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Graceling 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 Okay so this was a re read on audio and I thought it was really cool with the multiple narrators and music and stuff But sometimes one of the voices rubbed me the wrong way and the music went from fantasy to what sounded like western music Lol Maybe it was just me I still loved the book though I am in love with Katsa She is an awesome inspiration for women warriors in a book She kicks arse and takes names I love the fact that she doesn't care anything about marriage or having kids She's like my hero I need a tshirt I wish I had her Grace The characters in the book are so wonderful even the evil jerks are played out very well I was so happy when Katsa met Po Are they made for each other or what? I don't like what happened to Po though I have a special place in my heart for Oll Raffin Bann Bitterblue and Helda These are some wonderful characters with a great familyfriendship Katsa isn't like normal women well that's obvious but she doesn't care about any of the every day things women care about She even hates her long hair because it's in her way of doing what she's trying to do Katsa is Randa's mercenary and her Oll and Giddon go out to do his bidding although it's Katsa that dishes out the pain After some time she starts to get tired of doing this to people You will have to read the book to see where that goes Giddon is a good person he just doesn't really understand Katsa and wants too much I enjoyed all of the fighting and sparring between Po and Katsa I loved when she was in a real fight too Not very many but they were the best Then again most people would walk or run away when they saw her coming anyway She's that bad and scary Did I mention Katsa has some cool eyes A lot of the Gracelings have different eyes from everyone else but Katsa has some beautiful ones I am so glad I finally got to read this book it is sooooo awesome I wanted so badly to like this book It has so much going for it It is original and inventive I never once caught myself thinking Now where did I read that before? Oh right in the last three books The idea of the graced their skills and their mismatched eyes; of the seven kingdoms; of the characters themselves All of them were uniuely Cashore's own Her prose was clear and lucid though there were passages that dragged and made me want to skip ahead So pacing was occasionally a problem but not the actual words themselves I thought it uite notable especially as a debut However Yes that dreaded however But before we get to that a uick disclaimer I certainly have no say on what Cashore did or did not intend the book to say I only can say with certainty what I find in the book and I hope you can agree that if in addition to great writing and engaging stories one desires one's reading material to have at the very least some simple ethics it is than reasonable that some readers will discuss and debate the ethics and social s that certain features of this book present Personally I appreciate being able to discuss something that a book mentions and which allows me to think of it in an entirely different light I am fully aware that many might feel that this review is biased and unfair written from a narrow minded hidebound mentality How dare I allow my personal convictions to color my view of a book I read? Especially a fantasy book that clearly takes place in a world that is not this one But before you comment to let me know that I am a horrible disgrace and disappointment as a human for allowing my personal convictions to color my view of a book that I have read please take a moment to know that I am not allowing any comments on this review I had nearly 50 comments on this review and I ultimately chose to delete them when the vitriolic contemptuous comments kept coming For those of you whose opinions differed but who chose to share that contrary opinion with civility and tolerance I would like once to extend my sincerest thanks especially to Ariel and Angie For the others that commented to agree or say thanks for the review I hope it helped So back to that however My issue is that firstly what Po and Katsa have is not love Infatuation? Certainly Affection? Sure But love true love is wanting what is best for the other person and doing whatever one can so that the other is able to move toward the best Thus love is at its core sacrificial and giving What is the purpose of Katsa's and Po's sexual relationship? It is of transient emotional and physical benefit but how does it benefit them ultimately? I don’t believe that love euals sex and the book seemed to infer just thatBut say she did love him I'm all for girl power and females don't need a guy to be fulfilled All for that I even understand that at that point in Katsa's life she had just claimed her freedom and could not imagine entering any other station of life that would in any way limit or curtail her personal liberty All well and fine But then she goes ahead and enters into a physical relationship with a guy because she loves him but just can't ever be married to him because that would limit her sense of self and her own freedom to come and go as she pleased Granted the concept of marriage within the confines of that secondary world might differ it could be a total abnegation of self but I never got that sense when they talked about marriages in their society In fact at its core marriage in our world is a contract of personal commitment between two people but Katsa while perhaps legitimately shunning marriage in her world still has no desire to ever commit to Po in any way So it would seem that Katsa's issues had way to do with herself and her own flaws and insecurities than the idea of commitment or even Po Given his affection for her he would never have limited her freedom But flip the coin What if it was Po who “loved” Katsa but refused to marry her because then he would not be free? Where he was the one who would take whatever Katsa had to offer but did not care enough to actually make any sort of commitment to her? That likely would not go over as well It is strange what a double standard we have in relationships esp in a feminist age We praise novels that show females as strong independent individuals even if that means they are also selfish and controlling while we uite rightly condemn that sort of behavior in male protagonists But then not only are we giving a sad view of a strong woman as if that is the only way to portray a vibrant and intelligent female we are also touting a weak and ineffective masculine image that indicates that no male can be resourceful or a leader or else he is preventing the girl from being who she ought to be free to beetc When we did we stop striving for an ideal where both men and women complimented each other each being allowed their own strengths and being euals rather than always rivals and competitors? So again a talented new author but I have deep reservations about some of the messages in this book and I doubt I will recommend it to many people Which is a shame considering the uality of the rest of the story which is easily three stars for the prose though the plot had a few spots that seemed out of place Graceling never seemed like it should have been a love story much less a hook up and I was loving it as a fine fantasy personal growth novel but once they brought in the romantic anti romantic elements it lost me Graceling by Kristin Cashore follows in a burgeoning market for strong female charactersKatsa is much like Katniss from The Hunger Games in her naive perception of the world her coldness and tendency towards pragmatic practicality She is similar to Xhex from the Black Dagger Brotherhood in her disgust of all things feminine The story is well written with engaging fun characters Katsa is fun to read about The plot may be a little predictable at times but it did throw me a curve ball toward the end The romance is lovely between Katsa and Po I take exception though to the message that this book sends It is the same message I am reading over and over again in current literatureFrom Bella Swan who looks down on girls who like shopping to Xhex who must be wrestled into a dress and who sees all signs of emotion as feminine weakness and now Katsa who refuses to marry or have children and who despises dresses and long hairMessage to authors It is not nice dresses and pretty hair and an ability to be weepy on occasion that is the cause for the many ineuality issues that women face Putting a woman in pants does not change how the world perceives her It doesn't suddenly make her stronger and better than the woman in the dress who likes jeweleryYour character does not suddenly become the beacon of the feminist movement because she doesn't like dresses So sick of reading about strong independent female characters who don't like dresses and spend most of the novel putting down almost every other female character as weak and pathetic Graceling has a beautiful cover great premise and lots of hype and would be a terrific novel if it weren’t for the writing and atrocious main character What is with the awkward sentence structures and prose in this book? In these dungeons the darkess was complete but Katsa had a map in her mind It should be In these dungeons the darkness was complete but Katsa had a map in her mind And look at the next sentence One that had so far proven to be correct as Oll's maps tended to do What? That made absolutely no sense Instead One that had so far proven to be correct as Oll's maps tended to be Wouldn't that be better?Then later on Turning when it was time to turn What? Isn't that redundant? And She began to hear voices as she entered a corridor where the darkness flickered orange with the light of a torch set in the wall Dude darkness does not flicker orange if it did then that would not make it dark And it's not with the light of a torch but light from a torch That whole sentence is just full of awkward phrasing and clunky descriptionAnd the next Katsa crept toward the light and the sound of laughter How can she creep toward laughter when it wasn't even introduced earlier? It just does not get any better And later on she pulls her hood down over her eyes What the hell How do you expect to fight if you can't see where the heck you're going or what you're doing It's not a surprise she trips over the four guards because OBVIOUSLY you can't see anything Why does she need to pull her hood down to hide her eyes when the guard she fights later ALREADY KNOWS WHAT SHE IS? Okay that's it I'm done But the biggest offense of the book was the main character Katsa is the most annoying aggravating self centered abusive and violent character I’ve ever had the misfortune to read from the eyes from I thought Bella was tops in annoying meter ranking but Katsa wins the prize During the book there were many instances where I wished I could rip her hair out and run her through with her own sword She has some of the big Mary Sue tendencies It wasn’t so bad that she was Graced with some special ability but hers was off the wall unbelievable that I couldn’t give her any sort of realistic credibility at all Not only can she kill anyone with her bare hands she’s faster than anyone builds fire better than anyone hunts better than anyone shoots and fires arrows better than anyone yet she doesn’t suffer from the freezing cold as the rest of her comrades it just slows her down when other normal people would be down on the ground dying from hypothermia She doesn’t even tire like the rest of them because she just has unending bundles of stamina So much so that she can go for days without sleeping even though they were in some pretty gruesome and difficult battles And the list goes on I mean what can Ms Perfect not do? And don't give me that crap about how it's logical because of her special grace There's a special balance between believable and ridiculous and I'm sorry but this is way over into the ridiculous areaBut that wasn’t the worst of it Katsa’s most nonredeemable factor was her attitude No one can tell her to do anything she doesn’t want to do even if it’s for the wiser And if she doesn’t like what she hears her first reaction is anger and then she throws a tantrum until she gets her way But yet every situation she finds unappealing to her the first though that comes to mind is violence I clearly remember a scene where Po told her his opinion which wasn’t demeaning cruel or hurtful at all and you know what she does? Hits him so hard he falls off his chair and has a wicked bruise W T F And not only that her characterization is inconsistent She’s supposed to be this bad ass chick who takes no crap from anyone and doesn't need a man in her life to define her but as soon as Po enters and tells her he’s going to leave she cries tears because she “doesn’t know why”? What the hell kind of crap is this? And what is her utter revulsion to marriage? I mean I don’t want to get married as well but Katsa’s reasoning behind this is not concrete or sufficient enough to support her viewpoint that she vehemently defends many times throughout the book Not bringing children into this world yes I totally get it and understand but marriage? Especially when Po is searching for a sign of commitment on their relationship If she did not want to marry him or anyone in particular she could supplement this in other ways but she doesn'tI was absolutely disgusted disgusted by the way she treated her horses She treats them as a way to serve her own self satisfying needs without care The first instance that stuck me was when Po and Katsa were riding off somewhere and she slammed her horse against Po's because she wanted to get his attention W T F Not only is that dangerous to the rider because they could fall off but it's dangerous to the horse Slamming into another horse while you're riding is NOT something you do The horse could have fallen because the impact threw him off balance and you're obviously not going to walk away from that injury free or it could have tripped and then fallen Not to mention she ALWAYS pushes her horses to ride fast because she has no patience and wants to get there faster and if someone tells her they needed to rest the horses or they'll break them she just throws hissy fits about how they have to hurry and they're just slowing her down Horses are not machines good god They're living breathing animals that need care just like we doThe next one was near the end of the book where she pushed everyone so hard and rode for hours at a blistering gallop just so they could reach their destination faster And then I clearly remember someone Skye I believe it was telling her that she lamed a horse And you know what Katsa’s response to this was? “Oh he’s not lame He’s perfectly fine” and then throws a fit about how he’s slowing them down and they need to get up and ride him harder so they can get to their destination faster OMFG I almost threw the book across the room in rageThe place names were very uncreative You might think they’re clever but they were shallow attempts at trying to make them seem “fantasy” epic like They were just barely concealed renamings of East West South North and Middle And I didn’t even get started on the writing It was super choppy suffered from an annoying excess of repetitive phrasing and without a lot of “showing” The structure was all the same Katsa went and did this did that felt this and so on and so forth Another problem was the insane amounts of info dumping in the beginning After the third page I just couldn’t give a rip about the places’ history what it looked like who was who’s fatherI can see why a lot of people love this book There’s romance a super strong female character that kicks butt and the tried and true uestadventure formula of a fantasy novel But it’s just not for me I absolutely hate not finishing a series so I’ll probably read the next one but ugh not looking forward to it My opinion? Avoid this book I may probably be stoned to death for this review because every where I go it seems to be so well loved and praised with glowing reviews

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