By Kristin Cashore,

Book cover of Graceling

Book description

Discover the Graceling Realm in this unforgettable, award-winning novel from bestselling author Kristin Cashore.

A New York Times bestseller
ALA Best Book for Young Adults
Mythopoeic Fantasy Award for Children's Literature Winner
Publishers Weekly, School Library Journal,Booklist, and BCCB Best Book of the Year

"Rageful, exhilarating, wistful in turns" (The…

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Why read it?

7 authors picked Graceling as one of their favorite books. Why do they recommend it?

I loved this book since before it was published.

I gave a quote for the cover of the first printing of it, in fact. Fifteen years later, it still remains a book that can carry me away to a world where magic is not a gift but a challenge to overcome.

Kristen had a fresh idea here, but it still folded into my love of adventure and magic and finding out who we are inside.

That’s a story that will always get my attention, and the writing in this one is also lush enough to make me want to pause…

Katsa, a Graceling, is unnaturally skilled at murder. As a result, she is forced to work as an assassin for her uncle, the king. Unlike the other characters on my list, Katsa hates being an assassin and loathes her abilities (in fact, she has quite a bit of self-loathing). She also prefers using her brawn over her brain. Her love interest, Po, is very much her opposite—a soft, well-read boy who also has a secret Grace of his own. Together, the two must rescue a princess and take down possibly one of the most awful villains I’ve ever read. Graceling…

Though lead character Katsa might be considered a more conventional tough female character, her story was one that gripped me as a young teenager and has stuck with me for all the years since. Katsa is a woman of great wiles stuck in an impossible place, striving for what often seems like an impossible goal; and the way she fiercely protects and loves what is hers to defend has made her one of the most memorable female fantasy heroines I’ve ever had the pleasure of reading about!

From Renee's list on fantasy with complex female leads.

When I first read Graceling, I was a young bookseller at Barnes & Noble, fresh out of college and writing in every scrap of spare time I had. Graceling showed me a new vista of what YA fantasy could be: daring, creative, completely magical. In Katsa, our hardened heroine, I saw a protagonist who starts out with both room and a desperate need for growth, and I loved watching her change as she journeyed both literally and emotionally. But I also learned something new: fantasy journey narratives could go at a breakneck pace! Graceling is a book I have…

I first read this book years ago and what I really like about this story is that the main character, Katsa, is already strong and sassy. That doesn’t mean there’s no personal discovery, but that would lead to spoilers so you’ll have to find that out for yourselves. The premise of a person being born with a ‘grace’ is original, but the power struggle, bias, and individual challenges are familiar making the characters relatable and interesting. The supporting cast is equally engaging, bringing a smile and some relief to the adrenaline and stress.

From Marie's list on fantasy journeys of self discovery.

In a high-fantasy world where magic is redefined as Graces, Katsa is the strong female lead with a more than natural talent to kill. Yet, she is stuck playing a pawn, acting as her uncle’s personal assassinating machine. That is, until she meets another Graced, a prince, who opens her eyes to the truth behind her talents. This novel is so immersive and has a collection of beautifully crafted prose. 

I am so fond of the refreshing uniqueness of the magic system and the individuality that it highlights with each character. And the action sequences? Those are incredibly entertaining and…

Firmly in the YA camp, Graceling tells the story of Katsa, a young woman in a world where some people develop magical abilities, called Graces. The gracelings – those who have these gifts – have only one superpower, sometimes innocuous, like being able to count exactly how many of something there is in a heartbeat, and sometimes less so. Katsa is very firmly part of the less so group, graced with the ability to kill. Graceling is partly a story of discrimination and abuse, partly the story of a girl finding romance, and partly the story of resistance in the…

From Stacey's list on led by brutal female characters.

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