Graceling by Kristin Cashore

Working at an all boys school, I find it hard to determine what YA fiction is going to be suitable for their tastes vs. my tastes.  I worry about letting my feminine side dictate what books we should get solely because I think they would be perfect.  Many times they would be… for an all girls school…

So when I seen this book in a YA book magazine, my first instinct was BUY! My second instinct was to tell myself, “Sure, buy the book, but not for the library just yet.  Let’s wait and see how girly it is.” So I bought it for myself.

I loved it, and I think the boys will too.

Graceling is the story of Katsa, a young woman who has the unique “grace” of being able to kill with her bare hands.  Used by her uncle, King Randa, as a means to instill terror and obedience from his subjects, Katsa is regarded as her uncle’s dog.  Tired of bringing only pain and suffering, she secretly begins The Council, a group of citizens from around the 7 kingdoms who are dedicated to helping those who cannot help themselves.  It is during one of these secret missions that Katsa meets Po, another Graceling from a neighbouring kingdom.  After a rocky start, the two become friends and undertake a mission that could be their destruction… or their saving Grace.

An easy read, this book was fast paced and full of adventure.  The only thing that might make it a bit of a “aw man!” book is the blossoming relationship between Katsa and Po, although this is a relatively short piece in the book.  I found it very similar to Suzanne Collins’ Mockingjay Trilogy with its strong female protagonist and her quest for self-discovery.  Because that is what it is ultimately about.  Katsa’s journey from self-loathing and doubt to self-awareness and respect.

Will definitely be buying this one, and will be reading Kristin Cashore’s prequel to Graceling, Fire.  There is also talk of a sequel to Graceling in the works.  You can check it out on Kristin’s blog.

Other boring but important info!

Reading time: I got through it in 4 hours with interruptions.  I imagine it would only take 2.5-3 hours.

Rating: 5/5

Re-readability: 3/5 – While I loved it… I don’t think I could re-read it right away. The story is very basic and not of a type that requires frequent visits in order to uncover missed elements from the first time.

Price: Chapters Store – $10.91/ Kindle – $8.59 USD/ Kobo – Not Available (Anyone know why?)



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