In a world where people born with an exceptional skill, known as a Grace, are feared and exploited, Katsa carries the burden of a skill even she despises: the Grace of killing. She lives under the command of her Uncle Randa, King of the Middluns, and is expected to carry out his dirty work, punnishing and torturing anyone who displeases him. Breaking arms and cutting off fingers are her stock-in-trade. Finding life under his rule increasingly unbearable Katsa forms an underground Council, whose purpose is to combat the destructive behaviour of the seven kings - after all, the Middluns is only one of the Seven Kingdoms, each of them ruled by their own king and his personal agenda for power.When the Council hears that the King of Liend's father has been kidnapped Katsa investigates . . . and stumbles across a mystery. Who would want to kidnap him, and why? And who was the extraordinary Graced fighter who challenged her fighting skills, for the first time, as she and the Council rushed the old man to saftey? Something dark and deadly is rising in the north and creeping across the continent, and behind it all lurks the shadowy figure of a one-eyed king.
©2009 Kristin Cashore (P)2012 Orion Publishing Group
Yes, though during the action scenes I was desperate to ensure the survival of key people, the audio version made sure I savoured the writing, the emotions and the subtle power shifts
It is in the league of the great series: Eragon, The Hunger Games, The Lynburn Legacy, Lunar Chronicles, The Mortal Instruments. It has the folklore feeling of Eragon and Lynburn, the war of The Hunger Games, the cheekiness of the Instruments and the creative setting of Lunar
Only the subsequent novels to this one, she is fab in all 3
When the two main characters come to together on the right side, and trust each, it's a pivotal moment
Loved it and the next two books, hungry for the fourth!
The reader has a voice that is easy to listen to, and I wouldnt be surprised if she is a voice actor, her characters are that good.
Unusual premise - what would a fantasy world with super heroes look like? A bit like X-men in Lord of the Rings perhaps. You never fear for the protagonist in an out and out fight, she's unbeatable. But she is vulnerable in other ways, and her super power - her grace - is not as straight forward as you might think.
While primarily a fantasy story, there is a romantic story in here, as well as a story of a woman who grows in the telling.
I found myself listening to the story in bed at night, not just in my car like I usually do with other audio books. Thats usually the sign of a book I'm really enjoying.
Graceling is a modern throwback to the fantasy books of the 1980s and 1990s - a straightforward story, relatively low key romance, and complete lack of over the top heroines and too-modern-sounding teens. But at the same time, some of the more frustrating YA staples are here: adults are evil and the guys all have a case of insta-love on our heroine. But it is decently enough written to keep me entertained with the Audible version.
Katsa is a graceling - blessed with an ability (in her case, ability to kill easily) that marks her as different. Her uncle, the king, uses her as his personal enforcer, sending her out to hurt those who displease him. On one such trip, Katsa encounters a young man, a prince from a neighboring country, and after that, their fates will be entwined as she must learn to use her abilities compassionately and not as her Uncle's thug. But he has a secret grace and she will be drawn into politics of the world on a grand scale.
This is a stand alone though there are two other books in this same world (one a prequel of sorts and the other a sequel but both with different characters). I did feel the book floats around quite a bit and lacks a good solid structure. As well, it can get tiring hearing Katsa echo the same thoughts over and over. Yes, we get the idea you don't want to marry. No, we don't need all the guys falling all over you even though you're supposedly deadly. And yes, we have a hero who is once again just a bit too good to be true.
I would probably rate this around 3.5 stars. It's nice to see a return to more traditional fantasy (rather than the ubiquitous YA urban fantasy) but at the same time, I wish the characters were a bit more distinct and multilayered.
Its too clean and simple. its a bit like cooking pasta - anyone can dish it up....
This is written for young adults so it is a bit faster paced then some fantasy which I like. The author paints a vivid, belivable world and has strong, sympathetic characters. I have previously read the book so knew the storyline and I think it was becaue of this I found the narrator a bit dificult to listen to at first as her voice was nothing like I had imagened any of the characters. Once I got used to her however I enjoyed her portrayal of the characters. Good listen. I recommend it if you enjoy this genre.
"It's in my top ten!"
I loved this book, the concept of grifted individuals. Villains, love, deceit, loss. It's all in there. The strong female lead is enjoyable and not too far fetched. Couldn't put this one down from the moment I began listening. You'll be in for a treat, though have a back up because you finish it in no time!
"All rather boring"
Well it all starts out fine and dandy, we have a sexy ninja assassin sneaking around, not actually killing any one mind, and someone being rescued from a dungeon then a bit more fighting, but still no actual death, then escape into the night and a bit of back story.
The back story is interesting, some one gets killed and our killer ninja girl turns out to be a bit of a tom boy type lass with anger management issues. Who has set up a special secret club of do gooders that everyone in the known world seems to know about, apart from the king obviously.
And then it all starts to go down hill, We have some love interest turn up at the castle, who must have been traveling a long way for a very long time as his accent changes from Welsh, to India, via Italy, Namibia and Cairo. He turns out to have deep dark special power that only our sexy ninja thug fails to spot about 4 miles off.
the Ninja lass and the heart throb do a bit of fighting, where his shoulder gets hurt and she works on her anger management issues and total dislike of the king - then shes all like OMG the bloke really likes me and want to be my BFF or something and this new hunk who i beat up all the time is quite dishy and OMG again i hate the king for making me do nasty things. I must save the poor oppressed and stuff.
Then our sexy ninja turns into some sort of hired thug with a heart who randomly has a change of heart and decides shes not going to go around breaking arms anymore and goes home to tell the king.
Which is all set up nicely for a bit of the old claret and torn limbs as the evil king gets a good kicking for being such a bad man.
But it doesn't happen there's just a bunch of teenage girl moping around and "I hate you for not telling me your deep dark power that all and sundry knew about apart from me boo hooo" then a face off with the king a bit more moping and shes off with the Welch/Italian/Egyptian hunk to find out "the truth of it all" and i gave up at that point. It's turgid
"Delightful performance and magical story"
The Story: This is a 'typical' fantasy novel in that it takes places in another land, and our hero (heroine) finds herself with a quest and consequently a journey. However, don't be misled, while you have the 'standard' elements, I really like how this author has put the together. I was initially unsure of the heroine - Katsa, in the beginning, is not someone who I wanted to like. But as the story progresses, we see that she didn't really have much choice, and she does change. I also really like the 'fantasy' aspect. In this world, some people are born with a Grace - it may be that they are graced in sword fighting, or archery, or sewing, or, as Katsa is, killing. I really liked the concept of Graces, and how it played out in the story.The Performance: I've completely fallen in love with Emma Powell! I did not know that audio artists could be just *that* awesome! I "save" audiobooks for longer car journeys where I need something to get me through thr tedium - I've found myself a lot more keen to drive recently! Emma's voice is never intrusive to the story, I have no trouble immersing myself in the story, the way I would if I were reading it. Also, I have no idea how she does it, but her voice is very, very subtly different for each of the characters, but it never sounds 'fake' or 'put on'. I'm so gad that she's read the rest of this series, but devastated to see that her other reads look like stories I wouldn't be interested in.Overall: Both a story and a reader that I fell in love with.
The heroine character is strong and independent. I was fed up with those characters who always were depending on their male friends. Katsa is able to protect herself as well as the other humanbeing whom she cares.
Only one part I couldn't agree with the writer's style is where the author made Katsa realise she noticed Po. Unlike her rest of writing, this part sounded like she gave it to a student to write.
Apart from that, I loved this book.
When Katsa takes Bitterblue through the mountain.
Clear voice and distinguishable characters.
"Not what I consider Epic Fantasy"
Although I didn’t enjoy this book – it doesn’t mean it is terrible – it just needs the right audience.
Story – 2/5
Graceling is not epic fantasy as audible has classified it. It is more of a romance novel set within fantasy plot/world. I don’t mind romance – in fact I quite like it; but I would rather it be used as a tool to enhance character driven fantasy (like how it is used by Patrick Rothfuss), or be used as part of a deeper plot.
The romance element and how it develops and effects the two main characters is about 40-50% of the novel (mostly in the first half as well). If you like other romantic fantasy like Twilight, I think this will be right up your street. Although it was a reasonable romance, it was just way too much for me personally to enjoy the novel.
The 2nd half of the book gets better but it’s still not great. None of the characters besides the romantic couple have any depth; being very one-dimensional, including the villain. The plot is relatively weak for the genre because not enough time has been spent building it up, and I feel this was a waste of a good, if somewhat derivative, concept.
The prose is also very simple, which can be an asset sometimes, but in my opinion made this story quite bland at times. I also believe some aspects of detail weren’t very well thought through.
Performance – 3.5/5
Emma Powell was a good narrator; not brilliant, but not bad. The story is read slowly, but not unbearably so. I think she could have sped up the reading during the actions scenes more to create more excitement, but was fine.
Usually with a female lead, it is natural to have a female narrator, but I have a personal issue when it comes to doing male voices. EP created all her characters as distinct and recognisable, but sometimes they can be a bit too high and soft to represent some male characters, like kings and warriors, properly. Not a huge issue, just a personal thing for me; I prefer male narrators doing female voices personally. EP did put a lot of effort into acting out crying etc, and did a great job of that aspect.
Overall – 2.5/5
The characters came alive, and the story was very well written.
Can't say without giving spoilers.
While I don't think she brought anything to the story that I wouldn't have experienced by reading it myself, I enjoyed her performance.
"If you like this sort of thing..."
Everything. Thought I'd try something different. Not my cup of tea
Can think of one. Bluebell... Bitterbell... Bitter Blue... whatever her name was
If you like this sort of thing I'm sure you'd enjoy it. Not my usual genre so I didn't enjoy and struggled to listen to it let alone finish it. Kept hoping it would get better but always lost interest. It felt like a chore.
"A thrilling and exciting narative"
So cliched, but everything!
Po, he's so, delicious in every way! the way his character develops in the later books too just endears him to me.
Her understanding of the emphasis needed at certain points, the "acting" is just beautiful. It's almost as if she exists in the book and is calling you in.
I laughed, I cried, I clapped I even got angry in points! There be deep waters that flow!
I've now read the full series and am absolutely gagging for the next, if there's a next. If there isn't please can we chivvy up the author!The whole series leads into each other perfectly, but each can be read independently if you chose to. The descriptions, the world you are transported into, the emotional responses to all the highs and lows, the sub text in the chapters. The whole story line pulls together into something that defines exactly why I read Sci Fi. It's a complete escape and while there's obviously fantasy aspects, it's believable! If you're looking at the title and thinking about, don't hesitate. If you don't read scifi normally, here's a perfect starter!
"New concept, well written"
It's a great story with something new in the Fantasy genre. The concept of being graced with... well... grace and stuff is novel.
The characters are well portrayed with scope and depth. It has a happy ending but not so saccherine that you die of Type 1 Diabetes.
It's worth a listen. This is, IMO, firmly YA.
"A Great First Book"
A great blend of adventure, mystery and romance (recommended for fans of Rae Carson) that kept me glued to the page. Katsa is a strong, complicated heroine and her relationship with Po was far from ordinary or adolescent.
I was impressed by the fact that Cashore didn’t go for the most obvious plot twists.
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