Lora's Reviews > Graceling

Graceling by Kristin Cashore
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Mar 06, 11

bookshelves: lib-audiobooks, favorites, fantasy
Recommended to Lora by: Nic
Recommended for: fans of YA fantasy
Read from February 25 to 28, 2011, read count: 1

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 as she's ruled by the King, Katsa begins to train and practice her skills. Over time she grows more and more in tune with her Grace and soon she becomes King Randa's greatest and most adept fighter.
But will these skills do her any good when another, more corrupt king threatens all whom she cares for?

I found Katsa's strong character, independence, and fierce determination to be very admirable. Upon first being introduced to her character, I wasn't sure that I'd like her. But by the end of the novel she managed to become another favorite heroine of mine. (FYI, my list of favorite female characters is very short.) Katsa isn't your average damsel in distress and I was glad to see---for once---that the female was actually the stronger of the two in her relationship with Po. And that Po was more than fine with this fact. It's easy for the romance and relationships to become repetitive and even redundant when you've read 200+ books. But Ms. Cashore surprised me with her talent for writing and her ability to entertain and create fresh characters.

At first, I wasn't sure what to think of all the bling Po sports. I kept imagining something like this. (Except younger and with a lot less hair.) Finding out that it was the tradition of his people was a relief. The reason for all of his jewelry wearing ended up being very interesting, though. I found his people's customs and the origins of his jewelry quite intriguing.
And the man himself SHOCKED ME. I say this with caps because, in the beginning, much like with Katsa, I wasn't sure I'd like him. At first, all of the jewelry he's described as wearing aside, he just didn't seem like a character I could foresee myself warming up to. It's safe to say I'm warm now.
I don't know, it was like the more I read (listened), the more I liked him. Until, finally, I loved him. He's not like a lot of the other leading male characters being written in the YA genre today. He comes off as sort of simple, at first, and then, before you know it, he's found his way into your heart. (view spoiler)
Po's special in a simplistic yet complex way. If that makes sense.

The revelations in this novel were all very surprising and well written. Besides the one mentioned in the spoiler above, there were several others that I didn't see coming. (view spoiler)

King Leck of Monsea is easily one of the most malevolent, sadistic, and manipulative villains within the YA genre that I've ever come across. Although he's not actually in the story much, he plays a significant role as the villain and I thought he was well written.

Another thing I really liked about Graceling was the ending. It wasn't rushed like with most novels. (view spoiler)

Katsa's reluctent attraction to Po and her irritants and arguments with him were quite intriguing, also. And I loved it that their relationship wasn't rushed and overdone with the whole "soul mates" bit most authors are so found of using today.

FAVORITE QUOTE: "He sat against the tree, his knees bent and his head in his hands. His shoulders slumped. Tired, unhappy. Something tender caught in her breath at the sight of him. And then he raised his eyes and looked at her, and she saw what she had not seen before. She gasped.
His eyes were beautiful. His face was beautiful to her in every way, and his shoulders and hands. And his arms that hung over his knees, and his chest that was not moving, because he held his breath as he watched her. And the heart in his chest. This friend. How had she not seen this before? How had she not seen him? She was blind. And then tears choked her eyes, for she had not asked for this. She had not asked for this beautiful man before her, with something hopeful in his eyes that she did not want."

Graceling is the perfect mix of action, suspense, sensuality, and it is one of the most of intriguing and fatastically written fantasy worlds I've ever had the pleasure of reading about----or, in this case, listening to.

Bottom line: If you've not yet read Graceling, I suggest you rectify that immediately.
And if you have, please give the audio version a try. You won't be disappointed. (I'm talking to you, Flannery.)
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Comments (showing 1-23 of 23) (23 new)

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Flannery What?! I liked it! I listened to the second one:-) Ahhh, I see, you want me to reread Graceling by listening. I might have to to get ready for Bitterblue--I already forget what happened in this one and Fire. And thanks a lot for the warning on that bling photo--GROSS.

message 2: by Lora (last edited Mar 02, 2011 05:07PM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lora The audiobook for this is AMAZING IMO. You really should try it sometime. :)

I just got Fire in audio from my library. Is it any good?

Flannery Yes, definitely. I just found it hard to remember what the map looked like, you know? In the book of Graceling, I kept looking back at the map from the front. So I was confused about where the heck they were. But it will probably be easier for you if you read/listen to that one directly after the first.

message 4: by Nic (new) - rated it 4 stars

Nic Love that quote! Beautiful review :)

Lora @Flannery
I plan to start on the audio of Fire tonight. Oh, and Flannery? If you have any other recommendations for audiobooks I'd be happy to hear them. :)

Thanks, Nic! You have no idea what I had to do to get that quote. Since I was listening to it rather than reading it, I had to keep rewinding the audio until I got it all.

Flannery The Dairy Queen series, all the John Green and Sarah Dessen books I've listened to, all the Tamora Pierce books, Unwind, If I Stay, and Stolen: A letter to my captor.

I have a shelf of audiobooks but other adult books I liked were The Help, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, and Elantris. ( I know the first two are super popular--you've probably read them already))

Arlene I loved this book. I need to re-read it soon. Awesome review Lora!

Lora Thanks, Arlene! I can't wait for Bitterblue. :)

Arlene I want Bitterblue NOW! We've waited too long for that book.

message 10: by Lora (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lora Flannery wrote: "The Dairy Queen series, all the John Green and Sarah Dessen books I've listened to, all the Tamora Pierce books, Unwind, If I Stay, and Stolen: A letter to my captor.

I have a shelf of audiobooks but other adult books I liked were The Help, The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo, and Elantris. ( I know the first two are super popular--you've probably read them already))"

They have all of those at my library except for Stolen: A letter to my captor, Elantris, and Unwind. I plan on buying Stolen soon, though.

And, no, believe it or not I've not yet read The Help or The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo. So I'll try them.

Thanks for the recs, Flann! :)

message 11: by Lora (last edited Mar 03, 2011 11:57AM) (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lora Arlene wrote: "I want Bitterblue NOW! We've waited too long for that book."

Me too! I loved her character in this. I've read the semi-summary and it says it takes place six years after the events in Graceling. That means Bitterblue will be the same age as Katsa was in this.

I can't believe we have to wait until September!

Arlene Looking forward to it!

message 13: by ~Tina~ (last edited Mar 03, 2011 12:55PM) (new) - rated it 5 stars

~Tina~ Wow! Amazing review hun! You make me want to read this again, right now! lol

message 14: by Lora (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lora Thanks, Tina. :)

Nomes wow. what a review. I loved graceling too.

message 16: by Lora (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lora Thank you, Nomes. It was really good^^

message 17: by [deleted user] (last edited Mar 03, 2011 01:57PM) (new)

Lora, great review. I also really liked this book
I was reading your request for the best in audiobooks and you may know this already, but the YALSA gives out the Odyssey award every year to it's choice for the top five YA audio books.
Here's the link, hope it helps

message 18: by Lora (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lora Well, thank you, Kate. :)

Sarah M Awesome review Lora. Thank you for the suggestion as well. It seems like a book I would enjoy. :)

message 20: by Lora (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lora Thanks. I really do think you'd like it. :)

message 21: by Lucy (new) - rated it 5 stars

Lucy Loved this book too, I may need to check it out in audio format now. Great, thorough review!
I wish Bitterblue would hurry up and come out already!

message 22: by Lora (new) - rated it 4 stars

Lora The audio's really great, Lucy.

Ditto on the Bitterblue comment^^

Mayomi Great review Lora! I'm currently reading this right now. I haven't gone that far but I'm enjoying it so far.

Loving the pic you had for Po, because so far the image I have in mind right now kinda looks like
Just less chains around the neck and face. Hehehehe

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