Saturday, March 15, 2014

Review: Graceling

Graceling by Kristin Cashore
Graceling Realm #1
Publisher: Harcourt
Release Date: October 1, 2008

In a world where people born with an exceptional skill, known as a Grace, are both feared and exploited, Katsa carries the burden of a skill even she despises: the Grace of killing.

Feared by the court and shunned by those her own age, the darkness of her Grace casts a heavy shadow over Katsa’s life. Yet she remains defiant: when the King of Lienid’s father is kidnapped she investigates, and stumbles across a mystery. Who would want to kidnap the old man, and why? And who was the extraordinary Graced man whose fighting abilities rivalled her own?

The only thing Katsa is sure of is that she no longer wants to kill. The intrigue around this kidnapping offers her a way out – but little does she realise, when she takes it, that something insidious and dark lurks behind the mystery. Something spreading from the shadowy figure of a one-eyed king...

Taken from Goodreads

Start: 3/7/2014 | End: 3/13/2014 | Pages: 471 | Rating: 3.5 Stars

My Thoughts:

I have seen this Graceling being reviewed over a dozen times now, and I decided to give it a try. And you know what? I don't regret reading it, even though I probably have the same complaint as everyone else who has read this.

Graceling starts off with Katsa, the king's niece, graced with the power of killing. She is skilled with any weapon, and is no match for the guards. Everyone knows how deadly she is, and the king uses this to his advantage to scare off his enemies. Obviously, Katsa hates this. She doesn't want to be used, and she longs to actually do something good for her and the people. As a result, the council is formed by her, the king's son, and some of her friends, unknowing to the king. 

Throughout her mission in rescuing the King of Lienid's father, she stumbles upon Po, one of the Lienid princes who is also looking for his grandfather. He is graced with fighting, and almost matches Katsa's ability. The two then decide to investigate further into the kidnapping, which means Katsa needs to leave her friends and the kingdom behind.

The start of the book was amazing. I loved the idea of being naturally, super-skilled in something, whether it's cooking or climbing trees or even swimming. Even the most useless skill can be a grace. Even I want to be graced! I don't even care if it's the most useless skill in the world, like drawing bunnies or baking bread. Ooh I would really like to be graced in making bread that would be so awesome (there's an anime specifically about baking bread in Japan, and it's absolutely hilarious, sorry this is me rambling).

About halfway through the book, it comes to a point where Katsa realizes she loves Po, and this apparently is a bad thing? Or that she realizes she actually does love someone. And this is a big problem because.....

.....well I'm not sure, I think maybe it's because she told herself so many times that she wouldn't marry, but now she found the perfect man, so she's upset and frustrated. But then, within a page or so, she comes to terms with her love, and she finally admits it. But honestly, what just happened?

Where did this come from? What. What just happened?

After that confusing point of the book, everything actually goes back to normal. The romance isn't that great, but I've never been a stickler about it. And plus, I really like Bitterblue, which is why I will most likely read Bitterblue sometime in the future. She definitely added more plot to this story, which is a smart move for Cashore. Because if the author focused more on the romance at this point, I honestly would have put the book down and left.

Overall, I'm enamored with the detail that went in to the kingdoms and the society itself. I loved Katsa and Po as characters, but their love story definitely needed more working on. This story would be flawless if it wasn't for that. I would definitely recommend this to readers that love adventure, and don't mind that the romance was kind of lacking.

So yes, kinda good read for me :)


  1. Awww I love Katsa and Po. I don't know, they are just perfect for each other because Po wouldn't force anything upon Katsa. I definitely don't agree with Katsa on a lot of the feminism stuff, especially that marrying someone would mean losing your own identity and never be able to be "free". But I still liked the book a lot. I will probably continue on with File and Bitterblue too. Hopefully Kristin Cashore will be able to surprise me again.

    1. Haha I just completely ignored that part because I honestly did not want to deal with the whole marriage thing. And yeah, I definitely still liked the book even though it had its flaws. I loved Bitterblue, she seems so cute yet still tough and determined.

  2. I thought it was an okay book. The romance was kinda meh, but like you said, learning about the society was pretty interesting. Great review!

  3. I didn't like Katsa that much; Po was more interesting for me. (Don't get me started on Bitterblue; I thought she was one of the most unrealistic child characters I've read in a long time!) I read the book pretty quickly, though. I think in my review I said something about it being strangely addictive... so I didn't actually hate it.

  4. I love this book! It's so different and new. I already read the second book but I have trouble reading Bitterblue though. It's so thick! I hope I can get to it soon because I really love that Bitterblue get to have her own book!
    UnderCover Critique


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