Thursday, December 23, 2010

Graceling by Kristin Cashore

Audio edition published: June 2009
Publisher: Full Cast Audio
Copy provided by: Library and Overdrive
Summary: Goodreads

Graceling takes readers inside the world of Katsa, a warrior-girl in her late teens with one blue eye and one green eye. This gives her haunting beauty, but also marks her as a Graceling. Gracelings are beings with special talents—swimming, storytelling, dancing. Katsa's Grace is considered more useful: her ability to fight (and kill, if she wanted to) is unequaled in the seven kingdoms. Forced to act as a henchman for a manipulative king, Katsa channels her guilt by forming a secret council of like-minded citizens who carry out secret missions to promote justice over cruelty and abuses of power.

Combining elements of fantasy and romance, Cashore skillfully portrays the confusion, discovery, and angst that smart, strong-willed girls experience as they creep toward adulthood. Katsa wrestles with questions of freedom, truth, and knowing when to rely on a friend for help. This is no small task for an angry girl who had eschewed friendships (with the exception of one cousin that she trusts) for her more ready skills of self-reliance, hunting, and fighting. Katsa also comes to know the real power of her Grace and the nature of Graces in general: they are not always what they appear to be.

Graceling is the first book in a series, and Kristin Cashore’s first work of fiction. It sets up a vivid world with engaging characters that readers will certainly look forward to following beyond the last chapter of this book. (Ages 14 and up)

Ok, here I go again, waxing lyrical about audio books. This was no exception. I have to admit I had already read Graceling in early 2009 and I absolutely loved it. So I was wondering what to listen to the other week and I noticed 'Graceling' was available on Overdrive. I know some of you will wonder why I bother listening to something I have already read, but it is a completely different experience listening to it.

Anyway, this version of the story was first class. The story was narrated by David Baker, but the voices of all the different characters are read by different people. What fun! None of the voices seemed wrong to me and this was a bonus.

The story itself is one that I enjoyed very much. Katsa is justifiably angry after the way she has been taken advantage of for years and she has a hard time relating to and trusting people. Prince Po was incredibly patient with her and while occasionally I wanted to slap them both, for being so self sacrificing, their relationship worked well for me. There is lots of careening about the countryside, rescues, fights and hardships, but the whole story worked for me. There is some sexual content, so if you are a younger teen - maybe not - but it is handled very nicely and is not crude in any way. I suggest 14 and up. (which I now notice is what the publisher recommends, duh! Honestly I didn't see it.)

All in all, another great book to listen to, so if I have convinced any of you to try audio books, here's another one to add to your list.


  1. I enjoyed this book although I wasn't fond of Katsa's decision in the end - I'm too much of a traditional romantic.
    What is your favorite audio book?

  2. So far Alison, I'd have to say Beautiful Creatures, I really, really enjoyed that one - closely followed by Will Grayson, Will Grayson. Another of my favourites is a really old title by Nevil Shute, called 'A Town called Alice'. What's interesting is if I read the book first, I'll listen to it later, but if I listen to it first, I rarely go back and read it. Not sure why.