- Publisher: Gollancz
- Format: Paperback | 400 pages
- Dimensions: 131mm x 198mm x 26mm | 284g
- Publication date: 3 September 2009
- Publication City/Country: London
- ISBN 10: 0575085304
- ISBN 13: 9780575085305
- Illustrations note: maps
- Sales rank: 2,064
In a world where people born with an exceptional skill, known as a Grace, are feared and exploited, Katsa carries the burden of a skill even she despises: the Grace of killing. She lives under the command of her Uncle Randa, King of the Middluns, and is expected to carry out his dirty work, punnishing and torturing anyone who displeases him. Breaking arms and cutting off fingers are her stock-in-trade. Finding life under his rule increasingly unbearable Katsa forms an underground Council, whose purpose is to combat the destructive behaviour of the seven kings - after all, the Middluns is only one of the Seven Kingdoms, each of them ruled by their own king and his personal agenda for power. When the Council hears that the King of Liend's father has been kidnapped Katsa investigates ...and stumbles across a mystery. Who would want to kidnap him, and why? And who was the extraordinary Graced fighter who challenged her fighting skills, for the first time, as she and the Council rushed the old man to saftey? Something dark and deadly is rising in the north and creeping across the continent, and behind it all lurks the shadowy figure of a one-eyed king ...
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Kristin Cashore is an award-winning author in the fantasy and YA genre. She has an M.A. in children's literature and has lived in Pennsylvania, Florida, Sydney, Cambridge, Austin, Italy and even London before settling, for the moment, in Boston.
By Sarah Elizabeth 19 Jun 2013
(Source: I own a copy of this book.)
Katsa lives in a world where some people develop a special talent called a 'Grace'. These people are marked by having two different colour eyes, and Katsa herself has a very unique gift - the Grace of Killing. If Katsa intends to kill someone, she can do it without weapons, even barehanded against many trained swordsmen.
Katsa has also started a special council though, that works for the good of the people, and her latest endeavour has been to save a very important man who had been kidnapped by the King Murgon. It is during this attempt to save Prince Tealiff that Katsa meets Prince Po, grandson of Prince Tealiff.
When Katsa and Po next meet, he tells her that he knows that she saved his grandfather, and together they set out to try and determine why Prince Tealiff was taken in the first place, and what is going on with his granddaughter Ashen, who is married to King Leck.
Why was Prince Tealiff kidnapped? What is going on with King Leck? And can Katsa and Po's friendship ever be anything more?
I really enjoyed this book. The story was well-written, and I even managed to keep up with the storyline.
Katsa was a real kick-ass heroine. She totally owned her Grace, and used it to her own advantage. She also had a real sense of right and wrong though, and didn't allow orders to get in the way of what she felt was right. She was also so selfless and caring, and she made a great main character.
Po was a sweet character, and I liked how he opened himself up to Katsa entirely and shamelessly. I liked how their romance was slow and didn't take over the story, but I also wondered what the future held in store for them.
I liked the storyline, and unlike a lot of fantasy stories I managed to keep up with the plot without getting confused, which was great. I liked how the story stayed with Katsa, and we didn't have to try and keep up with multiple different characters at once, and I liked how straightforward everything was. I really hate it when we get lots of politics and wars in fantasy books and this one managed to steer clear of those pitfalls beautifully.
I'm really interested to see where the story goes from here, and will definitely be reading 'Fire'!
Overall; a great YA fantasy.
8 out of 10.
By Serena 06 Sep 2010
With a gift for fighting and killing Katsa has been alienated from her society, with the help of mystery hunk Po she slowly learns that there is more to herself that being the ultimate enforcer.
With an imaginative writing style and stronger characters this is a must read.
By Penny Cunningham 18 Jun 2010
I really enjoyed this book, the first I have read by this author. It is set in a land where people are sometimes "Graced" a gift of some special power fighting, mind reading, survival etc. It takes Katsa, a girl wih the grace of fighting on an adventure throughout the land with Po and man graced with second sense. trying to find out why Po's grandfather had been kidnapped. They learn all sorts of things about themselves and each other, a cracking good read!
Cashore's prose is smooth and unobtrusive. But for all its lightness of tone, Graceling is not a simple novel. indeed it deals with some very difficult subject matter. Its inevitable love story is sweetly unconventional and unabashedly feminist. Katsa herself is a rich character. The growth of her trust and self-esteem is the understated heart of the novel. This is always Katsa's story and enjoyable fast paced it is too. An immensely fun, good-hearted read. SFX 'Cashore creates believable characters with enough depth, subtlety, and experience to satisfy older readers ... An impressive first novel. BOOKLIST Graceling really does have something to offer everyone. An adventurous and enjoyable read. DEATHRAY It's a great debut novel that will suit those who like their Fantasy unabashedly romantic. SFFWORLD.COM The story flows at a decent pace with a story that gradually builds in intensity and a mystery that unravels at just the right speed to keep things interesting. Cashore knows what makes a good spectacle and, even though you know that Katsa absolutely has to win through, writes set piece scenes that buzz with excitement and action. GRAEME'S FANTASY BOOK REVIEW A major strength of the writing is the imagery presented throughout the novel. The book is filled with very vivid descriptions of almost everything from castles, landscapes, courts, and the journeys that the characters go on. Kristin Cashore's 'Graceling' is a great start by a developing writer and I definitely look forward to seeing this writer grow with future novels as she shows tremendous potential. FANTASY BOOK CRITIC