Review: Graceling by Kristin Cashore || I reread you often


Graceling Realm #1

Kristin Cashore

graceling by kristin cashore

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.

She never expects to fall in love with beautiful Prince Po.

She never expects to learn the truth behind her Grace—or the 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. 

Publisher: Harcourt

Published: October 1st 2008



Trigger Warning



Death, Violence, Murder, Ableism towards end

“When you’re a monster, you are thanked and praised for not being a monster.” 

You know I like a book when I go back to it over and over again. It reads as a standalone, it’s has everything I want and it’s so enjoyable?

We’re following Katsa, a character working for the king to take out those who wronged him with her skill to kill people. Except she doesn’t: she’s secretly rebelling against him and sparing them. When a young prince comes to the kingdom looking for his grandfather, she befriends him and starts to wonder is she really the monster she’s been led to believe.

coffee divider 2

“There’s no shame in crawling when one can’t walk.” 

The magic system is really interesting— people are born with a particular skill, leaving them with two toned eyes. It can be something from holding your breath for long periods of times to mind control and I liked seeing the different Graces and how they’re doing in the world.

But other than that, there is a lot of walking in the woods and camping and not much action during the middle of the book, but surprisingly, it didn’t bother me? I liked seeing the world and all, but truly? It was the characters who held the majority of my interest.

coffee divider 2

“When a monster stopped behaving like a monster, did it stop being a monster? Did it become something else?” 

Because I really loved Katsa. I can give you all of the superlatives in the world, but she was so unapologetic in who she was; in the situation she was put in, she managed to still be kind and not descend into darkness.

Yes, she thinks of herself as a monster and nonredeemable, but she was loved and she loved back. She had friends and family, both found and blood. Her character arc was amazing. (If I didn’t make it clear, I love her. A lot).

coffee divider 2

“But you’re better than I am, Katsa. And it doesn’t humiliate me. It humbles me. But it doesn’t humiliate me.” 

graceling fanart.jpg

I had no expectations on the romance… if I’m honest, I kind of didn’t realize that there was going to be one obvlivious much? but I was here for it? Opposites attract and all that, but they really were complimentary to each other while having attributes that they recognized in the other. Po (who is a MOC) was just so understanding and funny and likable and [enter superlative here].

I think my favorite thing about Katsa and their relationship is how true to herself she is and how much Po accepted that. She lays all of her priorities on the table and sticks with them throughout the entire book. She makes it known that she doesn’t wish to marry and kids are not in her future. And I love it. She doesn’t shame people that do: she just realizes that’s not a lifestyle that she wants. And Po doesn’t call it quits or shames her for not wanting those things. It’s great, I love it and I’m here for it.

coffee divider 2

I guess what kept this from being perfect for me is the last quarter of the book. Some pretty major things happened and it all felt so rushed and some aspects felt out of nowhere and I wasn’t feeling it.

There was a slightly ableist trope surrounding a blind character, but the author apologized and made sure to do better for his character in later books. But this was really good— I can definitely say this is one of my favorite Fantasy books ❤ .

10 thoughts on “Review: Graceling by Kristin Cashore || I reread you often”

      1. They are honestly really good! They are more of a matched set…like Graceling can be a standalone, while Fire and Bitterblue have much more “together-ness” as far as characters and plot (mostly new from Graceling, though Katsa does reappear some). I did enjoy them and would recommend them. But Graceling definitely stands out as the best.

        Liked by 1 person

  1. […] And maybe that’s it? My reading experience will never match the first time I opened that book and devoured those words for the first time. Cliched response? Maybe, but that plot twist or character revelation won’t gut punch me like that initial first time. Maybe that’s my subconscious telling me that. Wait, that can’t be right. There have been a few books (not many I assure you) that I have re-read cover to cover looking at you Graceling. […]


  2. So excited to read this one, from the preview I read, Katsa sounds amazing! I respect that the author recognised his mistake and wrongdoing and actively worked on fixing that, it’s a rare thing *cough* *JKR* *cough*

    Liked by 1 person

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s