Featuring FCA favorite Chelsea Mixon as Katsa, and sensational newcomer Zachary Exton as Prince Po, the most fascinating and praised fantasy debut of 2008 now springs to life in a sensational full-cast recording.
©2008 Kristin Cashore; (P)2009 Full Cast Audio
I loved this book both in print and in audio. It is exciting, fast paced and has an awesome storyline filled with both adventure and some romance.
This is the first time I have listened to a full cast audio production and wasn't sure I would like it but it was excellent. I was surprised though that the narrator was a male voice given it is about a female protagonist.
Katsa is a strong heroine who because of her grace can hold her own in any situation. No she does not want to get married for the reasoning that in her society the men expect their wives to be the traditional housewife taking care of the kids, entertaining guests and serving their husbands. This is not what she wants for her life and there is nothing wrong with that - not everyone needs to marry and bear children to be fulfilled in their life (btw I am married with 3 kids).
Yes there is one pre-marital sex scene in this book where she loses her virginity - it is NOT graphic and is 3 paragraphs long. The second sex scene in the epilogue that has been referred to is non-existent as the sex is inferred and not described in detail. I would have no problem letting my teenage daughter read this novel.
Kristin Cashore has released a second book called Fire which is just as excellent - it is a companion book to Graceling - ie about the same "world" but there is only one character that is in both books and that is Leck so both books are standalone. I am very much looking forward to her third book Bitterblue hopefully coming out in the next year or two.
I got this book because of the VERY mixed reviews.
First I believe that no book should be banned for any reason.
That said some books are not appropriate for all readers.
To the people that got hung up about the "sex" scene.
The characters in this book are ADULTS. And Katsa is an assassin!!!! She has the emotion of what she is. Death on two legs.
Poe is the First person to show her any feelings at all.
To those again that went on and on about the sex scene YOU ruined a very good book for me, I kept saying "so when is this going to happen?" And it must be graphic and I really was afraid it would be, the way some had it sound, it would be pornographic. It was not. When it did happen it was in very good taste and wright for the time.
The book is PREFORMED like a play with many actors. Some may not like this, I do. It was well written and well preformed, and the story is very good.
It should not be shocking to have a strong female lead as most of the rubbish on TV is so poorly done.
I recommend Garth Nix"'s Sabriel for more of the same.
First a disclaimer - This review is actually written by James' wife.
Now, down to business! I love this book! I liked Katsa, Po, Raffin and the rest, liked the readers for all of the parts, too, which I haven't often found to be the case. I'm really looking forward to "Fire" which may tell about where King Lec came from, and "Bitterblue" and I really hope they will also use the full cast audio crew who did such an excellent job on this book.
I'm on my 4th "read" and I don't think it will ever get old for me. Buy it and enjoy!
I really enjoyed this book, but the audio did take me a bit to get used to. I am not used to listening to the full cast audio books, usually just one reader. But everyone was pretty good. But I could have done without the music that was periodically inserted. I think that it was supposed to be creating suspense, but most of the time it just made me laugh.
Tell us about yourself!
If youre looking for a no-nonsense heroine who can handle her own then this is the book for you. Its exciting, funny, and romantic, though there is no damsel-in-distress waiting to get married and have babies in this book. Katsa is both strong willed and minded and a fresh alternative to the heroines desperately pining away in other YA novels. The full cast audio was weird at first, but now I prefer it. I think this is Cashore's best work to date, Fire has been a bit of a chore to get through in comparison.
Sci-fi/fantasy junkie, storyteller, devourer of books, workaholic
Liked it for the most part. It was definitely nice to read a good ole high fantasy, with medieval swords and fast horses and even a touch of magic, starring a strong young woman who doesn't need to be swept off her feet or rescued. The first third or so of the book was very promising, with royal intrigue and high-stakes dilemma. But I feel like the story didn't live up to its potential. The world didn't interest me that much; it's a pretty cut-and-dry renaissance-style kingdom, with no clear magic system to define the Graces. Also didn't like how super-powered Katsa and Po were... their super-Graces made things a little too easy for them, so despite the danger they were supposed to be in, I never bought the tension (because it's demonstrated over and over that Katsa is UNBEATABLE and so I know she'll win, thereby killing any suspense). And, of course, there were the Endless Walking Scenes, where the plot just comes to a standstill as the characters march through the woods for ages and ages and ages. Oh, and because I was listening to an audiobook, writing foibles I might have glanced over on the page became glaringly obvious (the most irritating of which was how Po couldn't stop saying Katsa's name, and how repetitive Cashore's writing gets... she repeats words within the same sentence!).
One last issue: The royal intrigue set up by the first third fell flat on its face, with solutions and answers coming far too easily. And I feel like an opportunity to explore the villain's motivations was squandered and written off, even though the question of what he wanted was what kept me hooked initially (I was very disappointed by how quickly his plotline ended).
That being said, I did like the book overall. Most of my quibbles are pet peeves, and what I liked about the story is harder to define than a handful of nitpicky complaints. Katsa is a kick-ass heroine who defies expectations and won't take crap from anyone, which is great to see in a genre too often populated by wilting damsels or cartoonish witches and whores (when they're present at all). I do wish her character had a little more dimension, but she's an enjoyable character to follow. I liked Po and Raffin a lot (I was so bummed that he wasn't in it more!), though my favorite character, Captain Faun, only had about 3 scenes (she rocked those scenes!).
I was listening to the full cast audio version, which had different voice actors for the dialogue, and they were all excellent. Especially Raffin and Po (maybe that's why I liked their characters so much!). The musical cues were an interesting touch, giving the book an old radio drama type of feel. And the narrator did an excellent job of bringing the words to life (even when Cashore was needlessly repeating them).
Wonderful reader, well written and very exciting story. Not my usual genre, but I loved this story. Funny, sassy heroine and well written hero.
This one was disappointing This book is like putting water to boil, the water getting warm but never boiling to hot. the all cast narration was okay, it didn't make this slightly dull story exciting.
We start with super assassin Katsa, her King/Uncle's enforcer and she is a take no prisoner heroine. Her cruel uncle used her to mete out his harsh & cruel edicts and Katsa couldn't take it anymore. She quietly rebelled against his assignments to her.
Among one of her mercy missions, she ran into one of the province prince Poband his story changed her subtle rebellion. She openly defied her uncle and left his service to assist Prince Po in rescuing his grandfather as well as huniting the King who planned to kill Po because of Po's gifts--called a Grace.
Their journey seemed to be building to an epic confrontation between the young Prince and the King, but it was a flop for me.
Katsa and Po felt like a romance between 10 year olds, juvenile and kind of cute, but seriously nothing to write home about. This story never really took flight, it just taxied around the runway for 12 hours, but I am not ready to give up on the series because there is potential for this to be more. I will try book 2 later
I've only listened to a handful, so this would probably rank as 3/5.
My favorite character was Bitterblue, the little princess with moxie. She was such a little trooper! I wanted to like the main character Katsa, but she was almost obnoxiously obstinate and naive at times.
I liked that the narrator would do different voices for the different characters.
If you had the power to kill with your bare hands, what would you do?
I only wish that this book wasn't as predictable as it was. I pretty much could figure out what would happen, even though it was treated as some big twist. Sigh. Still, it was entertaining and fun. A good read/listen regardless!
I really enjoyed all of the different narrators for many of the characters. This really made listening to the story that much more enjoyable because the voices were different and fit the characters, rather than having only one narrator change their voice for each character. The narration for this story actually makes me rate my listening experience as the best audiobook I've ever listened to!
The story was so much fun to listen to and had me at the edge of my seat and falling in love with the characters almost instantaniously.
I might compare Graceling to the Hunger Games, just because it takes place in a completely fictional world and the characters are so well written, that they become long lost friends. The main character is also a strong and independent heroine, which I always love.
'Graceling' is an excellent book - imaginative and fresh. In all, the best kind of fantasy novel, with a rich new world to explore...and i can't wait for the third one in the series.
This audiobook should have stayed on the same path and kept it simple - i can cope with a multiple voice reading and have introductory music by all means, then LEAVE IT ALONE.
Instead, we have a very annoying and repetitive musical narrative that intrudes, practically every time the story takes a breath, instead of leading unobtrusively, before fading quickly and delicately away. The heavy handed musical clout we have laid on us is something else again. In CD form, you might have a chance to edit this annoyance but it may be like that hideously annoying voice that tells you to change the disc. Luckily most companies have stopped doing this but now we need to campaign to have the music in-between chapters deleted as well! It is SO ANNOYING as it impairs the flow of the story and this is one that i love.
If you can handle that, do please buy this.
"A Perfect Introduction to the Audible Titles"
As you may have guessed from the title, this was my first purchase on Audible. Graceling had appealed to me to a while, but I don't have enough time to read in my life right now, so was thrilled to find this title here when I joined.
I loved the story itself. The plot was set out brilliantly, and the pace at which it progressed was beautiful. You started out getting to know Katsa and what her unique upbringing has done to her, but then the crises introduced into her life flowed together so fluidly that you feel her life overwhelming you too. Kristin Cashore is truly a brilliant writer. Personally, I felt the love scenes were only put in there for the necessity of the story (you do want Katsa to open her heart, but you knew exactly how and when it was going to happen anyway), but part of that is as a result of my own cynical attitude.
As for the quality of the reading, I was very happy. The narrator did his job well and the cast were all clearly very good voice actors. In fact, after this experience, I couldn't imagine returning to written books even if I gained enough time to fit it in.
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