Review: GRACELING by Kristin Cashore

TITLE: Graceling
AUTHOR: Kristin Cashore
GENRE: Young Adult, Romance, Adventure, Fantasy
PUBLISHED: October 1, 2008 – Harcourt


(Courtesy of Goodreads-No Spoilers!)

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.

When she first meets Prince Po, Graced with combat skills, Katsa has no hint of how her life is about to change.

She never expects to become Po's friend.

She never expects to learn a new truth about her own Grace - or about a terrible secret that lies hidden far away...


This story is truly captivating. The tone caught me immediately and drew me in. A Graceling is someone born with an ability far exceeding human capability (exceptional swimmer, fighter, etc) and marked by eyes of different colors. Katsa is a Graced fighter and virtually unbeatable. In the first half of the book she is forced to fight and bully on behalf of her tyrannical uncle. She is forced to torture people who do not comply with his rule. She secretly formed the Council which protects the innocent from being taken advantage of by any of the seven kings.

Katsa’s character is believable even though she is a teenager who changes the course of seven kingdoms. Most of us felt invincible as teenagers and probably wanted to change the world. This story fulfills that desire. The gifts as a Graceling give us room to believe in the unbelievable things she can do because of her Grace.

In the second half of the book she joins forces with a prince to find out the reason his grandfather was kidnapped. She has never felt love or friendship before and every moment they spent together was magical for reasons I won’t share. (No spoilers in this review!) But I will say the only part that irked my (only slightly) was the abrupt resolution to a major plot point. I found it odd, but hey who wants to wait around for these things!


This is Kristin Cashore’s first novel! Her writing style is exceptional and I was thrilled to find myself caught up in the story world she created. I’m glad to have finally found another book to give a 5. Excellent: Worth every minute, I’d probably read it again. (I’ll probably buy this one too, because I read the library copy.)

Bring on Book 2!!


I would definitely recommend this book to my pre-teens and teens. It would make a great PG movie as well!

More books by Kristin Cashore:

Graceling Realm Series:

Book 2: FIRE