- Audible Audio Edition
- Listening Length: 12 hours and 31 minutes
- Program Type: Audiobook
- Version: Unabridged
- Publisher: Full Cast Audio
- Audible.com Release Date: June 24, 2009
- Whispersync for Voice: Ready
- Language: English
- ASIN: B002ER25IC
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank:
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Graceling Audiobook – Unabridged
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The premise was fascinating – some people grow into special abilities called graces although each grace is different. Katsa has a fighting grace, which her King has her use to intimidate and harm people. Despite hating it, she never fights against it and accepts her position as a killer. I understand the fear of the King’s anger, but cannot reconcile that with allowing oneself to be used and abused in such a manner. She is a fighter and strong enough that no one should be able to command her. Her freedom and her choices should be her own, but she allows herself to be manipulated for a long time.
Po, on the other hand, was very likable. He brings out a better side of Katsa and forces her to realize that she does not have to be the King’s puppet. He is intelligent, a revered fighter and kind. I also liked another character, but as they do not have a role until the later half of the book – I’m afraid that talking about them might spoil details.
The world building was decent and I hope that it is expanded in future books, as this is not a standalone. The journey Katsa goes on is chronicled beautifully, but I don’t feel like I know the world itself or its monarchies well. There are seven kingdoms and I would not be able to detail customs, names or climate of many of them.
Overall, the plot is relatively predictable although there were a few points that weren’t expected. The pacing was steady throughout, but some scene changes and plot progressions seemed to jump forward when the plot would have been better served if they were expanded upon. For example, the conflict of the plot built and then the climax and “resolution” was mere moments so if you weren’t paying close attention you may have missed it.
I would recommend this to young adult/teen readers who enjoy fantasy books – and I can’t wait to read the next book in the series.
I'm happy to say that I have been making some real progress with my TBR pile lately. *clap*clap* Graceling has been on my radar for quite a long time due to its widespread popularity, though it is only now that I finally stepped into Kristin Cashore's intriguing Medieval world - the realm of the Seven Kingdoms - and got to know these Gracelings who bear different colors in their eyes. With high expectations in mind, I started it off anticipating great things from Ms. Cashore and I'm glad that not one of them was left unfulfilled.
Katsa is a Graceling - someone who is exceptionally gifted in a particular skill, may it be dancing or swimming. But Katsa's Grace is far more unique than just mundane talents; she is Graced with the mastery of killing. With this unparalleled skill comes the neverending fear people project upon her, constantly reminding her that she is nothing but the King's royal thug, bent to his every will to torture and threaten whomever he wishes. As conflicting as it may seem, Katsa is also a rebellious soul who would go against cruelty and injustice time after time in hopes of saving those who suffer from the tyranny. It is when these two sides of her collide and crash into each other that we witness her evolving into the free and independent spirit we come to love even more.
No longer bound by her uncle's orders, Katsa sets destination for Monsea. There she intends to solve the mysterious kidnapping that prompted her and Po's first meeting. It is not easy to remain untouched by Po's charms. His kind and considerate nature, always able to find its way to soothe our nerves, traps us in his loving presence. Our affection towards Katsa and Po grows stronger as the distance between the two lessens, but not even the tenderest moments can take our minds off of the deathly encounter that would lie ahead - something much more frightening than the secrets they each hide beneath the surface.
Among all the spectacular pieces that compose Graceling as a whole, romance is the one that stood out the most for me. There can be no one who is more appropriate than Po for Katsa, I'm sure of it. He understands and respects her in a way no one else can (okay, maybe also Raffin). He knows what freedom is like to her, so much so that he would never dare to hold her back from anything, not even in the name of love. He is not just Katsa's lover or admirer, he is her source of support and tranquility. There was a time that I felt Kristin Cashore was planning to seriously injure or even kill Po based on where the story was going. As a result, I basically held off reading for a couple of days because I was simply not ready at all, both mentally and physically, to process something like that, not to mention accepting it. Though luckily for both you and me, Ms. Cashore picked another path instead, one that is equally heart wrenching but a hint less devastating.
While the two main characters in Graceling are portrayed superbly, the rest of the crew are a lot less fortunate. Although I enjoyed their company at the time, they didn't leave me any memorable impressions with Raffin being an exception. Another minor complaint I have with Graceling is that the ending isn't as grand as I expected. Considering the buildup is so irresistibly compelling, it felt way too anti-climatic and convenient in comparison.
I have often seen people labeling Graceling as "feminist propaganda" and I agree to that in some ways. However, even though there are indeed opinions and stances immersed in this book which I do not approve of, they did not stop me from enjoying this excellently-done high fantasy novel and you shouldn't let them stop you either.
The story of Katsa and Po ends here, but Kristin Cashore has much more to offer in the realm of the Seven Kingdoms. I'm eager to see what other incredible heroines and stories she has sprung up for us readers, and I will make sure to keep you all in the loop :)
Katsa is a strong protagonist who grows and changes over the course of the novel, but never becomes a "classic" princess desperate for Po to tell her how pretty she is, or who suddenly decides she does want to be a wife and a mother.
The characters stay true to themselves, and though this is the first book in a series, it does have a real conclusion. I've read it a couple of times now, and still really enjoy it.