Review – Graceling by Kristin Cashore

Title Graceling
Author Kristin Cashore
Release Date October 1, 2008
Date Finished January 14, 2021


Kristin Cashore’s bestselling, 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.

Initial Thoughts

This was reread for me. I read this book over ten years ago but I needed a refresher before reading Winterkeep. I was super excited to dive back into this world.

Some Things I Liked

  • The magic and world building. I loved the idea of the Graces and the way they manifested. I also thought the complex political issues as well as the way Gracelings were isolated was really well done and made for a super rich world.
  • The romance. Katsa and Po are my favorites. I loved the way their friendship formed and changed into love. I hope to see more of them in Winterkeep.
  • YA that leans more toward NA / adult. There are some dark themes in this story and I think my younger self missed them when I read it the first time. I loved that during the reread, I was able to pick up so much more and take away new things from this story. If you’re looking for a series with more than just YA value, definitely try this series.

Series Value

I love this series. I remember exactly why I loved it the first time. I can’t wait to keep reading. One thing I will note is some of the themes were more NA / Adult than I remember. I read this book when I was about 17 so I think a lot of those themes went over my head.

Final Thoughts

I did this reread as an audiobook and I just loved the ensemble cast. If you are looking to reread this series or read it for the first time and enjoy audiobooks, definitely look into the audiobook.


Recommendations for Further Reading

  • Fire by Kristin Cashore – although Fire is a companion novel and not a direct sequel, it’s definitely worth a read. Kristin Cashore added so much richness to the Graceling world with Fire.
  • Falling Kingdoms by Morgan Rhodes – if you enjoyed the idea of a darker / more NA fantasy world, try this series by Morgan Rhodes.

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