Saturday, November 5, 2011

Review: Graceling by Kristin Cashore

Read (January 9 - 12 2011)

Book: Graceling (The Seven Kingdoms #1) by Kristin Cashore
Publication Date: October 1, 2008
Publisher: Harcourt Children's Books
Number of Pages: 471
Genre/s: Young Adult, Fantasy
Source: Bought

Katsa has been able to kill a man with her bare hands since she was eight—she’s a Graceling, one of the rare people in her land born with an extreme skill. As niece of the king, she should be able to live a life of privilege, but Graced as she is with killing, she is forced to work as the king’s thug.

When she first meets Prince Po, Graced with combat skills, Katsa has no hint of how her life is about to change. She never expects to become Po’s friend. She never expects to learn a new truth about her own Grace—or about a terrible secret that lies hidden far away...a secret that could destroy all seven kingdoms with words alone. - (source)
“And now I’m wondering,” he said, “how it is you don’t realize your eyes ensnare me, just as mine do you. I can’t explain it, Katsa, but you shouldn’t let it embarrass you. For we’re both overtaken by the same—foolishness.” - taken from Graceling
A Graceling is a person with Graced. Being Graced is like having an exceptional talent. But it does not only refer to singing or dancing, it could be that you are Graced with holding your breath for 30 mins without dying or killing like in the case of Katsa, the heroine of the story. You can also distinguish a Graced from an Ungraced by his or her eye color. If it’s two different eye colors, then voila you’ve spotted a Graceling.

A Graceling if deemed worthy will serve under the king’s order whether they like it or not. Katsa is feared for she is Graced with killing and is used as a striking hand to punish the people who defies the king. However, Katsa is not the monster the people think she is and despises doing the king’s order. She even created the Council to help the oppressed and their latest mission was to save the father of the King of Lienid. But even as they completed the mission, they have still no clue as to who is the mastermind beyond the kidnapping, and as she continues to unravel the mystery, Katsa found herself in the middle of everything she had not foreseen. It is changing her and challenging every bit of her surviving skills.

One thing I immediately noticed was the unique names. Katsa, Prince Greening Grandemalion, Grandfather Tealiff and Bitterblue. Is there a trend for names like this? Maybe I should change my name to Kiki or C2? What dya’ think?

Anyway, the story is strong, fresh and engaging. I actually finish the book in one-sitting. ‘Twas that amazing!

Katsa was described as a fighter who is unbeatable and unconquerable, she even have to control her strength on her sparring sessions. She’s invincible and self-sufficient. But Cashore being cunning that she is, created someone, a one-eyed king, who can matched Katsa not by strength but by something more powerful and evil.

The love story was awesome. I find myself loving every character and investing on each of them. Prince Greening Grandemalion aka Po was just so charming and funny that even if he uses wildcat (blah) as a term of endearment, I immediately rooted for him. And Katsa is not your typical heroine. She’s no damsel in distress. She can do her stuff, carry her own, and sacrifice even if it meant breaking her heart. I just love their banter and sweet moments. 

There’s just this one chapter (Chapter 20) where my eyes were threatening to fall out of their sockets and I can feel my blood rushing into my brain. It’s my least favorite chapter and I wish it to be non-existing but I realized that it was needed. It’s an essential piece to what I guess Cashore is trying to build. She’s attaching Katsa and Po and simultaneously engrossing the readers to their relationship, and if she also planned to have her readers heartbroken and feel wretched in the succeeding chapters, then she’d definitely succeeded. She’s a very wise lady, I say. The element of surprise was greatly executed, too. I dunno if it was me being too engrossed that I did not saw it coming. I was completely blindsided and I applaud her for that. 

Reading Graceling was like a breath of fresh air. The pacing is just right; the character building was great. Cashore is as of now enlisted as one of my favorite authors and knowing that this is her debut novel, I am surely looking forward for more books from her in the future. She made my first book this year very worth it! This is definitely a must-read people!

Cupid's Verdict:
5 Cupids


  1. I had trouble getting into this one when I tried it earlier, but I think I have to give it another go sometime. I'm glad you enjoyed it so much! Great review. Thanks for stopping by my blog, too!

  2. Thank you for taking some of your time to visit my blog, Wendy. :)

    I have the same problem too when I started reading Graceling because the writing style is somewhat different from what I am used to. But after getting past that I started to become engrossed with the story Cashore created and ended up loving it. I really think you should give it another try next time and I'll surely be waiting for your review. :)

  3. When I first started reading this, it was hard for me to follow the story. Maybe it was after 2 or 3 chapters that I learned what the main story is all about. But I loved it after reading 5 chapters or so. The story was fascinating and intriguing that I have to keep on flipping the pages and not minding that it was already 5 o'clock in the morning. :D

    Have you read Fire by Kristin Cashore? It's not as good as Graceling (for me!) but it's still, it's amazing. :) Btw, I love your review! I sure hope Bitterblue will not disappoint. :)

    1. I know. It was very slow at first but then it picked up its pace. It was pretty much hard to put down after that. I agree as well that Graceling is better than Fire although Fire has its own magic and strengths. I simply cannot wait for Bitterblue! Thank you, Preeti! :)

  4. I once started this book but other books came in the way and I didn't pick up up again. But something tells me I should!

  5. I could not make it through this book, though I may give it another try based on your review. It just bored me, and by 50 pages in, I couldn't take it anymore. Also, I hated the names. However, I may give it another try. Thanks for the review!

  6. luv the review..i will this book in indonesian version :)

  7. I have been told by so many people that I need to take a chance on Graceling. I am not even sure why I haven't, since this is definitely the type of book that I normally would snap up in a heartbeat. Thanks so much for your review, because now I have the motivation to hit the library and bring Graceling home with me!


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