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Graceling (Graceling Realm #1)

4.10  ·  Rating Details  ·  261,295 Ratings  ·  17,255 Reviews
Deadly Grace

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 Graces 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, K
Kindle Edition, 472 pages
Published October 1st 2008 by Harcourt Children's Books
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Beatrice This book wasn't my fave out of the series. It takes a while to get in to but once I got in to it I loved it! I think you might want to try reading…moreThis book wasn't my fave out of the series. It takes a while to get in to but once I got in to it I loved it! I think you might want to try reading fire first and then reading graceling. But I think the more you read it the more you will enjoy it if you get to page 80 and you are still not in to it then maybe stop.(less)
Brandi No, I promise you not all high fantasy books are like this one. If you are just starting out in the fantasy genre, I would recommend reading Terry…moreNo, I promise you not all high fantasy books are like this one. If you are just starting out in the fantasy genre, I would recommend reading Terry Brooks' Shannara series - mostly for The King of Shannara and the Elfstones of Shannara - and I would also recommend the Dragonlance series. There's also David Eddgings' The Belgariad series. Those are the books I read when I began to read fantasy, and I recently read that a lot of other fantasy readers recommended these authors and series for stepping into the fantasy genre. Just be forewarned that a lot of these same readers agreed that when they re-read these books when they were older, they didn't like them nearly as much as they remembered.

If you want tried-and-true high fantasy books, then yes, go read The Hobbit, The Lord of the Rings, the Chronicles of Narnia, etc. There's also newer stuff like the So You Want to be a Wizard series, Seraphina, Harry Potter...I might recommend Games of Thrones, but I hesitate to simply because I have not read or seen it.(less)
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Community Reviews

(showing 1-30 of 3,000)
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Miss Clark
Oct 29, 2009 Miss Clark rated it it was ok  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Mature Readers
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Kat Kennedy
May 29, 2010 Kat Kennedy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Graceling by Kristin Cashore follows in a burgeoning market for strong female characters.

Katsa is much like Katniss from The Hunger Games in her naive perception of the world, her coldness and tendency towards pragmatic practicality. She is similar to Xhex from the Black Dagger Brotherhood in her disgust of all things "feminine".

The story is well written, with engaging, fun characters. Katsa is fun to read about. The plot may be a little predictable at times but it did throw me a curve ball tow

it is so hard to write reviews for books i actually like. no, love.

talking about this book is like trying to describe to someone a relationship from long ago that was bittersweet and is now over, but i have never had a relationship that involved so many horses and swordplay, not even metaphorically. and fewer people care about my love life than about this book.

(i see you ariel - you are glowering at me with tiny slitted eyes)

but this book is like a wonderfully sweet relationship. at the beginni
Nov 29, 2009 Krystle rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Graceling has a beautiful cover, great premise, and lots of hype, and would be a terrific novel if it weren’t for the terrible writing and atrocious main character.

What is with the awkward sentence structures and prose in this book? "In these dungeons the darkess was complete, but Katsa had a map in her mind." It should be "In these dungeons, the darkness was complete, but Katsa had a map in her mind." And look at the next sentence: "One that had so far proven to be correct, as Oll's maps tende
Updated 04/01/14:

I happen to like books which feature kick-ass feminist heroines and are light on the romance so I should like this book, right?

Yeah, but I don't.

First of all, Katsa acts like a petulant little girl throughout the entire book, not some strong feminist poster woman. Katsa shows very little, if any, personal growth over the course of this novel. Also, I felt like the author spent too much time trying to sell us on the following ideas: femininity is an idea forced upon women by t
Emily May

First thing I need to point out is that I consider myself a feminist, even as far as to take an active role is such matters. Previously, I have written articles on Feministing and I honestly think so many of these issues are still very important in today's world. However you look at it, the battle for equality has not been won and has, in fact, become rather dormant.

On that note, I love reading fiction by feminist writers, Atwood never fails to deliver and The Handmaid's Tale is one of my favou
What I think about when I hear the name...

- Po the Panda
- Po from Telletubbies
- A crazy guy (like Edgar Allen Poe)
- Poo

- Ketchup
- Mutant Katniss

- Roar! I'm a T-Rex!

- Tea Leaf

- Skype
- A modern name, which you will NOT find in a medieval place.

King Randa:
- Ranting + Panda. King Ranting Panda!

- Drowsy
- Drowning

- Pig pen
- Thinking pen

- Lick
- Peck
- Neck
- Smack
- Some other variation

- An insult. ("Hey, you Lienid!")

By the way, Po's real name is Green
Update 1/24/2012. I probably should already stop being surprised by the fact that every time I reread a book, I come up with something new to say (or feel) about it. Looks like my previous reading of Graceling caused a lengthy rant. Yeah, no such strong feelings this time.

This time, I was able to appreciate the writing more. It's lovely. I really love how it flows, how the sentences connect. This book stands the test of time. And it's great that it stirs so much discussion and, often, outrage.
Jul 31, 2008 Sean rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy, ya-books
[This is a review of an advance copy.:]

While Cashore shows herself to be a promising writer in many respects, this book could have used a better editing job, especially with the pacing, the climax and the dénouement. Other points:

1. The dialogue she put in the ten-year-old princess's mouth was not believable in the slightest; maybe Cashore should spend some time around pre-adolescent girls to get an idea of what they really talk like.

2. The psychology of several of the characters (including Kats
Wendy Darling
Loved it. Except for the raging feminist agenda.

NOTE: Since these two brief, flippant sentences have gotten so many trolls over the years, I'll just add that I support the book's feminist ideals 100%.

What I do not like is the way we're hammered over the head with the message. (The "raging" part, if you will.) It's inelegant, tiresome soapboxing that managed to annoy someone who actually agrees with the principles, so I don't know how it's going to persuade anyone who does not. Katsa's views als
Gah sooo good!

Okay, I read some of the other reviews and now I feel the need to defend this book. Basically, I think it's completely hilarious how many people are shocked and appalled that 1) there is sex in this book, and 2) the heroine does not desire to get married or have children. Guess what? Young adults *do* have sex. And the idea that it's not love if you don't want to marry them, or that you shouldn't have sex until you're married is why all the poor children in your congregation are ma
Aug 06, 2011 Ryn rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
This was pretty much one of the most irritating books of all time - and consistent with my idea of YA fantasy. But I fought my way through it because, goshdarnit, I picked it up at the library, dragged it home with a load of other books and groceries, and renewed it the max number of times - I was gonna finish it.

You know the kickbutt heroine who is just totally kickbutt and doesn't need no one, no way, no how, and yet loves and feels and hurts deeply and yet keeps everyone away because she is b
Let's get this done. My dinner is getting cold, and I have dreams to crush. Ready? Andiamo!

BOOM #1: Katsa

While I love the author's intent for empowerment with Katsa, she was a bit too much of a special snowflake for me. I will forever fist-pump to her unstoppable strength as a warrior, a woman and a person, but at the end of the day she was highly unrealistic and too much of a caricature for me.

She's kind of a double edged-sword in terms of her feminist appeal, too. Instead of helping the women
Ten million stars. This book has so much heart and soul and depth. It was incredible and shattered any preconceived notions I had about fantasy ya. Everyone should read this.

Also I'm in love with Po. And I don't often fall in love with characters. Like sometimes I'll be like "oh, what a cute love story and what a great male lead" but with Po I died inside of love.

****4/9/16 Addition****
Look I met Kristin Cashore!

I really enjoyed the history and mainly the amazing kingdom that the writer has created .


I know that many will believe it is something unfair my punctuation and I respect that because this series has a lot of fans, but I have not felt comfortable with the idea of putting more because I liked but I haven't loved as I thought it would

“I'm not going to wear a red dress," she said.
"It would look stunning, My Lady," she called.
She spoke to the bubbles gathered on the surface of the water. "If ther
 Danielle The Book Huntress (Self-Proclaimed Book Ninja)
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
Aug 17, 2014 Sarah rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Fantasy Lit lovers
Recommended to Sarah by: Karin's Book Nook
Excerpt: “And now I’m wondering,” he said, “how it is you don’t realize your eyes ensnare me, just as mine do you. I can’t explain it, Katsa, but you shouldn’t let it embarrass you. For we’re both overtaken by the same—--foolishness.”

That’s Katsa’s eyes. Kidding. But that quite explain the eyes of a Graceling, just imagine it 10 times fantabuluos.

A Graceling is a person with Graced. Being Graced is like having an exceptional talent. But it does not only refer to singing or dancing, it could be t
Candi Stephenson
Hm. The hardest thing about this book is that it COULD HAVE BEEN SO GOOD. I started out loving everything about it and ready to recommend it to everyone. But then it started reading like a feminist/anti-marriage/anti-kids campaign platform (okay - that might be a little much, but you started to feel that the author had an agenda). It was just really disappointing, because I loved the characters so much. Oh well.
Also - even though it's considered a YA novel, there is sex in it. Pretty disappoint
Aug 04, 2012 Sparrow rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: Linda
Recommended to Sparrow by: Maya
Yay!!! This was just what I wanted. This was like a cone of shaved ice on a hot day by the pool listening to a mix of one hit wonders. Yay!! I feel like I didn’t realize it, but one of my goals for vacation was to stay up till three in the morning with a fun adventure, and this was just the thing. 3 a.m. read: check!

There is such a deluge of young, energetic girl writers, writing women who struggle with their stoicism and strength and have supportive, emotional male counterparts, and I absolutel
Pearl Angeli
“When a monster stopped behaving like a monster, did it stop being a monster? Did it become something else?”

High fantasy at its best!

This book is to be admired. And I definitely agree with everyone who says that the book is truly amazing. There are a lot of elements that make this book extra-ordinary.

Graceling is a story about the main character Lady Katsa of the Kingdom of Middlun. Graced with an unnatural gift that can easily kill anyone whenever she wants, she grew up under the influence o
May 22, 2009 Cinda rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
I LOVED this book; fast-paced, strong heroine, engaging love interest, character delivered through action. Loved Katsa's voice. Can't wait for the sequel.
Feb 02, 2009 Beth rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I came so very close to giving this one 5 stars. It was a great fantasy adventure with a strong female lead (perhaps too strong).
Katsa is a girl with extraordinary powers. When she meets Po, a young man with powers of his own, they strike up an unusual friendship and together set out to root out a growing evil.
This book had a great plot with some surprizing twists. It had great characters (I loved Po), and a slowly growing romance, but in the end I was expecting someting from Katsa that she just
Ambivalence: the coexistence within an individual of positive and negative feelings toward the same person, object, or action, simultaneously drawing him or her in opposite directions ( Thus ends my Graceling review.

Kidding! But it does sum it up nicely.

On the one hand, I found it a fast, engaging read that was hard to put down. As a favorite tale states, there is "fencing, fighting, torture, revenge, giants, monsters, chases, escapes, true love, miracles..." Alright, maybe not
Anne Osterlund
Aug 11, 2009 Anne Osterlund rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Sword fighting heroine, check. Magical powers, check. A real relationship worth investing in, check. A dastardly villain, a young woman who questions the use of her own power and makes a conscious decision to change, and a twist at the end.

All with a smooth flowing narrative that feels more like play than like work. Pure pleasure.
Apr 18, 2016 Algernon rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: 2016

My all-time favorite reviewer was Roger Ebert. I learned a lot from checking out his movie reviews: you can like different sorts of stories for different reasons; you should not use a one size fits all standard, but adapt your style to the sort of tale you are reviewing (as in don't judge an action movie like "Mad Max" the same way as an introspective Ingmar Bergman drama); most importantly, when you decide on a rating, make it personal: did I enjoy it or not? did I learn anything useful, or did
Dec 17, 2008 Lucy rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: teen, fantasy
In the seven kingdoms, there are some children who are born different. They are marked with eyes of two different colors, and they are called Gracelings. Gracelings have abilities beyond the natural, and they are feared and shunned by most people. There are many different Graces—some are benign, like the Grace to swim long distances, or to juggle. And some are deadly.

Katsa, niece to King Randa of Middluns, has a killing Grace. Since she was a small child she has been able to kill a grown man eas
Amelia, the pragmatic idealist

I bumped this up to 3 stars. There's really only 1 thing about this book I didnt like. Katsa's attitude and some of her decisions.
Second review:

Main idea: My goodreads buddy Isis says it best on her review, and I'll echo her sentiments that "being an angry bitch doesn't give someone a strong constitution or character."
Melissa Martin


I am in love with Katsa! She is an awesome inspiration for women warriors in a book. She kicks arse and takes names. I love the fact that she doesn't care anything about marriage or having kids. She's like my hero. I need a tshirt!!! I wish I had her Grace :)

The characters in the book are so wonderful, even the evil jerks are played out very well. I was so happy when Katsa met Po! Are they made for each other or what?! I don't like what happened to Po though :
Mar 06, 2011 Lora rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: fans of YA fantasy
Recommended to Lora by: Nic
Born with an ability that is more of a curse than a gift, Katsa's life hasn't been an easy one. Katsa is Graced with the ability to kill. And when an accident causes her to kill a man at the age of eight, she soon realizes what her Grace really is.
Upon finding out Katsa's true Grace, King Randa of the Middluns, Katsa's uncle, quickly decides to utilize her morbid abilities rather than kill her for them as most would.
Wanting to harness her abilities and control them rather than be ruled by them a
May 09, 2012 Heidi rated it did not like it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: adventure, ugh
I am so disappointed right now. I was absolutely LOVING this book and everything about it...then about 1/2 way through, the author lost me as a fan entirely. I felt like she went away from telling the story and decided to promote premarital sex and an anti-marriage theme instead. THIS BOOK IS SUPPOSE TO BE FOR YOUNG ADULTS???!!! The main characters decide to have NO standards/morals what-so-ever! UGH!! I was SOOOO mad!!!! I had a hard time enjoying the rest of the story because I was just so dis ...more
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Graceling Realm : * Graceling 72 103 14 hours, 29 min ago  
Is This Book Being Turned Into A Movie?!?! 75 1834 May 01, 2016 03:33PM  
Aurora Public Lib...: Graceling 3 4 Apr 05, 2016 06:31PM  
Listen Along Audi...: Graceling: March Nighttime Selection #1 3 8 Mar 10, 2016 05:46AM  
Play Book Tag: Graceling, by Kristin Cashore--5 stars 5 14 Feb 22, 2016 04:02PM  
Who would play ---- in a movie? 166 948 Jan 29, 2016 09:57PM  
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Librarian Note: There is more than one author in the GoodReads database with this name. See this thread for more information.

So, here's the short tale of me: I grew up in the countryside of northeastern Pennsylvania in a village with cows and barns and beautiful views from the top of the hill and all that good stuff. I lived in a rickety old house with my parents, three sisters, and a scattering o
More about Kristin Cashore...

Other Books in the Series

Graceling Realm (3 books)
  • Fire (Graceling Realm, #2)
  • Bitterblue (Graceling Realm, #3)

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“I'm not going to wear a red dress," she said.
"It would look stunning, My Lady," she called.
She spoke to the bubbles gathered on the surface of the water. "If there's anyone I wish to stun at dinner, I'll hit him in the face.”
“When a monster stopped behaving like a monster, did it stop being a monster? Did it become something else?” 1573 likes
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