Summary and book reviews of Graceling by Kristin Cashore

Graceling

By Kristin Cashore

Graceling
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  • Hardcover: Oct 2008,
    480 pages.
    Paperback: Sep 2009,
    480 pages.

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Book Summary

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.

She never expects to fall in love with beautiful Prince Po.

She never expects to learn the truth behind her Grace—or the 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.

CHAPTER ONE

IN THESE DUNGEONS the darkness was complete, but Katsa had a map in her mind. One that had so far proven correct, as Oll’s maps tended to do. Katsa ran her hand along the cold walls and counted doors and passageways as she went. Turning when it was time to turn; stopping finally before an opening that should contain a stairway leading down. She crouched and felt forward with her hands. There was a stone step, damp and slippery with moss, and another one below it. This was Oll’s staircase, then. She only hoped that when he and Giddon followed her with their torches, they would see the moss slime, tread carefully, and not waken the dead by clattering headlong down the steps.

Katsa slunk down the stairway. One left turn and two right turns. She began to hear voices as she entered a corridor where the darkness flickered orange with the light of a torch set in the wall. Across from the torch was another corridor where, according to Oll, anywhere from two to ten ...

Please be aware that this discussion guide may contain spoilers!
Not a discussion guide, as such, but a fun quiz that could lead to discussion! .....

Are You Graced?
Take this quiz to find out!

1) If you were cornered by an army of the king’s soldiers, would you:
  a) Fight each and every one to the death (not yours, theirs)?
  b) Make a mad dash for it?
  c) Surrender peacefully with your dignity, but trembling inside?
  d) Play dead?

2) Choose your preferred weapon:
  a) your own two hands and brute strength
  b) dagger
  c) bow & arrow
  d) none—you’re a pacifist

3) If you were lost in the woods, would you:
  a) Rely on your keen sense of direction and environmental cues ...

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Reviews

BookBrowse

I lost a night of sleep and a day of work to this book. Usually drawn to decidedly toothier fare, I was ready for a little treat. I was not prepared for an all-encompassing vortex of storytelling that would render all of my other responsibilities utterly unimportant. Both a gripping adventure tale and a moving portrait of a tempestuous, beautifully flawed young woman coming of age, Graceling marks the debut of a truly gifted writer.   (Reviewed by Lucia Silva).

Full Review Members Only (974 words).

Media Reviews
Author Blurb Tamora Pierce.
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!

Publishers Weekly

Starred Review. With this riveting debut, Cashore has set the bar exceedingly high.

VOYA

Intrigue, death, love, a little sex, and pitched battles create a sure winner for mature fantasy fans.

School Library Journal

This is gorgeous storytelling: exciting, stirring, and accessible. Fantasy and romance readers will be thrilled.

Booklist

Starred Review. An impressive first novel, this well crafted and rewarding fantasy will leave readers hoping for more.

Kirkus Reviews

Starred Review. 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.

Reader Reviews
Julia

A Piece of Art
I started this book 2 days ago and I finished it one day ago. This book is amazing. Every word Kristin touches turns into gold. The fantasy in the novel was so well thought out and mind blowing that the book just consumes you into a complete and ...   Read More

Kady

Excellent but not for everyone
Graceling is an engaging tale that is clearly suited to a young teen audience. Thought the premise is certainly different the plot holds few surprises. If you are looking for something exciting and easy to follow this is a wonderful read. I greatly ...   Read More

Ray Ray

Took me by Storm!
This was an amazing book, I just couldn't put it down. I love the setting and the plot....It had me on my toes wanting to know whats going to happen next, there's romance, adventure and a little humor. Everyone needs to read this, you will never put ...   Read More

Alice

A perfectly good plot ruined
Let me first say, the plot for this novel was wonderful. The idea of Graces and Gracelings was intriguing to me. When I started the book, I thought it was alright. Nothing extraordinary, but it was okay. About halfway through, I realized it was ...   Read More

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Beyond the Book

Nanotechnology in medieval times

Though Graceling is certainly set in a magical history, the time period seems distinctly medieval, based on the descriptions of clothing, weapons, buildings, and the general atmosphere. A descriptive passage towards the end of Graceling made me wonder about the science and craft of stained-glass-making in medieval times. Wielding the magical powers of The World Wide Web, I was startled to find news of a recent study that suggests that medieval stained glass windows painted with real gold actually purify the air when sunlight shines through them.

Zhu Huai Yong, along with a group of researchers at Queensland University of Technology's School of Physical and Chemical Sciences, found ...

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