Graceling (Seven Kingdoms Trilogy #1)

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Graced with Difference
Overall rating
 
4.0
Plot
 
4.0
Characters
 
4.0
Writing Style
 
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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Enjoyable
Overall rating
 
4.3
Plot
 
5.0
Characters
 
4.0
Writing Style
 
4.0
Here's your disclosure: I read this book in February. It is now August. Do the math.

I really liked Katsa and I REALLY liked Po. They were both interesting characters and just...lovely. Even if Katsa does have to kill and torture people. I mean...it wasn't her choice.

The story was really interesting and definitely took some turns I didn't expect. Especially towards the end? Like...total shock to me, some of what happens. I loved reading it and getting totally stumped about what would happen next.

And there is romance of the awesome variety. I really, really loved how their story ended in this book. It was different and wonderful and just...yes. All the yes. *hugs romance*

Graceling is well written, well developed, and has some epic things going on between the covers. While I didn't fall head-over-heels super-in-love like most people seem to, I did really enjoy Graceling and fully intend to read Fire and maybe read Bitterblue if I can ever get my hands on it.
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Really great!
Overall rating
 
4.3
Plot
 
5.0
Characters
 
4.0
Writing Style
 
4.0
At first, I was quite reluctant to read this book, for I was prejudiced with the idea that it the story was similar to Incarceron, a book I didn't really quite get. You see, the idea of both books are quite similar, from my point of view, and so I expected Graceling to be as okay as Incarceron. But, silly me! It was nothing like it. This book left me wanting more of this author's writing. So, you see, there can be two similar stories, with too different authors, and one can be good as the other can be bad. It's all in the author.... and the reader'S taste.
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So, so good!
Overall rating
 
4.0
Plot
 
4.0
Characters
 
0.0
Writing Style
 
0.0
Reader reviewed by Amy Ward

A great love story, wonderful action, suspense, and a great heroine.  The perfect recipe for a wonderful book.  One of the best girl power stories I have read.  Katsa is able to be strong and a warrior without losing her femininity.  She cuts her hair like a boy but she is still beautiful to those around her.  It's a refreshing take on the literary female character.  It is also a book guys and girls can really get into.  Read it now!
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Amazing
Overall rating
 
4.0
Plot
 
4.0
Characters
 
0.0
Writing Style
 
0.0
Reader reviewed by Lea

Once I get over the name Katsa, I loved this novel. At first, I was a little hesitant to read it. A girl graced with the skill to kill? Creepy...

It took me awhile to really like Katsa, but she has a good heart. She's strong and powerful, but she's kind. Po was a great character to throw into the mix, especially once we learn more about his mysterious Grace, and that it's not what it seems. The two of them are a good match, he can calm her down a little. There was romance without too much, views on marriage, and plenty of action. I loved this novel, and what an amazing concept.

Fantastic. Cashore has a Grace of her own.
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A very good book!
Overall rating
 
4.0
Plot
 
4.0
Characters
 
0.0
Writing Style
 
0.0
Reader reviewed by Siera

I really enjoyed reading this book. It is very well written and the characters are very well developed. The plot of this book is kind of unusual which makes me want to read on! Some of the scenes in the book are pretty gory, though. I would recommend this book to people who enjoy reading about fiction and adventures.


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Absorbed My Attention
Overall rating
 
4.0
Plot
 
4.0
Characters
 
0.0
Writing Style
 
0.0
Reader reviewed by TheBookworm


Absorbed My Attention


Graceling


By Kristin Cashore


Pub. Date: October 2008


4 out of 5 stars


PG-13 Violence, Profanity, and Sexual Content


Recommended


Endowed with a Grace of Killing, Katsa lives in a lonely, secluded world. Both feared and revered by most, she is the Kings deadly, perfect weapon. Yet she wont let the Kings ruthless content stop her from doing what is right. Everything is going according to plan until a mysterious Prince, Graced with Fighting, arrives at the castle. Katsas conflicting feelings and his breathtaking eyes cloud her thoughts. Though, while the Prince seems likeable, her senses are on high alert. Will this man, with the striking features and easygoing personality, be the downfall of Katsa and all she stands for and believes?


While reading, Graceling absorbed my attention.


I found the main character, Katsa, pretty likeable& most of the time. I dont agree with all of her decisions morally, so she isnt my favorite character. She did have some really wonderful moments though. The one extraordinary character was Princess Bitterblue. Not only was Bitterblue mature, wholesome, and good, she also brought out the best in Katsa. Katsas compassion and humanity grew into much more stable and visible elements while with Bitterblue. They both improved, physically and mentally, during their time together.


The book flowed with an urgent undercurrent that pulled me under while I oohed and aahed. I was glued to the plot, until about the last third of the book. The big showdown between good and evil was lacking terribly and left me unsatisfied. Then it slowed down to a snails crawl that irritated me. The parts that I loved beforehand began to blur by the disappointment of the ending.


Overall, I found Graceling a pretty, good book that was just lacking in a few scenes.


I believe this book will appeal more to high school girls. Its not suitable for people 13 and under. If this book sounds interesting to a guy, go for it but I would also like to suggest The Warrior Heir by Cinda Williams Chima and Rangers Apprentice series by John Flanagan. These books are great and I believe guys will be able to enjoy them more because of the fact that the books narrators are guys, not a girl like in Graceling.


Date Reviewed: March 6th, 2009

For more book reviews and book information check out my blog at www.inthecurrent.blogspot.com

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Amazing Fantasy Writers Come Alive
Overall rating
 
4.0
Plot
 
4.0
Characters
 
0.0
Writing Style
 
0.0
Reader reviewed by Stephanie

In Katsa's world, those who possess a Grace, an unusually powerful skill, recognized by their different-colored eyes, are often shunned and avoided by the ordinary people. Katsa has it worse than most Graced, for her Grace is the Grace of killing, a Grace that her uncle, King Randa, uses to keep his subjects in line.

But Katsa is sick of always obeying her uncle's orders, being forced to perform these tasks she hates and having to hide her good side. Still, she sees no way out of her miserable, savage life...until she meets Po, a prince from a faraway island kingdom, whose secret business coincides with hers. Po is Graced with the art of combat, and they are well matched in fighting.

A friendship develops between Katsa and Po, and they are thrown together even more as they set off to defend their world from the clutches of a powerful and dangerous king. Katsa must contend with her wild nature if she is to get to know Po, if she is to learn about the truth about their Graces and characters. Together, they may just be able to save their world and make it a better place.

The characterizations of Katsa and Po in Graceling are incredible; it's impossible to not like them and feel for them as they struggle with their internal conflicts and emotions for one another. On the other hand, I felt like much of the plot-conflict in this novel was thrown in almost helter-skelter; conflicts were suddenly introduced and resolved in a matter of pages. I would have liked more back-story, so that I could've better understand Katsa and Po's world. That being said, Graceling is still an incredible debut fantasy novel, sure to appeal to all fantasy lovers who also like a good romance.
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Graced with Imagination
Overall rating
 
4.0
Plot
 
4.0
Characters
 
0.0
Writing Style
 
0.0
Reader reviewed by mearley

There was a lot to like about Graceling. Kristin Cashore created an interesting fantasy world where some children are born with a Grace. Some graces are practical-you might be graced with cooking or sewing and be in high demand in the king's kitchen or tailor shop. Other graces are scary. Katsa is graced with killing; no target can escape her.

By her teenage years, Katsa grew to despise her grace and the way the king used her against his enemies. She and a few trusted friends formed the Council which carries out missions of mercy instead of killing. Through the course of one of these missions, Katsa meets Po, a prince who is also graced. His grace places him on level footing with Katsa, a situation she is unaccustomed to!

My disappointment in Graceling comes from the message Cashore seems to be sending about love and commitment. Katsa is determined to never marry, but decides that she and Po can become lovers until one of them decides it's not working out anymore. It is unfortunate that love and sex are treated as trivial choices and the consequences are so easily brushed aside. Because of this, I will have trouble recommending Graceling to my middle school students.

Reprinted here with author's permission.
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