Monday, March 22, 2010

Review: Graceling

After hearing so much praise for Graceling by Kristin Cashore ever since it was published, I was thrilled to finally start reading it. I tore through this book in just a few days, eager to know what would happen.

From the back of the book:
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 Graces as she is with killing, she is forced to work as the king's thug.

When she first meets Prince Po, who is 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...
Graceling was really fun to read! The characters are interesting and well-fleshed out and the plot was riveting.

But - and I hate that there's a but - it left me feeling a like something was lacking. My expectations for Graceling were, I'll admit, a bit high. So maybe its not a surprise that the book didn't quite live up to my expectations. Don't get me wrong, I liked the book. But I kept thinking about how much Katsa reminded me other YA heroines (Katniss from The Hunger Games, in particular) and how much the story reminded me of other books (like the works of my girl Tamora Pierce or JRR Tolkien).

Let me be clear, I'm not saying that it felt like Cashore ripped anything off from these authors. It's just that Graceling didn't feel as fresh to me as I'd been hoping. Again, I think its more just a matter of how high my expectations were, not of any fault of the book.

In the end, Graceling is well worth the read. I don't think it really broke new ground in YA fantasy, but it was really entertaining. Fantasy fans of all ages will enjoy it.

Buy Graceling on Amazon.


  1. You know, a friend of mine gave me Graceling and I started it, but it just didn't do anything for me. Nothing wrong with it; I just wasn't caught up in the action enough to want to continue.

  2. I've been putting off reading this book exactly because at this point my expectations are unreasonably high. I've heard so many good things about it that I expect it to be life-changing, and will likely be let down if it's "only" a great read.

  3. I keep hearing that there's something missing about Graceling, but even with that step to genius missing it sounds like it's the closest to contemporary female fantasy being published right now (which we need more of, you can only reread The Song of the Lioness so many times). If it is like Tamora Pierce's work I'll be way happy :)


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