Wednesday, January 15, 2020

Book Club: Review of Graceling

Book cover of Graceling

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Sometimes I go to the library and wander along the Young Adult aisles to find a new series to read. Partly because they are easier books to read quickly and partly because I like to know what is readily available for teens to read. I picked up Graceling, a debut novel from Kristen Cashore, that was published in 2008.

"In a world where some people are born with extreme and often-feared skills called Graces, Katsa struggles for redemption from her own horrifying Grace, the Grace of killing, and teams up with another young fighter to save their land from a corrupt king."

Fantasy Novel Set in the Seven Kingdoms

The majority of the novel takes place in the Middluns, Monsea, and Lienid Kingdoms as we are introduced to numerous characters and learn all about Graces. We meet Katsa as she is taking out guards to help Giddon and Oll rescue the grandfather of the King of Lienid. This elderly, ill man is at the center of a mystery that Katsa and her new friend and comrade, Po (the youngest price of Lienid), must unravel.

Book cover of GracelingI found the idea of individuals born with special Graces that could aid them (or not) in their lives to be interesting. Some are born with more mundane Graces like being a good swimmer while others had Graces that would or could help their kingdoms like fighting, archery, and swordsmanship. Some of the kingdoms seem to make anyone born with a Grace become an automatic servant of the king. Those Graced are unable to hide themselves as their eyes would change once their Grace finalized. Each eye would be a different color. For example, Po had one silver eye and one golden eye.

My Thoughts 

While I found the novel to be fast paced through most of the story, I do not agree with all the choices of the author. This book is shelved in our library's Young Adult section but yet contains several graphic sections describing the sexual relationships between the characters. In fact, the characters make the decision to not marry but continue to carry on a physical relationship. Personally, I would rather my teen not be presented with a topic this weighty in a fantasy novel but that is the world of today, unfortunately.

In addition to the physical relationship between the characters, there is a lot of violence due to the nature of the story. Katsa works for a very harsh and cruel king who requires her to sometimes punish and torture people who disobey him. And even though Katsa has formed a council to combat the evils of the kingdoms, there was still much intrigue and destruction.

Would I recommend Graceling? With reservations, I would say that some might enjoy the novel. There are moments of death, pain, and torture that may upset many. I will continue to read the series to see where else Kristin Cashore takes the reader but I will not be sharing it with our teen.


Joining up with The AtoZ Reading Challenge for 2020 with this book review! 


  1. Looks to be a book some of my family would be interested in, and me too!!

  2. all those unmarried relationships wouldn't put it high on my list to read even as an adult, the rest might be intriguing if it's well written.

    1. Yeah...I wish that some of the content was left out b/c the concept of 'special powers' was quite interesting.

  3. I also find it very frustrating when books that include sexual content and other inappropriate (in my opinion) content are in the young adults section. I always look the books up on Common Sense Media for my older daughter and son if I'm not sure about it. Other than that, this book looks interesting!

    1. It amazes me what is included in young adults section (which is geared towards teens really). I couldn't even check out books like Agatha Christie or Mary Stewart when I was a teen b/c it was in the 'adult' section of the library. But now?

  4. I started this and put it down because of the graphic nature. Agreed, not appropriate for a true YA.