax: Protagonist is relegated to third-class citizenship because of her gifts and must overcome prejudice.
  15. 21
    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.
  16. 43
    Divergent by Veronica Roth (hairball, Echocliffs)
    hairball: Young women rebelling against their prescribed role.
  17. 21
    The Queen of Attolia by Megan Whalen Turner (Nikkles)
  18. 10
    Moribito: Guardian of the Spirit by Nahoko Uehashi (avatiakh)
  19. 00
    The Demon King by Cinda Williams Chima (furieous)
  20. 00
    Sabriel by Garth Nix (ajwseven)

(see all 31 recommendations)


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English (515)  Dutch (1)  Swedish (1)  Spanish (1)  All languages (518)
Showing 1-5 of 515 (next | show all)
I read this novel after reading Fire, which is a parallel novel that could be considered a prequel, as Fire is set when the main antagonist in Graceling was a child.

This novel was intriguing enough to keep me wanting to read until the end, which was fortunate. I couldn't see how the stories of the two companion novels connected until almost the end. Unfortunately, I was disappointed that Graceling was less appealing than its monstrous companion. Fire's plot was tighter, the motivations of its title character were clearer and made her more likeable, and Fire's Prince Brigand was a stronger character than Po (whose name I had to look up to review). Bitterblue (in the third book) is introduced here, yet she didn't capture my interest enough that I intend to complete the trilogy.

The magical system, not characterization, was easily my favorite aspect. ( )
  aspirit | Mar 15, 2019 |
In this quasi-medieval fantasy, teenaged Katsa lives under the tyranny of her uncle Randa, king of Middluns (yes, the kingdom in the middle). Katsa is Graced, which is this storyworld's twist on superheroes. Unfortunately, her Grace appears to be killing, and Randa has exploited her abilities for years. By the time we meet Katsa, she's practically a sociopath, or at least, she behaves like one--utterly pragmatic, incapable of empathy. Or is she? Meeting Po (yes, that's his name), a Graced prince of the kingdom near the sea, challenges what she believes about her fate, her Grace, and the world around her.

Whether between heroes and villains or, more memorably, between the two heroes themselves, this novel never runs out of conflict. The Graces are intriguing, and the climax and conclusion aren't entirely predictable. Katsa and Po are the strength of this book--complex characters that grow into a realistically paced romance. All in all, there's potential here for a really great young adult fantasy.

Since I was enjoying the story, on the whole, I tried not to see the slips into feminist agenda fiction, but I couldn't miss them after awhile. Sure, strong females are all the rage nowadays, but Katsa is almost literally invincible (as we discover further into the book), to the point that everyone around her starts to look annoyingly feeble after awhile. Also, if anyone wrote a (especially young adult) novel about a young man abusing a young woman the way Katsa abuses Po, readers would probably be up in arms. The role reversal, however, tries to make this an understandable character quality in Katsa (though she does grow past it somewhat in the course of the story). I'm really not sure what I think about this and what it says about the current reading culture.

Then there's Katsa's unexplained yet vehement hatred for marriage (not sex, though, sex is fine). Yes, after living as the property of Randa, Katsa would loathe the possibility of ownership by someone else. Since Randa's exploitation was never sexual in nature, it makes sense that she can become Po's lover without feeling "owned" by him. However, Randa was never her husband, either. As far as the reader knows, Katsa has never observed a marriage in which the wife was treated as property. So why would marrying Po, who treats her ridiculously well, turn her into his property? Maybe the reader is supposed to assume, based on the medieval-esque setting, that all wives are their husband's property. As it's written, this entire theme feels like the author's soapbox.

The prose itself could use some maturing. Melodrama abounds (needless repetition of character names in dialogue; tacking "and" onto the beginning of sentences for no good reason; redundancy of phrases within paragraphs; spelling out concepts that would be more powerful unsaid). The villain's Utterly Evil Sadism falls into melodramatic territory as well, and don't get me started on naming a serious character Bitterblue.

But here's the thing ... despite its style and substance flaws, Graceling is a fun read. At the outset, I was curious to discover what would happen next, especially to Po, given where his character is at the end. The unexpected crisis works well and leaves him with so much room for growth. I even had half a hope that, in the sequel, Katsa would grow into a young woman who learns to empathize with others and continues to develop meaningful, non-exploiting relationships.

Then the next book released, and I didn't care to read it (Leck? What about this book would make me want to read about Leck?). And then the next, and I have no interest in that one, either (Bitterblue? Just no).

My enjoyment of Graceling is a bit dimmed by the fact that I'll apparently never get real closure with Katsa and Po, but I didn't take this into account when choosing a star rating. Three stars for Po's ending twist and for overall entertainment value. ( )
  AmandaGStevens | Mar 2, 2019 |
I read this book but can't remember it completely so I'm re-reading it starting 3/8/17 before I go on to the 2nd book.
Wow I didn't remember most of that book. I enjoyed it ( )
  StarKnits | Feb 6, 2019 |
This review is posted on my blog

I'm very late to the game here, but when it comes to this book it's most defiantly better late than never! I know that the book world and the world of young adult has been raving about this book for, well, forever. I myself have had it on my to-read shelf since September of 2011! Well I finally got around to reading it and let me tell you, it is marvelous!

Right off the bat you get thrown right into the middle of a world, and in the middle of the excitement! There is no winding up period in this book, you learn about the world, and the political situations on the fly! As you race around with Katsa, you begin to learn about Gracelings and how this beautifully crafted world functions. There is something wonderfully realistic about a society that would fear and hate these gifted individuals, and their mismatched eyes, and it allows the book to have the touch of fantasy, while the majority of the world is carrying on as normal.

Katsa reminded me of a more likable Katniss Everdeen from The Hunger Games. I particularly loved that she focused on the important things going on in the world, and was not immediately swept away by a man. Although there is eventually a romance that unfolds, it is not overwhelming, and it does not eclipse the overall plot of this book. It felt more like a story of building trust, and a true relationship, than the terrifyingly unhealthy obsessions that I am seeing more and more.

I am really looking forward to the sequel, especially because this book actually contained what I would have thought would be the climax to this series, so I can't even begin to imagine what is coming next!

What's a book that everyone read long before you did, and are you feeling like you missed the excitement train? ( )
  AngelaRenea | Jan 12, 2019 |
I'm super late on this one, but I found Graceling to be a super original medieval, young adult fantasy. It seemed very fresh even though teen fantasy has been more than a bit lackluster in recent years. In this tale, there are many kingdoms close together, currently they are at a peace, but that doesn't mean that all is well. Katsa is a Grace, every kingdoms has Graces, individual with different colored eyes and varying special abilities. Katsa is graced with killing. She is unmatched in brute force and strength. Her uncle is a king and sends her out to do his dirty work and she is sick of it. To try and balance the scale she created an underground council that operates in all the kingdoms and works to root out evil and injustice. When she helps rescue a kidnapped old man, she has no idea how much her life is about to change. She encounters unheard of dangers, an unthinkably evil plot, and the biggest threat to herself and the kingdoms; someone nearly equal to her in strength and cunning. A mild romance, plenty of adventure, and lots of intrigue. Great fun and I think I may continue the series! ( )
  ecataldi | Jan 6, 2019 |
Showing 1-5 of 515 (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 editionscalculated
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 Thu, 12 Mar 2015 18:06:50 -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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