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A young adult fantasy book by Kristin Cashore.

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Riveting and suspensful

  • May 6, 2009
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Katsa's Grace (a special ability she possesses that is indicated by the dual color of her eyes) rules her entire life. She is Graced with the ability to kill, and is forced to be her corrupt uncle's assassin. Discontent with her life and her actions, she begins the Council, whose mission is to aid and protect citizens from their power hungry and sometimes ruthless leaders. It is while she is on a mission for the Council that Katsa rescues Prince Tealiff, the elderly father of the Lienid king, who has been kidnapped by an unknown enemy. When his grandson Po comes looking for him, Katsa and Po begin a tentative friendship in order to discover who would kidnap a harmless old man, and together discover an insidious plot that would drastically affect the entire land.

Kristin Cashore has created quite a vivid and unique world in Graceling. The concept of Graces is quite fascinating, and is the most enticing aspect of the book. Though Katsa is a strong, interesting, and likable character, it may be hard for readers to really get invested in the book until after 100 or more pages.

But around the middle of Graceling, the pace picks up as Katsa finds her independence and her relationship with Po intensifies. Readers will get swept up in the action as Katsa and Po must confront the source of their troubles against nearly insurmountable odds and race against time. Graceling finishes off with a scene that doesn't quite live up to its dramatic build-up, but is satisfying nonetheless. Cashore doesn't quite give her characters the happily-ever-after ending that readers will be wishing for, but rather a realistic and believable resolution that stays consistent with the characters' personalities. Graceling is a dramatic and thrilling read that is abundant with action, political intrigue, and romance that will leave some readers dreaming long after the last page.

Cover Comments: While this isn't the most striking cover I've seen, I do like the colors used, and I love the font used for the title. The weathered look is very cool, and goes with the fantasy genre. It isn't overdone either, which makes the cover look polished, but not too cookie-cutter. I like it a lot.

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More Graceling reviews
Quick Tip by . August 06, 2010
An engaging young adult fantasy novel with an believable heroine.
Quick Tip by . August 04, 2010
Great new supernatural world by a new author. Try also "Fire," her other book. You can tell that they are Young Adult novels, but that's one of my favorite genres. There's a third coming out next spring, I think.
Quick Tip by . June 04, 2010
Enjoyed it until the last couple of chapters, which felt unnecessary to me. But over-all was good. Some really good moments.
review by . February 15, 2010
"Graceling" has been highly recommended to me by a number of people and so I have to say that I was stunned that I didn't find it to be the fantastic read that everyone else did. What makes this even harder to understand is that I read Cashore's "Fire" first and quite liked it.    My first observation was that I was over 100 pages into the book before anything of note seemed to happen. Yes, there was the evil king, and there were the sidekicks, the introduction of the love interest, …
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Tirzah Price ()
I have a blog called The Compulsive Reader on which I review Young Adult novels, interview authors, post book trailers, and hold contests. I'm interested in anything YA book related!
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About this book


If you had the power to kill with your bare hands, what would you do with it?

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 ...

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ISBN-10: 015206396X
ISBN-13: 978-0152063962
Author: Kristin Cashore
Genre: Children's Books, Teens
Publisher: Harcourt Children's Books (October 1, 2008)
First to Review

"Fresh new author"
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