Monday, 3 March 2014

Review: Graceling (Graceling Realm #1) by Kristin Cashore

Graceling (Graceling Realm #1) by Kristin Cashore
Publisher: Gollancz
Publication Date: January 22nd 2009
My rating: 5 stars


In a world where people born with an exceptional skill, known as a Grace, are both feared and exploited, Katsa carries the burden of a skill even she despises: the Grace of killing. Feared by the court and shunned by those her own age, the darkness of her Grace casts a heavy shadow over Katsa’s life. Yet she remains defiant: when the King of Lienid’s father is kidnapped she investigates, and stumbles across a mystery. Who would want to kidnap the old man, and why? And who was the extraordinary Graced man whose fighting abilities rivalled her own? The only thing Katsa is sure of is that she no longer wants to kill. The intrigue around this kidnapping offers her a way out – but little does she realise, when she takes it, that something insidious and dark lurks behind the mystery. Something spreading from the shadowy figure of a one-eyed king...

If it hadn’t been for a friend on Goodreads giving me the extra encouragement to give Graceling a try, I’m sure that I wouldn’t have picked up this wonderful series for some time. Despite me only have read a few fantasy books (I could probably tick them off on one hand) I have to say Graceling is a brilliant example of exactly how a fantasy novel should be done. Now I’m no expert on this, but Cashore creates a wonderful world, that’s truly believable, but doesn’t once overwhelm you with the detail. I admit I struggled a bit with some of the characters and their names in the beginning, but once I got into my stride there was nothing more that I wanted to do than devour this book right up. 

Katsa was a character who I immediately liked, despite having the horrible job of dealing with her uncle Randa’s shoddy jobs; individuals who were over stepping the line, trying to wrangle out a promise they had made, it was easy to see very early on that Katsa was not a malicious person. Yes she undertook several horrid missions, but it was only because she had to, you could see that her heart was not in it. And so her accidental encounter with Po was exactly what she needed.

Po where do I even start with him? he was a person who was so hard not to love, his early encounters he had with Katsa were just the best. He was definitely the sort of person Katsa needed to bring out the person she wanted to be with all along, but also he helped her to keep her Grace in check. There were a few stumbling with these characters along the way, through miscommunication, but I felt were necessary in bringing these two incredible characters together on their journey. And what a journey it was, I went into Graceling with no real knowledge about what this story could be about and was thoroughly thrilled and surprised with what I was given. There was just so much Cashore managed to pack into this book; there was secrets, danger, adventure and it was so dark, with the depths that some individuals would go to achieve their end goals, but I loved every second. 

Cashore’s world building was one of the best that I had seen in a long time, the different plots and journey that Cashore took us on were ingenious. It’s been a long time since I’ve been so consumed by such brilliant characters, so much that my feelings were definitely put through a shredder in this book. I was easily riled up on many occasions that I wanted to vent my frustration and rage and at other points my heart was thoroughly crushed. But with the so-so books that I had been reading lately, I welcomed all the feelings that this gorgeous story evoked. Graceling was a majestic story; I know my review won’t give it the justice it deserves, as my brain still seems to be overwhelmed by what I’ve read. But if like me you had been putting this story off for so long, I suggest picking it up straight away. I for one can’t wait to dive into the next two books.



22 comments:

  1. Eeep! So happy to see that you gave Graceling a go and LOVED it! I listened to this as an audiobook and it was a pretty awesome experience. I am in complete agreement, this author rules at world building.

    Fabulous review, Jasprit! <33

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  2. WHOA!!! 5 stars? YAY. I guess it's a good thing I got an ecopy recently :D So happy that this vivid world suited for you. I've only heard amazing things about the world-building. Ha, so so so happy that Katsa and Po managed to be to your liking as well. The feels, YAYYY!!! I can't wait to read this adventure:) Such a gorgeous review, my love!

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  3. I LOVED PO, TOO! <3 Katsa was a great lead. And the world building was just ASDFGHJKL exquisite. Lovely review, Jasprit!

    Aimee @ Read by the Undead

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  4. I'm so glad you enjoyed this, Jasprit. I loved this book too, especially the characters and the world-building. Katsa was a wonderful protagonist!
    I still haven't finished the series though and I think I will over the summer.
    Great review, Jasprit!

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  5. I really want more YA fantasy like this. Cashore is an amazing writer and this world that she created is beyond awesome! Loved Po, loved Katsa, want more!

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  6. Good to hear you gave it a chance and liked it. I loved the world building too and Katsa's character

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  7. Graceling, my love. <3 I'm so glad that you finally decided to read it, hih :D I need everyone to read this book. It was just so perfect, wasn't it? Sigh. I really hope you will love the next two books as well :D I did. <3 So much. Amazing review sweetie :)

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  8. II really need to give this series a go. I know it is hit or miss with a lot of people but I love gorgeous story telling and soudn world buildling. I am moving it up in the old TBR>

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  9. Oh, I'm SO glad you loved this, Jasprit! GRACELING is one of my all-time favourites from when I first started my blog, and it's remained at the top of my list ever since! Lovely review, girl!

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  10. I looove this novel, so I am thrilled you enjoyed it Jasprit! Katsa and Po are both such wonderful characters in their own right, but thrown together they are absolutely fantastic. I loved the rocky arc of their relationship, both due to its swoon factor and due to its complexity. FIRE, the sequel to this, is a prequel and I enjoyed it even more than this one, so I can't wait to read your thoughts on it. Fantastic review, dear! :)

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  11. Pooooooooooo. <3 <3 <3 Kaaaatsa. <3 <3 I'm so happy you loved this, Jasprit! It took me forever to get around to reading it as well, but it was a gorgeous book. Very curious what you'll think of the sequels...I'll be on the lookout. ;)

    Wendy @ The Midnight Garden

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  12. I have resisted this series for so long but after seeing so many positive reviews and reading a great interview or article on the author, I decided to get the first book, but I still have not read it!

    I'm so glad I can add you to my list of people who loved it, I'm sure I will, too. Now I'm looking forward to meeting Po ;)

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  13. This is my favorite fantasy to date!! Not only was the world so elaborate and well defined, the characters were unique and outstanding as well. I'm so glad that you loved this book as well! I haven't read the companions (Fire and Bitterblue) yet, but I have no doubt that they will be great as well. Amazing review, Jasprit! One more thing: Po was the best! <3 <3 <3

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  14. I'm so happy that you enjoyed this book immensely too, Jasprit! <3 Po is a really a hero to adore. He's gentle yet strong. Awwww. <3 Katsa is an awesome heroine as well, and I just love the world. It feels very realistic. :)

    Fabulous review, Jasprit! Don't worry, your review really does this book a justice! ;)

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  15. I was thrilled to pick this up on Amazon's monthly deal a couple of weeks ago and especially excited to read it now after your review! Sounds like wonderful Fantasy! Lovely review Jasprit

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  16. I loved this one too when I read it, Jasprit. Katsa's and Po's relationship was so endearing to read (although Katsa did some questionable things sometimes), and I liked how they were comfortable with just what they are... no labels, no anything... they like each other and they like each other's company and that's it.

    I wonder what you'll think of the rest of the series? :D

    Faye @ The Social Potato

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  17. that's great you really loved this one. I've heard good things. I definitely need to check this one out at some point...I don't know of many fantasy novels I HAVE read.

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  18. You have no idea how happy I'm that you've enjoyed this one. It's been a while since I have read it and I did have some issues with the main characters. But nevertheless I'm still planing on continuing this series someday as everyone say it gets better and better. Great review, Jasprit :)

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  19. YAYYY!!! I'm so glad you loved this! Are you planning on reading the others? I will warn you that they are all very different and read more like companions than a series, but I really loved all three books. But I'm so excited that you liked this and I hope you get to read loads more awesome fantasy novels! (Have you read any Tamora Pierce?)

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  20. I have this book lying on my shelf and I'm so ashamed to admit that I haven't gotten to it yet. But reading your fabulous review is making me want to pick it up soon. Thanks for sharing Jasprit! :)

    Janhvi @ The Readdicts

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  21. I'm just over here, twirling and dancing away at your review. I don't really have much to say except that I'm still so happy that we both had a success in this book. *high fives*

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  22. This wasn't one of my favorites, but I have to agree with you about world building and I loved Po too.
    Great review, Jasprit.

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