Goodreads helps you keep track of books you want to read.
Start by marking “Graceling” as Want to Read:
Graceling
Enlarge cover
Rate this book
Clear rating
Open Preview

Graceling

(Graceling Realm #1)

4.09  ·  Rating details ·  348,988 ratings  ·  21,039 reviews
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.

She never expects to fall in love with beautiful Prince Po.

She never ex
...more
Hardcover, 480 pages
Published June 15th 2010 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (first published October 1st 2008)
More Details... edit details

Friend Reviews

To see what your friends thought of this book, please sign up.

Reader Q&A

To ask other readers questions about Graceling, please sign up.
Popular Answered Questions
Ashley I struggled with it until page 70. There is a lot to learn about the Graceling Realm but once I got to page 70 I could not put it down. It gets really…moreI struggled with it until page 70. There is a lot to learn about the Graceling Realm but once I got to page 70 I could not put it down. It gets really good just stick with it a bit longer!(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)

Community Reviews

Showing 1-30
4.09  · 
Rating details
 ·  348,988 ratings  ·  21,039 reviews


More filters
 | 
Sort order
Miss Clark
Sep 22, 2008 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
Mar 26, 2010 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
...more
Krystle
Aug 18, 2009 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 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 tended to do."
...more
Miranda Reads
When a monster stopped behaving like a monster, did it stop being a monster? Did it become something else?
Authors, take note: This is YA Lit done right.

Katsa is a monster. She's been one ever since she discovered the power of her killing Grace. Only...she starts to wonder, does she have to be?

In the Graceling Realm, those born with heterochromia (different colored eyes) are blessed with a Grace.

A Grace can be anything from the mundane (i.e. holding your breath indefinitely) to the cruel (i.
...more
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
...more
Rhea
What I think about when I hear the name...

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

Katsa:
- Ketchup
- Mutant Katniss

Ror:
- Roar! I'm a T-Rex!

Tealiff:
- Tea Leaf

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

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

Drowden:
- Drowsy
- Drowning

Thigpen
- Pig pen
- Thinking pen

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

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

By the way, Po's real name is Green
...more
Penny
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
...more
karen
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
...more
Melissa ♥ Dog/Wolf Lover ♥ Martin
Okay, so this was a re-read on audio and I thought it was really cool with the multiple narrators and music and stuff. But sometimes one of the voices rubbed me the wrong way and the music went from fantasy to what sounded like western music. Lol. Maybe it was just me! I still loved the book though =)

 :

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. Sh
...more
Elise (TheBookishActress)
When a monster stopped behaving like a monster, did it stop being a monster? Did it become something else?

So fun fact, this is probably one of my most reread books of all time, and it was such a big influence on both what I write and what I love to read, and I love and appreciate it more every time. And I’d love if you all could appreciate it too along with me?

This book opens with a scene in which Katsa, a character graced with the skill to kill people - literally, actually murder them - pu
...more
Tatiana
Apr 24, 2009 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
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.
...more
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
...more
Kaylin (The Re-Read Queen)
4 Stars

Overview:


“When a monster stopped behaving like a monster, did it stop being a monster? Did it become something else?”


I honestly didn’t know anything about this, but I'd seen it around and finally it was recommended enough. I was really surprised by the depth of this story and the characters.

The story revolves around Katsa, who lives in a world where people can be born with a ‘Grace.’ Meaning, aside from two-different eye colors, they have an exceptional skill. Katsa’s grace is killin
...more
Vicki
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
...more
Sean
Jul 30, 2008 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
...more
Ryn
Jul 19, 2011 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
...more
Sana
2.5 stars.

This started off really well and I was actually enjoying it, but around page 230 I started to drift away from the plot and (view spoiler) really annoyed me because I did not like their romantic relationship. The plot started to bore me and I suddenly disliked Katsa's character after page 230 or somewhere around that.

◆I love love LOVED Katsa's character in the beginning. She's graced with the power to fight and kill unlike any huma
...more
Fables&Wren
Oct 11, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
WrensReads Review:

If you know anything about me, you’ll know that Shannon Hale and Gail Carson Levine are two authors that have dreamed up books that made a handprint on my childhood. They are lively and they are uplifting and they shine girls in a light that the media and history turn a blind eye to.

Well, now I am going to add Kristin Cashmore to that list.

She writes exactly like those two ladies mentioned about, but for a slightly older age group. She grasps the fairytale feel by the hand and
...more
Kiki
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
...more
Tadiana ✩Night Owl☽
My teenage daughter brought this home from the library and didn't get to it soon enough, so I swiped it from her and read it in one day. It was a fun read for the most part and certainly kept my attention; I found myself making excuses to my visiting relatives in the evening so I could hole up in my bedroom and finish this novel in peace (in my defense, it was 11:30 pm and they'd been talking my ears off for two hours). That said, I have some qualms about recommending this book.

A lot has been sa
...more
 Danielle The Book Huntress (Back to the Books)
Feb 24, 2009 rated it liked it  ·  review of another edition
Recommends it for: recommended for adventure aspects, not interpersonal/relationship aspects
This review has been hidden because it contains spoilers. To view it, click here.
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
...more
Malanie
Did you say you wanted a,,,badass? female? protagonist? Who has been able to “kill a man with her bare hands since she was eight?”


Well. holy shit. you need Katsa to be in your life pronto smonto.


This is one of the first fantasy books that I felt really good about. At no point did I think the setting/world-building was lifeless, or that the character development was neglected. The setting was in fact GORGEOUS with gloomy, marble imagery for your reading pleasure. So, it had that high fantasy asp
...more
carol.
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 (Dictionary.com). 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
...more
Sofii♡ (A Book. A Thought.)
I really enjoyed the history and mainly the amazing kingdom that the writer has created .


description


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
...more
Maggie ☘ (Wonderland-Reader)
*4.75/5 stars*

Foreword:

I've read a few reviews stating that Katsa is problematic because she's against feminine things like dresses, marriage etc. But I don't think she dislikes dresses or marriage for other people at all, I don't think she judges them for it, she simply does not want the same for herself. As is her prerogative. She simply doesn't feel overly traditionally feminine herself, which is also fine. I don't think it's as much of a stance against these things as it is that deep down sh
...more
Trina (Between Chapters)
Really enjoyed this! The plot took a while to kick in but I loved the characters and I have a new ship!

The audiobook has a full cast and is so well performed!

Rep: Blindness (harmful rep). The character does have magical abilities that give him heightened other senses that "make up for" his disability.

Content: A father with gross intentions toward his daughter. I couldn't quite tell if this was incest or other physical violence. He is said to enjoy torturing other children and animals. Some of
...more
Nasom
Jul 12, 2017 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: fantasy
For the most parts, I loved this book. I liked how it starts off with a rescue mission so there was no slow start.

So this book is about a "graced" girl called Katsa. Being graced means you are born with a specific skill that you are great at. They are recognized by their eyes which are two different colours. Katsa is a graced killer (or so she thinks) and she meets a guy called 'Po' who is also graced. Together, they try to uncover the mystery behind the kidnap of Po's grandfather.

I enjoyed the
...more
Sarah
Dec 21, 2010 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.”

[image error]
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,
...more
« previous 1 3 4 5 6 7 8 9 next »

Readers also enjoyed

  • Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows (Harry Potter, #7)
  • Speak
  • Froi of the Exiles (Lumatere Chronicles, #2)
  • Eona: The Last Dragoneye (Eon, #2)
  • Mastiff (Beka Cooper, #3)
  • Rampant (Killer Unicorns, #1)
  • A Wrinkle in Time (Time Quintet, #1)
  • The Iron Knight (The Iron Fey, #4)
  • Academy 7
  • Cybele's Secret (Wildwood, #2)
  • The Crown of Embers (Fire and Thorns, #2)
  • The Crimson Crown (Seven Realms, #4)
  • Magic Study (Study, #2)
  • Crown Duel (Crown & Court #1-2)
See similar books…
13,784 followers
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 of cats, and I READ READ READ READ READ. I read while brushing my teeth, I read while chopping parsley, the first thing I reac ...more

Other books in the series

Graceling Realm (3 books)
  • Fire (Graceling Realm, #2)
  • Bitterblue (Graceling Realm, #3)
“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.”
3696 likes
“When a monster stopped behaving like a monster, did it stop being a monster? Did it become something else?” 1708 likes
More quotes…