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Review: Graceling by Kristin Cashore

in a sentence or so: Katsa is Graced with killing. meaning, she's virtually indestructible and capable of just about anything. while she's on a secret mission she discovers a man who is Graced with fighting and, through some unforeseen and very unfortunate circumstances, will be her companion to stop a wicked king of unthinkable acts.

everyone born with a Grace (noted by two different colored eyes) are sent to their king. the king then decides what to do with them - keep them for his service, or send them to live in their villages and freak people out for the rest of their lives. and king Randa just could not pass up having an advantage like his niece Katsa in his court. with the ability to inflict immense pain to those who defy Randa, she proved an amazing asset. obviously, she hated being used like a wild animal in this way and started doing things her way. when Katsa is rescuing a kidnapped noble, she discovers the reasoning behind the actions and gets to know the people she meets along the way which permanently alter the way she sees the world, her Grace, and her purpose in life.

okay, so i had heard tons of buzz about this book on the ya lit circuit - both by bloggers and by the recognition it received from official channels. and i can confirm that it was all worth it. the characters are complex and thoughtful, while the plot is constantly twisting and creative. the landscapes are so vivid and there is a sense of plausibility to the whole story, which i personally find very refreshing in fantasy books. it's kinda like a 'coming-of-age' in a way, because of Katsa's realization about who she is, what she does, and why she does it. i don't want to geek out too much, because the mystery behind what happens is part of what makes this such a great book.

i am blown away that this was the first book by Cashore. she wrote with confidence and respect for her readers. and i LOVED that the opening segment of the book was in the midst of action, not a long drawn out explanation of what Grace's are, who Katsa is, etc... you find out along the way - which keeps the pacing exciting and fun. also, there is a map in the front. i LOVE maps in books.

at times heavy, at times funny, at times romantic, always exciting and adventurous and clever, Graceling was quite a journey and one that is well worth the read!

fave quotes: "She practiced every day. She learned her own speed and her own explosive force. She learned the angle, position, and intensity of a killing blow versus a maiming blow. She learned how to disarm a man and how to break his leg, and how to twist his arm so severely that he would stop struggling and beg for release. She learned to fight with a sword and with knives and daggers. She was so fast and focused, so creative, she could find a way to beat a man senseless with both arms tied to her sides. Such was her Grace." (11)
"Who were they, to take her fight away from her and turn it into some sort of understanding between themselves? He should've taken more care of her face? She would knock his nose from his face. She would thump them both, and she would apologize to neither." (90)

fix er up: coming in just shy of 500 pages, the book is a bit of a beast. but trust me, it's well worth it! it seemed intimidating at first, and then utterly un-put-downable after page 1.

title: Graceling
author: Kristin Cashore
genre: Fantasy, Adventure, Lisa's Faves

Lisa is a gamer, crafter, fangirl, mother, wife and unabashed nerd who is pretty ridiculous and it's best you know that up front. When she's not binge watching Netflix or crafting into the wee hours of the night, you can find her spending a lot of her time on Pinterest and Twitter.


  1. i'll say it again: name of the wind. i can't recommend it enough and it could be considered young adult lit.

  2. Great review! I absolutely loved this book, too, and I can't wait to read the next book by Cashore. :)

  3. eriks: i know i know i know - notw will be coming sometime in my future...no worries.

    em: thanks! i about peed my pants when i found out she's having another book AND she's writing a prequel focused on Bitterblue...


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