Graceling by Kristin Cashore – Spoiler Free Review

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Title: Graceling
Kristin Cashore
Series Name: Graceling Realm
Genre: YA Fantasy
Publication Date: Oct 1st, 2008
Pages: 471 (Hardcover)
Publishers: Harcourt
4 star

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Katsa has been able to kill a man with her bare hands since she was eight – she’s a Graceling, one of the rare people in her land born with an extreme skill. As niece of the king, she should be able to live a life of privilege, but Graced as she is with killing, she is forced to work as the king’s thug.

When she first meets Prince Po, Graced with combat skills, Katsa has no hint of how her life is about to change.

She never expects to become Po’s friend.

She never expects to learn a new truth about her own Grace – or about a terrible secret that lies hidden far away.


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I like how simple and gorgeous this book cover is. I also enjoy that it matches the book really well. Especially with Kasta’s eye showing on the blade of the dagger. It’s unusual though, on my edition of the book the eye looks green but in the image above it looks bluer. Which is also cool because Kasta has one blue and one green eye.

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I really liked the writing in this book! I never had trouble understanding the world in this book. It is a high fantasy which can be a bit confusing when you first jump into it but I never had a problem with this book, everything was described really well. I loved that there was a map in the front of the book which made it easier to keep track of all the locations that were mentioned throughout the book.

This isn’t about the writing, or the plot really either so I don’t know where to put it exactly, so here will do. I love that when a new ruler (king or queen) is taken by the city, the city is renamed after than King or Queen. I thought it was a really unique and interesting idea.

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I really enjoyed the plot of this book, even though it was a little like the ‘basic YA fantasy’, it was also unique enough to be interesting. Even though this book kind of followed the basis of certain people are born unique, with unique powers or abilities, I also enjoyed that the abilities could literally be anything! They weren’t the typical kind of ‘Ya fantasy’ abilities, they could be things like swimming, archery, etc. but they could also be awesome things like mind reading and being able to tell where storms are. These abilities teamed up with a plot that is fairly action packed, it drags you in and you don’t want to put the book down.

This book does have a romance, but it was a different kind of romance. I won’t go into details as I don’t want to spoil anything but I actually didn’t mind the romance in this book. It never took over the plot and even though the characters were reluctant to separate and risk the other, they never made any completely stupid decisions like some characters do when they are in relationships in books and then they wonder why shit goes wrong and people get hurt…

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I liked Katsa, even though sometimes she was a bit stubborn and it annoyed me a little that she would never give a second thought to her own well being. I understand she was extremely tough and resilient but take a little bit of care so you don’t loose your toes from frostbite would be nice! I also enjoyed that Katsa turned something that originally was a burden to her into something that she could teach others.

Po was probably my second favourite. He was funny, witty and caring! He would always try and do what was right even if it risked himself, but he would never risk others if he could help it. I am really keen to see how both him and Katsa develop in the next book as it sounds like they are both at the start of separate adventures.

Bitterblue was a cool character. For a girl her age, she is one tough cookie. She barely ever complained considering everything that they went through. I also think she is mentally extremely strong too! She had to make some tough decisions, well beyond something someone her age should have to deal with. I can’t wait to see how she grows in the next two books!

I can’t really say anything about our ‘bad guy’ as it would totally spoil it! But he is a jackass.

I really liked Raffin, the little we saw of him! I really hope we get to see him more in the next book. He was so funny and sarcastic but also extremely caring. Giddon I didn’t really like, he was that kind of person that thinks he knows best and won’t take no for an answer. And he also wouldn’t take Katsa’s wants into account, all he thought of is what he wanted and thought was right.

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Overall I really enjoyed this book, but it wasn’t one of my absolute favourites. There was no problems or issues I had but it just didn’t blow my mind like others have! So that is the only reason I have given it 4 stars rather than higher. I really enjoy the world and the graceling idea! I can’t wait to continue this series, but I am going to have to wait till I have some extra cash so I can put in a ThriftBooks order as I can’t find this edition in hardcover anywhere else.


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