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Graceling Hardcover – Bargain Price, October 1, 2008
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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
From School Library Journal
Copyright © Reed Business Information, a division of Reed Elsevier Inc. All rights reserved. --This text refers to an alternate Hardcover edition.
Top Customer Reviews
BUT. This is billed as a book for 14 yo and up, so I think it fair to warn parents of elements they may not want their young teen to encounter. There are a couple of fairly discreet sex scenes, where the author is clear about what is going on but not very detailed. There is also a mention of a brothel near the beginning of the book (although a more offensive word is used to describe it) and there are many incidences of unwanted attention paid to girls or inappropriate comments made about them. This is a plot element, since it makes the lead female character defensive of the young women.
Also, and this is probably the "biggie" for conservative parents, Katsa rejects the concept of marriage, and there are several times when one or another character implies that it is a yoke that will force a couple to stay together regardless of their actual feelings.Read more ›
The book has a satisfying romance that is neither mushy nor too remote. It rang more true overall than most relationships that have been in my recent reading. It's not primarily a romance, although the romance is a strong secondary plot that provides some of the motivation for the characters.
About halfway through, I began to wonder about it being YA since the characters do not come across as teens. I had to go back to the copyright page and check the recommended reading age to verify that, yes, it is being promoted as YA for ages 14 and up. Really, it is a toss up either way. Not that YA isn't mature and wonderful--I read a lot of it after all--but it could have just as easily been marketed to adults. I think the majority of readable fantasy is in YA these days.
I highly recommend the novel but I have to do so with a warning. If it matters to you, the book has a rather anti-marriage message in it which fits the main character's personality, but will be the most problematic element for some readers.
Graceling is well-written with some grand adventure, musings on talents, as well as characters who actually grow and change as they learn more about themselves. It never goes for the cheap shot in action sequences although they aren't the focus of the story. In other words, I liked it. Even the few philosophies that I didn't agree with made me think. That makes it a book worth reading.
Graceling is about Katsa, the niece of a king, who has an extraordinary strength in combat skills. This extraordinary skill is called "Grace". Others may also have a "Grace" although the abilities vary from person to person. Some "Grace" skills are more useful than others, but all Gracelings are marked by their mismatched eyes.
Because of her unique and useful skill, she has become a henchwoman to her uncle Randa who is one of the seven kings of the world. It isn't something that she enjoys but it is something that she has come to accept.
While on a mission for The Council to retrieve the Prince Tealiff, she encounters another Graceling whose presence makes an impression on her.
Later, she encounters him again and learns that he is Tealiff's grandson and a Prince in his own right. The meeting with Po will prompt her to make a decision that will change the course of her life and her world as she and Po learn more of their Grace powers and of treachery and madness that lay within the corridors of another kingdom that will threaten the already fragile political stability of the seven kingdoms.
It sounds like a typical fantasy novel and to a large degree it is, but Graceling is so confidently and smoothly written that it felt fresh and new.Read more ›
Most Recent Customer Reviews
The story was good. Well written. Well developed characters. Good world-building. I enjoyed the story.
The book fell apart. Read more
The characters are well developed and I got attached to them. Good storyline also with the graces being an interesting backdrop.Published 11 days ago by D. Wilkin
I didn't think that I would like this story. BOY was I wrong! I really, really enjoyed the story and the characters. Katsa is an extremely competent fighter. Read morePublished 11 days ago by C. Arcidiacono
Oh Graceling. I looked at this book several times before actually reading it and I am SO glad I finally did! Katsa is a wonderful main character. Read morePublished 16 days ago by Alex Prekeges
the characters, plot, and their development within this new world are wonderful to experience. i keep coming back to katsa and the following adventures as books to mull and... Read morePublished 21 days ago by Amazon Customer
I enjoyed this plot and liked the fact that the love story didn't take over the storyline. A good read and I'll get book 2.Published 21 days ago by kathy
This story was very different from any that I've read. The heroine Katsa, is strong but not very brave at first. Read morePublished 22 days ago by Kindle Customer
I am a huge fan of young and new adult high fantasy stories. I am always looking for new authors, so when Graceling was recommended based on my purchase of everything Sarah J Maas... Read morePublished 28 days ago by jkp