Elegance and Adventure: A Review of GRACELING by Kristin Cashore

Graceling (Graceling Realm, #1) 
Kristin Cashore
472 pages
Publisher: Harcourt
Release Date: October 1st, 2008
Source: Gifted
Rating: LOVED

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. When she first meets Prince Po, 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 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.

   Graceling was one of the very first young-adult novels I read. Up until then, I pretty much had no idea there was an age-group between childrens fiction and adult fiction. Long story short, a reread of Graceling was long overdue. I plowed through the pages, reading whenever I had a spare moment.

   Kristin Cashore is a master storyteller. Her prose is nothing short of pure elegance, and the world is nothing short of clarity. The world she weaves with twenty-six letters is phenomenal. The characters live in a medieval-esque fantasy world where Graces define who you are… and who you aren’t. Being born with a Grace can mean disgrace is some kingdoms, and nothing at all in another.

   Katsa, the main character, is Graced with killing. She knows countless ways to kill a man, armed or not. Seeing Katsa’s journey to humanity, for lack of a better word, was yet another aspect Cashore excelled at. The story was more than an action-filled adventure, it was a journey we experienced through Katsa’s mind and heart as well.

   There isn’t much to say about Graceling. It was good. Unbelievably good. I rarely reread novels. In fact, Graceling was the only novel I reread. And something tells me, I might read it again. The beautiful words, dynamic characters, and unpredictable plot will captivate you no matter how many times you read it.

Add GRACELING to Goodreads 


Hafsah Faizal is a YA author, designer, and blogger. Her designs have graced the sites of New York Times bestselling authors, bloggers, and more. She resides in Texas, with her family.



  1. Reply

    Book Monster

    May 28, 2012

    I have yet to read this novel. However I have it on my tbr pile. So many people love this author and this book. I have heard nothing but good things about it.

    Great Review

    Maura @ Monster of Books

  2. Reply


    May 28, 2012

    I finally got around to reading Graceling (well, I listened to it on audio) and I wrote my review for it last week but I had SUCH a hard time doing it! It's one of those few that's hard to find words for <3 and I loved it so much that I read Fire right away! Now I'm just hoping to find time for Bitterblue :) I can't believe I waited this long to read it. And wow, this one must be special to you if it's the only one you reread :)

    Lovely review, Hafsah!

    Brenna from Esther's Ever After

  3. Reply

    Linda: Book Ninja

    May 28, 2012

    Yay! This was one of my first too! Graveling was part of the reason I got so obsessed with YA. <3

    Aah! So cool that this is a reread novel for you. Kristin Cashore has got all the makings of a great book down pat. Thank you for the awesome review!

  4. Reply

    Michelle @ Book Briefs

    May 28, 2012

    I have heard such great things about this series, and Im really excited that you think the writing is so great. Writing is what makes the biggest difference between a good book and a great book. I will have to pick up a copy of this book and start reading this series!

    Thanks for the great review :)

  5. Reply

    Jenea Whittington

    May 28, 2012

    Graceling is full of imagination and definitely kept me interested. Fire is good too. Great review.

    Books Live Forever

  6. Reply

    Shauna Buck

    May 28, 2012

    I just finished this last week and thought it was great!!! I so loved it and was very excited to know the next one was already out!!

  7. Reply

    Sierra Abrams

    May 28, 2012

    I have been so unsure of Graceling for a while. Thank you for your rave review! I now plan on reading it! ;) I love stories that make people read them again and again, and if this was a book for you, then I definitely need to give it a go! :D

    Sierra @ Yearning to Read

  8. Reply


    May 29, 2012

    I loved this book so much, and it's totally worth rereading over and over again! I'm surprised that you don't reread books at all, though, Hafsah! I don't do it often, but sometimes I need to in order to remember everything before I read a sequel. Plus, for my favorite books, I like to reread just to be in the world again. Lovely review! =)

    -Aneeqah @ My Not So Real Life

  9. Reply

    Ashley @ Book Labyrinth

    May 29, 2012

    I still need to re-read this one before reading Bitterblue, and I'm almost putting it off because I loved it so much the first time I'm afraid it won't live up to my expectations. I'm glad it did for you! It makes me feel like I won't be disappointed with my re-read.

  10. Reply


    August 4, 2012

    I absolutely loved this one too!!! Something about the world that Cashore created is just so unique. I didn't think it could get better after Graceling but I enjoyed Fire even more!

  11. Reply

    Alyssa Susanna

    August 6, 2012

    This book is easily one of my favorite books of all time. I read this one first, and then FIRE. I love FIRE even more than this one. I don't know how that's possible lol. Kristin Cashore is a literary genius! I own Bitterblue, but haven't read/started it yet. *Sighs* No time anymore. Thanks for the review!!!!

    Alyssa Susanna

  12. Reply


    September 25, 2012

    why haveenti heard of this book before now i soo wanan read it ty for the review i will be asking the lib for it asap

  13. Reply


    October 9, 2012

    I loved the book too,I just thought she was good with the child and that maybe she realized, since she's grown, that she could have children.

  14. Reply


    October 14, 2012

    I love this book! I have read the others in the series too. Now if I could just get my hands on Bitterblue I would be very happy!

  15. Reply


    October 15, 2012

    I totally agree with you! I just finished Graceling and I cant believe I didnt pick this book up sooner! :( I really loved Katsa's and Po love! I honestly hope to have a relationship like theirs with my significant other!

  16. Reply


    October 30, 2012

    how lucky you are to have GRACELING as your first YA novel :)
    I especially love Cashore's prose, too. And I'm re-reading it at the moment (to prepare for finally reading BITTERBLUE).

  17. Reply

    Aimee Nelson

    November 4, 2012

    I havent had the chance to read this book yet but I've heard nothing but good things about it! The fact the you said you reread this book says alot about it! I usually only give 5 stars to a book that I would want to reread!! Thanks for the review and hopefully I will get to read this soon!

  18. Reply


    December 2, 2012

    My friend won this book on a contest only weeks back and I've been nagging her to let me borrow it! After reading your review, I'm going to nag here some more! :P