Graceling (Graceling Realm #1) by Kistin Cashore

Title: Graceling (Graceling Realm #1)

Author: Kristin Cashore

My Rating:  🌟🌟🌟🌟

Type: Standalone

Genre: Historical Fantasy, Fantasy world, Magical world, Young Adult Fantasy    

Primary Characters: Po, Kasta,

Secondary Characters: Randa, Giddon, Raffin, Bitterblue, Lark, Ror, Tealiff, oll, Bann

Narration: Dual POV

This is my first Kristin Cashore read. I picked this book randomly. It was beautiful and adventurous journey with Kasta. It was surprising in some aspects however it was predictable and boring at some points. Boring and predictable parts doesn’t diminish this overall book brightness. I do have a mix feeling and its tough to express it here in review.

Graceling opens as Katsa rescues someone from the dungeons. Kasta is graced with the skill to kill people. In Graceling Realm people born with heterochromia (different colored eyes) are blessed with a Grace. It can be any grace, where you can swim fast, or hold your breath for long to being skilled swordmen and being a mind reader. A graceling born is offered to king. Kasta being niece of King Randa does a dirty work for him by torturing, beating and killing people. She has been Randa’s weapon for long.

After some time, she starts to get tired of being Randa’s mercenary.  At the same time, she meets a fellow skilling Graceling warrior Po. He is a skilled fighter as well, but not as good as Katsa. Po comes in search of a person whom Kasta has rescued. When Po comes to Middluns, I enjoyed fighting and sparring between Po and Katsa. Book takes a different turn post mid-point when Kasta and Po in search of truth.

I totally loved Kasta. She is an awesome inspiration for women warriors. Katsa and Po are taken in interesting directions emotionally as they awaken to the greater application of their talents. Book felt slightly dragged in between but I loved how kasta came out victorious.

The kingdom names showed a dearth of creativity: Estill, Wester, Nander, Sunder and Middluns. Name of characters varied from contemporary to medieval and imaginary. World-building was somewhat scant and characterizations lagged in depth. Secondary characters were ok, but none interesting apart from Bitterblue. Relationship development between Kasta and Po is simplistic, gradual and well built. Seven kingdoms Politics weren’t defined well.

Overall, I really adored this book. I’m going to read Bitterblue soon. Despite its style and flaws, GRACELING is a fun and adventurous read.

Source – My copy

Buy link -

Blurb as per good reads

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.

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