Graceling (Seven Kingdoms Trilogy #1)

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Graced with Difference
Overall rating
 
4.0
Plot
 
4.0
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4.0
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4.0
Yet another book leaving me pondering what sort of supernatural/magical/fantastical power I would like to have if I was forced to choose. In Kristin Cashore’s “Graceling,” people don’t get to choose this power, they are born with it and it’s called a Grace. A Grace is an exceptional talent at a given skill. There are Graced swimmers, chefs, climbers, and for Katsa, Cashore’s main character, she is Graced with fighting. She can beat the living daylights out of anyone who messes with her, regardless of whether she’s armed or not, or facing just one foe or an army of enemies. Homegirl has got skills.

It is because of this extreme skill in certain violent things like fighting that not everyone is jazzed with people who have a Grace, known as Gracelings. Instead, most people in Cashore’s fictional seven kingdoms fear those who are supernaturally talented because their powers can be used for evil and control rather than good. Katsa feels like a leper because most people shy away from her for fear that she’ll knock ‘em into next week at the slightest annoyance. Ultimately, Katsa feels Cursed rather than Graced.

This whole book highlights the fear of difference, and I think that’s a great theme kids need to read about. Even though it’s 2012, kids are still sent messages of fear regarding race, religion, gender and sexuality. Cashore seems to be sending the message to embrace all differences and use them for positive means. Katsa may be one stellar fighter, but she uses her skills to protect the weak and defenseless. “Graceling” shows us that what may be seen as differences can also be seen as strengths, and that’s one fact that many kids would be Graced to learn.
Good Points
Fun new powers to fantasize about.
Medieval realness - Sometimes you need a good kingdom or kingdoms in turmoil.
Uncommon female protagonist whose aggressiveness is refreshing.
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Not for me
(Updated: July 19, 2012)
Overall rating
 
3.3
Plot
 
3.0
Characters
 
3.0
Writing Style
 
4.0
Kristin Cashore’s Graceling was definitely a read with a very formulaic storyline but with some atypical characters. While there are elements that I truly enjoyed, I thought the storyline was fairly predictable and the adventure didn’t give enough time for the characters to truly grow as I feel the point of most adventure books should be. The main character Katsa, was interesting as a lead but could have been explored further. The premise could have also been probed a little more thoroughly.

There were a few characters, as I mentioned above, who stood out, like the main character Katsa and her companion Po. I liked that the author chose a truly independent and strong female character as the lead. I think it’s always empowering as a female to read about such individuals. So, seeing how she broke away from the typical female lead was refreshing. Her relationship with Po was also something I enjoyed. They questioned a lot of the typical male-female roles of that time period which are still valid today. For example, the idea of marriage and kids and everything they represented. I definitely admired Katsa’s individuality and her strong sense of will.

The premise of the story was something that definitely appealed to me as a reader who doesn’t read a lot of fantasy, but the delivery of the idea left something to be desired. Essentially, it was about a female who lived in this world where something called a “grace” existed. I wish this idea would have been explored a little more because it had the potential to create a very different world with problems and ideas that could still be relevant today. There were no shocking finales or plot twists that were strong enough to keep me interested which is something I definitely look for when reading fantasy. The heroine had a task that was to be carried out and she did.

Now, talking about the writing, it was something I was happy with. In all its simplicity, it was generally very descriptive and overall the details were vivid. The dialogue was, similarly, expressive and for that reason, I enjoyed reading the various conversations between the characters.

Overall, this book was not one of my favorites. That was not to say that it was terrible in any way. There were some interesting elements that could have been explored and I felt the author didn’t take advantage of its full potential. I would have loved to learn more about the Kingdoms and their history with each other and how they all connected back to our main characters. I liked the main character because of her sense of independence at a time when freedom was not celebrated for women. However, I have to admit, Katsa’s character and her relationship with Po were the only things that kept me reading.
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Interesting.
Overall rating
 
5.0
Plot
 
5.0
Characters
 
0.0
Writing Style
 
0.0
Reader reviewed by Beth

I picked up this book by chance, and was glad I did. I really enjoyed the unique twist on fantasy. The characters were well drawn, they were unfamiliar with greater problems, but there were also thing about them that made them easy to relate to. I would recommend this book to older teenagers who enjoy sword and shield fantasy novels.
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Graceling
Overall rating
 
5.0
Plot
 
5.0
Characters
 
0.0
Writing Style
 
0.0
Reader reviewed by Kristen

I must say, there was a ton of hype about this book from a ton of my
friends on Goodreads. Which only made me want to read it more. I did
love this book - a lot.

The character Katsa is so hard, but
has her soft points. Although she is forced into harming and sometimes
killing for her uncle, she decides to help others - to form the Council
that will help those who are in need.

I fell in love with Po
and his semi-arrogant behavior. The way he loved Katsa so openly and
did not dare suggest to possess the woman who can kill without effort.

Princess
Bitterblue also had the unique characteristic of being so regal at the
age of 10. The way she dealt with the tragedy in her life was inspiring
and the way that Katsa took care of her really softened me to Katsa's
usually rough character.

And the plot, oh the plot. Kristin
throws you right in with Katsa on a rescue mission and then
backtracking to understand her background and why she acts the way she
does. The action doesn't seem to slow, but for travel time on the
different adventures.

This book has everything you could want
in a fantasy - a unique world, amazing characters, and a plot to keep
you on your toes and wanting more.

If you love fantasy, and you haven't read this book yet - you MUST!



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One of the Best of the Year
Overall rating
 
5.0
Plot
 
5.0
Characters
 
0.0
Writing Style
 
0.0
Reader reviewed by Yan

Summary: Katsa can kill a man without even batting an eyelash for she has the Grace of killing. Her uncle, Randa, had taken Katsa under his wing since she was an infant, but he exploits her ability and sends her on various missions to show that the king is always in powermurdering those who stole from the king, broken arms or fingers if you go against the king.

But Katsa has her own missions aside from the kings orders. During one of theses mission she runs into this a skilled fighter, but not skilled enough to take her down. When she later arrives home she soon discovers that this stranger happens to be Prince Po from Lienid, an island country. While she is shocked about this, she later befriends him in the most extraordinary way.

Together they will go an adventure to discover what has happen in another country that left his sister, the Queen, locked up in her room. And they will also discover something about their feelings along the way&

Review: Graceling was gorgeously put together and packaged with a beautiful bow presenting itself to the lucky readers.

Lets start with the world that Kristin has created. It is luscious, detailed, and filled with imagery. What is even more helpful is that if you do happen to be troubled, there is a map in the book that shows the countries and has symbols to point out key locations. Think of Eragon if you will. However, I do have to mention that the various names and overly descriptive backgrounds of each country may bog the reader down. I know for me, it forced me stop reading for some time. It was around the first couple of pages, 30 or so, that made me frustratedit gave too much at one time. I got lost in the details, in the many names, and the situations.

After I got through the muck, Katsa turned out to be a thrilling character. She was a strong female character who can kick almost everyones butt. She had strive, devotion, respect, and a clever mind. However, her stubbornness may be a flaw at points, along with some otherswhich can also give dimensions to her ever expanding character. She desires to bear no children or wedding rings, which later aggravates me especially at the ending with Po. I am all for being independent, but remaining lovers despite equal feelings on both sides kind of does not make sense to me. Okay, it kind of does. Not being chained down, not being forced to think that someone owns you. It just a pet peeve I guess.

Po, weird name I know, was the pretend laidback, but highly sensitive character that played off Katsa very well. He brought out the feminine side of her, her love aspect. He, himself, also plays his own role. He was selfish but also unselfish; he was the sweet gentle man but also filled with anguish. And he can also kick some major booty as well.

Speaking of lovers, I feel that I have to point out that there is indeed sex in this novel. While it may not be explicit, explicit, I have to recommend to mothers who wants to know if their 12 year old daughter can read this or not. Do not unless they are mature enough. So I definitely recommend this book to the older teen group.

Katsa and Pos relationship develops over a period of time. Nothing too elaborate or fast paced. I definitely felt that this love does not hinder the plotline at all. In fact, I think it may have helped it in some areas. It gave the reason behind Katsas decision to leave Po behind a bit of a small heartbreak. But overall more depth, that there truly was a decision behind it alltheir reasons and actions. So was it cliché? In some aspects sure. There were twists and surprise, however, which left me smiling at the unexpected events.

Overall: A wonderful and amazing read! I am definitely stalking this new author and cannot wait to see what she has in store!


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what do i think
Overall rating
 
5.0
Plot
 
5.0
Characters
 
0.0
Writing Style
 
0.0
Reader reviewed by kitty

for me it was my first time reading a book by that person and i found it really interesting
the main character was a great heroine if i ever saw one and her boyfriend wasn't so bad either
i guess what i'm saying is that its a great story for first timers and the long running readers 

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Graceling - Kristin Cashore
Overall rating
 
5.0
Plot
 
5.0
Characters
 
0.0
Writing Style
 
0.0
Reader reviewed by Cheezyfeet

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 despise: 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 is, that something insidious and dark lurks behind the mystery. Something spreading from the shadowy figure of a one eyed king...  - From the back of the book.

I read Graceling because it was recommended to me by a friend. It had always been on my 'To Buy' list, but every time I went book shopping, I picked it up, and put it back again. I don't know why that was, it just was. And, now, having read it, I'm very glad that said friend recommended it.
Katsa is a very strong female lead, in more ways than one. She's feisty, and she stands up for herself. She has a Grace for killing, and she hates it. She's being used by the king to do his dirty work, and she hates it. So, after being sent on a mission to force a lord to sell one of his daughters off for marriage, she refuses. She leaves him unharmed, and the king is furious. But Katsa has never felt better.
Cashore is an amazing writer. She describes things beautifully, so you get a very vivid picture in your head of what is happening, where and when, and the whole book just plays like a movie inside your head. The author also writes emotion extremely well, and all the characters emotions rub off on the reader, and you can't help but feel happy when they're happy, and angry when they are too.
Po, Katsa's love interest, is calming and charming. He calms down Katsa, therefore calming the reader, and, though Katsa can rescue herself physically, she still needs a man to rescue her emotionally, and Po is that man. He really helped Katsa to grow as a character, and by the end of the book, because of Po, I much preferred Katsa as a character. She was more relaxed and calm, and she was happy.
There is a lot that happens in this book. There is adventure, mystery, a little romance, betrayal, intrigue, and loads more, packed into 370 pages. It's fast paced, and you can't stop reading. You just get lost in the world of The Seven Kingdoms, and it's difficult to leave. There is so much culture connected to the world Katsa and Po live in, that it feels like a place you could actually visit, it feels so real.
I would definitely recommend Graceling, especially for people looking for something a little different. Unlike all the popular books going round at the moment, it doesn't have vampires, or werewolves, or fearies, or any other mythical creature that there may be out there. Graceling is unique, and will be loved by everyone, teens and adults alike.

(Also printed aa my blog, www.cheezyfeetbooks.blogspot.com , reprinted here with the author's permission.)
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Read this book
Overall rating
 
5.0
Plot
 
5.0
Characters
 
0.0
Writing Style
 
0.0
Reader reviewed by Katie

This is on my list of books to reread over and over and over and over . . . you get the point. In the seven kingdoms, there are those who are "Graced" with different things, such as sewing, cooking, or other, non-profitable thing, such as tree-climbing. Katsa is Graced with killing . . . or is she? Her uncle the king makes her his assassin, and years later, she finally rebels. This is a wonderful first book, and there is a bit of romance in it as well. Read this book!
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Graceling
Overall rating
 
5.0
Plot
 
5.0
Characters
 
5.0
Writing Style
 
5.0
I read both Graceling and Fire, but I really think that Graceling was the better of the two.

I love all the characters. Katsa is an really great protagonist. She's so strong, independent and she hates being feminine, which I think is pretty great. I really like the survival Grace... sigh, I wish I had that Grace, it would be so cool, except for he reputation that she gets. I think its pretty funny how she is so good at fighting and working things out alert, and yet she has no clue about how love works.

I reckon that some people might find Katsa's anti-feminine thing and how she really has no plans of getting married or having children a little offensive or just weird, but I really liked it.

The book begins with Katsa, with her two companions, rescuing "Grandfather". Here we start getting a little taste of Katsa's extraordinary fighting skills. She successfully knocks out all of the guards, rescues Grandfather, and gets out of there without any catch. Almost. On the way out, she meets a mysterious Lienid stranger (Lienid is the where Grandfather comes from). He says he trusts her, but she is not so sure. She knocks him out anyway, because you can never be too sure.

But... back at her home, suddenly a mysterious stranger, a prince called Po, turns up. Katsa finally finds someone who's fighting skills rivals her own. And when she discovers that it is the same man she met on her first mission. Questions begin to arise in Katsa's mind. Why hasn't this man reported her? Why would someone kidnap Grandfather, an old man? How does it all connect? As Katsa begins to delve deeper into this mystery, she discovers things she would have never considered...

I won't tell you anymore, since I wouldn't want to spoil the book.
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Eye's in the Sword
Overall rating
 
5.0
Plot
 
5.0
Characters
 
0.0
Writing Style
 
0.0
Reader reviewed by bookmac

Wow, this book is an amazing debut! I was so surprised at how well this novel was. The book starts off right when Katsa is rescuing the Liend grandfather, and that is when she meets Po the graced fighter (so we think). Eventually after lots of fighting drama at the castle, Po and Katsa run away together to go investigate the mysterious mountain Kingdom. It is on their journey that Katsa realizes what her Grace really is, and she discovers her true feeling for Po.


But the adventure doesn't stop there, readers will meet a new character, Bitterblue, she is the daughter of the mountain king, and Katsa must take her on a perilous journey across the monsean mountains where they can escape.


This is a beautiful book filled with romance, intrigue, strong well developed characters, mystery, and action. I recommend this book to all it is a treasure within itself.
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