Graceling

By Kristin Cashore
Binding:Hardcover
Publisher:Harcourt Children's Books, (10/1/2008)
Language:English



Average Rating:
Very Unleashable
4.00 out of 5 (2 Clubie's ratings)


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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 . . . a secret that could destroy all seven kingdoms with words alone.

With elegant, evocative prose and a cast of unforgettable characters, debut author Kristin Cashore creates a mesmerizing world, a death-defying adventure, and a heart-racing romance that will consume you, hold you captive, and leave you wanting more.

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Sinny's thoughts on "Graceling"
updated on:2/9/2012



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SaraHope's thoughts on "Graceling"
updated on:8/20/2009



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"Graceling"
By Kristin Cashore

Average Rating:
Very Unleashable
4.00 out of 5 (2 Clubie's ratings)


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Amazon.com Review
If you had the power to kill with your bare hands, what would you do with it?

Graceling takes readers inside the world of Katsa, a warrior-girl in her late teens with one blue eye and one green eye. This gives her haunting beauty, but also marks her as a Graceling. Gracelings are beings with special talents—swimming, storytelling, dancing. Katsa's Grace is considered more useful: her ability to fight (and kill, if she wanted to) is unequaled in the seven kingdoms. Forced to act as a henchman for a manipulative king, Katsa channels her guilt by forming a secret council of like-minded citizens who carry out secret missions to promote justice over cruelty and abuses of power.

Combining elements of fantasy and romance, Cashore skillfully portrays the confusion, discovery, and angst that smart, strong-willed girls experience as they creep toward adulthood. Katsa wrestles with questions of freedom, truth, and knowing when to rely on a friend for help. This is no small task for an angry girl who had eschewed friendships (with the exception of one cousin that she trusts) for her more ready skills of self-reliance, hunting, and fighting. Katsa also comes to know the real power of her Grace and the nature of Graces in general: they are not always what they appear to be.

Graceling is the first book in a series, and Kristin Cashore’s first work of fiction. It sets up a vivid world with engaging characters that readers will certainly look forward to following beyond the last chapter of this book. (Ages 14 and up) --Heidi Broadhead



From Booklist
*Starred Review* Feared as a killer since her childhood, Lady Katsa uses her unusual Grace (superhuman gift) in the service of her uncle, King Randa. She is beginning to rebel against his orders to kill or maim his more disloyal subjects when her path crosses that of Po. A young foreign prince with a mysterious Grace as well as wisdom beyond his years, Po convinces Katsa that she can stand up to the brutal king and put her gift to better uses. When Katsa joins Po on a quest, she throws herself headlong into a rescue mission and finds romance, self-knowledge, and justice along the way. Although many fantasy writers create intriguing alternate worlds and worthy adventures, as Cashore does in this well-imagined novel, she also offers believable characters with enough depth, subtlety, and experience to satisfy older readers. Katsa is a heroine who can physically overpower most men she meets, yet her strength is not achieved by becoming manlike. She may care little for fine clothes, but from her first kill to her first experience of lovemaking, Katsa’s womanhood is integral to her character. An impressive first novel, this well-crafted and rewarding fantasy will leave readers hoping for more. Grades 9-12. --Carolyn Phelan 

Review
"Here's a WOW of a book! Seeing half-wild Katsa learn humanity as she battles soldiers, storms, and her own obsessive nature--I HAD to know how it ended!"
--Tamora Pierce


"Katsa and Po are wonderful: They make me want to cheer. Due to a strong heroine, a supportive hero, political intrigue, and action throughout, this is a book I'll share with my daughter." -Melissa Marr, author of Wicked Lovely (Melissa Marr )

"A brilliant, unforgettable story. I consumed Graceling in one sitting, awed by its originality, breadth, and humanity. For a first novel - for any novel - this book is extraordinary." -Catherine Gilbert Murdock, author of Dairy Queen (Catherine Gilbert Murdock )

"I can't remember when I last was this impressed by a new fantasy. Kristin Cashore's voice is fresh and fluent. The characters are memorable, the plot filled with surprises-all of which are entirely plausible-and the end result is a story that you tear through so that you can immediately start again at the beginning and read it with the care it deserves. A truly spectacular novel." -Susan Hirschman, Founder of Greenwillow Books (Susan Hirschman )

"With this riveting debut, Cashore has set the bar exceedingly high." --Publishers Weekly, starred review (Publishers Weekly )

"An impressive first novel, this well crafted and rewarding fantasy will leave readers hoping for more." Booklist (starred review) (Booklist )

"Katsa is an ideal adolescent heroine, simultaneously confident of her strengths yet unsure of her place in the world. . . . In a tale filled with graphic violence and subtle heartbreak, gentle passion and savage kindness, matter-of-fact heroics and bleak beauty, no defeat is ever total and no triumph comes without cost. Grace-full, in every sense." Kirkus Reviews, starred review ( 9/01/08) (Kirkus Reviews ) 

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KRISTIN CASHORE has written for The Horn Book Guide, The Looking Glass: An Online Children’s Literature Journal, and Children’s Literature in Education. She received a master’s degree in children’s literature from Simmons College. Graceling is Ms.Cashore’s first novel. She lives in Jacksonville, Florida. 


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