Graceling by Kristin Cashore

77%

24 Critic Reviews

In the course of her dark and eventful tale, Cashore plays with the idea of awkwardness, how at a certain age gifts and talents are burdens, how they make it impossible to feel comfortable in the world. And in this she writes a fairly realistic portrait of teenage life into the baroque courts of her outlandish kingdoms.
-NY Times

Synopsis

Kristin Cashore’s bestselling, award-winning fantasy Graceling tells the story of the vulnerable-yet-strong Katsa, a smart, beautiful teenager who lives in a world where selected people are given a Grace, a special talent that can be anything from dancing to swimming. Katsa’s is killing. As the king’s niece, she is forced to use her extreme skills as his thug. Along the way, Katsa must learn to decipher the true nature of her Grace… and how to put it to good use. A thrilling, action-packed fantasy adventure (and steamy romance!) that will resonate deeply with adolescents trying to find their way in the world. This ebook includes a sample chapter of BITTERBLUE. 
 

About Kristin Cashore

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KRISTIN CASHORE is a freelance educational writer who writes content for textbooks and teacher editions. She has written book reviews for "The Horn Book Guide, " and she has had articles published in "The Looking Glass: An Online Children's Literature Journal" and "Children's Literature in Education". Kristin received her master's degree in children's literature in 2003 from Simmons College, where she worked with Liza Ketchum and was named a Virginia Haviland Scholar. She lives in Jacksonville, Florida.
 
Published September 7, 2009 by HMH Books for Young Readers. 481 pages
Genres: Science Fiction & Fantasy, Young Adult, Literature & Fiction, Action & Adventure, Romance, Children's Books. Fiction
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Critic reviews for Graceling
All: 24 | Positive: 19 | Negative: 5

Kirkus

Excellent
on May 20 2010

In a tale filled with graphic violence and subtle heartbreak, gentle passion and savage kindness, matter-of-fact heroics and bleak beauty, no defeat is ever total and no triumph comes without cost. Grace-full, in every sense.

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NY Times

Above average
Reviewed by Katie Roiphe on Nov 07 2008

In the course of her dark and eventful tale, Cashore plays with the idea of awkwardness, how at a certain age gifts and talents are burdens, how they make it impossible to feel comfortable in the world. And in this she writes a fairly realistic portrait of teenage life into the baroque courts of her outlandish kingdoms.

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Dear Author

Above average
Reviewed by Jia on Dec 11 2008

Aside from the Graces, the worldbuilding is nothing spectacular. I’ve seen it countless times before in many a fantasy novel set in pseudo-medieval Europe...but readers looking for a more unique fantasy setting won’t find it here. All things considered, after the glow from Katsa and Po’s relationship...wore off, this ended up being a B- for me.

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All About Romance

Excellent
Reviewed by Caroline Russomanno on Apr 02 2013

I recommend Graceling to fantasy lovers, to romance readers, and to action/adventure fans regardless of age. The only people who should not read Graceling are people who have to get up in the morning.

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Examiner

Good
Reviewed by Elizabeth McDonnell on Dec 04 2013

Reminiscent of Tamora Pierce creations, “Graceling” is a fantasy novel that has both exciting action and spirited characters. It follows the story of fearsome Katsa as she tries to understand the difference between who she has always been perceived as and who she really wants to become.

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Examiner

Above average
Reviewed by Melissa Ruggles on Sep 28 2010

It's not a profound novel that will provide insight and understanding of the human condition, but if you're looking for a quick thrill, a formulaic adventure with a touch of romance, Graceling delivers...Despite its shortcomings, Graceling is an entertaining read that may not flow well but keeps the reader engaged.

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SF Site

Good
Reviewed by Dan Shade on Jan 18 2010

I loved this book and its sequel or parallel novel Fire. For a first novel it's one of the most creative I've read...Graceling is a delightful book with plot twists and turns and characters with real depth... I was uplifted reading this book...Graceling is one of those rare books you just can't say enough good about.

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SF Site

Below average
Reviewed by Alma A. Hromic on Jan 18 2009

I thought the story itself, the plot, was great -- but I did not find individual characters all that compelling, standing on their own, and I found that occasionally the dialogue was enough to set my teeth on edge...It's a story. I was never moved to believe it was or could be more than that.

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SF Site

Above average
Reviewed by Tammy Moore on Jan 18 2009

The story itself is solidly told and touched with both beautiful moments and deeply creepy and disturbing ones. Cashore draws you into the story, making you care about the characters, and I was frequently on the edge of my seat to see what happened next.

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Common Sense Media

Good
Reviewed by Matt Berman on Oct 01 2008

Kristin Cashore writes like a seasoned veteran and avoids rookie mistakes and pitfalls: her fluid and effortless prose sweeps the reader along from the exceptional opening-hook chapter, with complex, fully-realized characters, an original and well-paced plot, and a thoroughly thought-out world in which it is set.

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SFFWorld.com

Above average
Reviewed by Mark Yon on Sep 15 2008

It’s a great debut novel that will suit those who like their Fantasy unabashedly romantic. And despite my personal reservations over nomenclature, there will be many who will grow to like and love this book.

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Kidz World

Excellent
on Jan 19 2009

They say don’t judge a book by its cover. But with Graceling, you certainly can. The cover art is bold and enchanting, just like the story...Kristin Cashore writes with a modern voice, making it very easy to read. If you enjoy quality stories that mix magic and reality, like Twilight and A Great and Terrible Beauty, then you’ll love Graceling

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Fiction Writers Review

Above average
Reviewed by LAURA BARTHULE on Nov 09 2008

The novel’s strength is in its characters, and the well-described settings and scenery never overshadow the more important business of this book—Katsa’s self-discovery. Cashore is adept at presenting her main character’s soul searching in a fresh way, one that fits Katsa’s particular personality.

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YA Highway

Above average
Reviewed by Kristen Halbrook on Jun 11 2009

Cashore’s writing style is sparse and well-paced and she doesn’t make the classic fantasy mistake of excessive back story and world building. Her characters are flawed and realistic...and their trials are great. I enjoyed the storytelling and the concept of the novel.

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Teen Ink

Good
Reviewed by LostToTheSound on Jul 03 2015

I promise you that you'll never want to put the book down. I do warn you that the beginning will be a tad bit confusing at first but quickly becomes a book worth your time. It was a truly amazing book.

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Fantasy Book Review

Above average
Reviewed by Joshua S Hill on Mar 01 2012

Predictability is this books watch-word, and simplistic characters and decisions make for some quick reading at times...Graceling is definitely a good read, especially for anyone looking for a quick read, or a present for that teenager in their life (boy or girl). It isn’t anything to write home about, but not something to snub either.

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Rhapsody in Books

Good
Reviewed by rhapsodyinbooks on May 03 2014

This is an unusual and welcome addition to books for young adults, and may contribute to its popularity among females...You will find this book is not at all like the usual princess-prince fairytale fantasy, and yet there is redemption and goodness and love to satisfy the most starry-eyed of readers.

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Story Snoops

Above average
Reviewed by Jen on Jun 20 2015

Fans of the genre, and those who aren't, will likely enjoy this tale of a fiercely independent, self-reliant teen girl who struggles to control her nature in order to do the right thing. The story that unfolds is worth the time it may take the reader to become familiar with the unusual names of people and places

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Graeme's Fantasy Book Review

Above average
Reviewed by Graeme Flory on Sep 01 2008

‘Graceling’ is one of those books that I can doing really well as it’s got a lot of stuff going on that will appeal to a lot of people. It didn’t really do the trick for me though, it kept me reading but it also kept me feeling frustrated and occasionally staring out of the window at passing birds...

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http://lovinloslibros.blogspot.com

Good
Reviewed by LOVIN LIBROS on Dec 14 2015

I love a good romantic hero. Po is one of those good guys I love so much and his easygoing, flirtatious manner really made me fall for him.

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King of the Nerds!!!

Good
Reviewed by Mike on Jun 29 2012

Graceling is, besides an exciting fantasy adventure, a novel about the burgeoning of womanhood, the exploration of femininity, and the examination of gender roles...By and large Graceling is a confident and engaging novel that while directed at the young adult crowd has definite broader appeal to adult audiences.

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Jen Robinson's Book Page

Excellent
Reviewed by Jennifer Robinson on Dec 31 2008

Graceling is an action-packed adventure, with fully realized, varied settings, and intriguing mysteries. What makes it stand out, however, are the complex characters...Highly, highly recommended for older teens and adults...for those mature enough to handle these aspects of the story, Graceling is well worth reading. Don't miss it!

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Reading Teen

Excellent
Reviewed by Amy on Feb 16 2012

Graceling was set in a very adventurous world. Full of action, adventure, romance and one very evil King. A world with kingdoms and castles, ships that sail across the ocean, Kings and Queens, Prince and Princesses. I would definitely recommend reading Graceling, just so you can go on and read it's companion Fire and then Bitterblue!

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About Happy Books

Good
Reviewed by About Happy Books on Apr 20 2011

Kristin Cashore created a world that enthralled me from the first sentence on and accompanying Katsa on her journey was breath-taking and wonderful. I loved the author's writing style...I would recommend this book to all readers who are interested in a multifaceted, mesmerizing and strong book.

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Reader Rating for Graceling
83%

An aggregated and normalized score based on 1833 user ratings from iDreamBooks & iTunes


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