Author: Kristin Cashore
Release Date: October 1, 2008
Publisher: Graphia, Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
In a world where people born with an extreme skill—called a Grace—are feared and
exploited, Katsa carries the burden of the 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 execute his dirty work, punishing and torturing anyone who displeases him.
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...a secret that could destroy all seven kingdoms with words
I couldn’t say why it took me so long to open this book up and read it, but I really regret
procrastinating! I bought the book a LONG time ago and it’s been sitting patiently on my
shelf while I kept passing it over to read other books. That was a GINORMOUS mistake
on my part!
Kristin Cashore creates a world that the reader effortlessly falls into. It is very well
written (from a third person point of view)-creating a good balance of language
appropriate for the time/setting of the book while not turning off the target age range.
GRACELING takes place in a time of castles and kings, where knives and swords are
the weapons of choice and horses and ships transport you through the land of the seven
kingdoms. I absolutely love stories set in this time period but what I loved more was the
kick-butt female lead character, Katsa! She is fierce, deadly, and powerful and is a really
nice change from some of the other “weaker” female characters that have been popping
up in YA books lately. Throughout the story, she develops as a person tremendously but
in a seamless manner making it feel more realistic.
Katsa shows her skills, or rather her grace, in the first pages and the action keeps pace
from then on. The plot has many twists and secrets (who kidnapped the grandfather and
why) that kept me feverishly turning the pages and at the same time, not wanting to keep
reading because the book was bound to end. The best bittersweet situation for all book
lovers! There is a love interest in the book that doesn’t not consume or deter from the
This book is aimed toward 14 years and older, but parents should know that there are
a few scenes that hint toward some characters engaging in sex. The book does not go
into detail or come right out and say it, but it definitely implies it. I would liken these
situations to the “sex scenes” from Stephenie Meyer’s Twilight series-nothing over
the top. The book also takes a firm stand against marriage as Katsa finds it to be too
suffocating and somewhat demeaning to women.
All in all, this book was a fantastic escape to a fantasy world with magic, love, and
friendship. Cashore has two companion novels, Fire and Bitterblue, that I expect to be
just as amazing!