Book Review – Graceling (Graceling Realm #1)

January 20, 2017 Reviews 6 ★★★½

Book Review – Graceling (Graceling Realm #1)Graceling by Kristin Cashore
Series: Graceling Realm #1
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Date Published: 2008
Genres: Action & Adventure, Fantasy & Magic, Young Adult
Format: Audiobook
Pages: 471
Audiobook Length: 12 hours 31 minutes
Audiobook Narrator: Chelsea Mixon, David Baker, Zachary Exton
Rating: three-half-stars
Description: Kristin Cashore's best-selling, award-winning fantasy Graceling tells the story of the vulnerable yet strong Katsa, a smart, beautiful teenager who lives in a world where selected people are given a Grace, a special talent that can be anything from dancing to swimming. Katsa's is killing. As the king's niece, she is forced to use her extreme skills as his thug. Along the way, Katsa must learn to decipher the true nature of her Grace . . . and how to put it to good use. A thrilling, action-packed fantasy adventure (and steamy romance!) that will resonate deeply with adolescents trying to find their way in the world.   Awards: Winner of the Mythopoeic Fantasy Award for Children's Literature, winner of the SIBA Book Award/YA, Indies Choice Book Award Honor Book, ALA Best Book for Young Adults, 2008 Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year, 2008 School Library Journal Best Book of the Year,'s Best Books of 2008, 2008 Booklist Editors' Choice, Booklist's 2008 Top Ten First Novels for Youth, 2009 Amelia Bloomer List, BCCB 2009 Blue Ribbon List   Don't miss the sequel Fire, also a New York Times bestseller and ALA Best Book for Young Adults, winner of the 2010 Cybil for YA Fantasy/Sci Fi and the Amelia Elizabeth Walden Award.

Lynnpic Lynn’s Review:

Are you participating in our Shelf Love challenge this year? Did you read the rules. Check out this fine print: 

  • You may use your library to obtain different formats of books you already own and count those towards your goal

Because I never read the rules. So now that I know, I’m totally taking advantage of this! I can listen to audio books of books I own but that, let’s be honest, I’ll never have the time to read. Starting with Graceling, which I’ve received in a White Elephant exchange 3 years ago. Yes. 3 years. Let’s get on with the review.

Some of the things that I liked:

    • The Grace concept – where in some people have special skills. Think X-Men with their genetic super powers. Except here, it’s super powers like swimming, or knowing the weather, or sensing everything around you. And those who are graced have heterochromic eyes. Which ups the cool factor for me considerably. 
    • Katsa – she’s a strong female chracter in a realm where men are expected to protect their wives and daughters. But not Katsa. She’s out there in the world. Fighting. Protecting others. And training girls to fight.
    • Po – A prince. A fighter. And a man who accepts Katsa for who she is. And even teachers her a few things about fighting. The kind of man who might even have Katsa rethinking her vow to never marry.
    • The audio narration – I’m definitely a fan of full cast recordings with music. There was a main narrator, and voices for all of the different characters. A plus to keeping me engaged while listening.  

Some of the things that I didn’t like:

    • As Julie would say, too much journey – Katsa has to protect Princess Bitterblue. And in doing so, decides to climb OVER the mountain. Sure, it’s the route least liking to have them followed. But it’s also a really long, cold, walk. With loads of snow. And walking. And walking.
    • Not a lot of conflict – the book wraps up everything neatly. I’m all for happy endings, don’t get me wrong. But I’m also skeptical when everything works out in the end. There are only a few scenes with the bad guy. And when [redacted for spoilers] happens with 90 minutes still in the book, I had to wonder what was left of the plot for that much book.
    • No sense of urgency for me to continue listening to the audio. I liked Graceling well enough while listening. But I didn’t feel any kind of drive to get back to listening each day.

Overall, Graceling was ok for me. I liked it. But didn’t really love it. There was just something missing that I can’t identify. But hey, at least it counts for Shelf Love! 

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Rating Report
Overall: 3.5

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6 Responses to “Book Review – Graceling (Graceling Realm #1)”

  1. Becky @ A Fool's Ingenuity

    I didn’t actually see the different format from the library clause. I’m mostly just using my library to stop me buying new books… sort of.

    Glad to see you’ve taken full advantage of the clause to finish this book, though. Graceling was one of the first books I reviewed on my blog and I really enjoyed it. It’s a book I actually want to go back and reread to see if my thoughts are the same on it as I don’t remember having the same reservations as you when reading, I was actually hooked to the story and powered through the trilogy.

    • Lynn

      I use the library a lot, too, Becky. Especially to stop buying books. Glad you stopped by the blog!

    • Lynn

      yes. That’s really her name, Terri. And apparently the name of the third book of the series. And I’m totally taking more advantage of that this year with audio books!

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