Wednesday, February 29, 2012


Graceling (The Seven Kingdoms, #1)Title: Graceling
Author: Kristin Cashore
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Publication Date: October, 2008 
Audiobook Narrator: David Baker and Full Cast Audio
Audiobook Publisher: Full Cast Audio
Audiobook Publication Date: June, 2009
Genre/Format: Fantasy/Novel
Summary: Katsa is graced with the ability to kill a man with her bare hands. Ever since her grace became evident, King Randa has been using Katsa as his very own hit man and Katsa's reputation as a man killer precedes her. However, Katsa doesn't like what she has become and what King Randa makes her do. Then when Katsa meets a Leinid prince, she realizes that she is much more than just her grace. 

What I Think: Although this book always intrigued me because of the premise, it also terrified me because I am scared of high fantasy. High fantasy is intimidating because of having to completely immerse yourself in an invented world and sometimes I find it hard to imagine somewhere that doesn't exist. However, with Graceling, the characters are so strong that the original confusion with the setting didn't even bother me and then by the time I thought about it, I'd lost all confusion and was in Katsa's world. 

As always, it is nice to see a kick-butt girl hero and Katsa is probably the most awesome there is. She is amazing and as she finds herself, she stays as kick-butt, but then becomes more human too. It is a great transformation that makes her an even stronger protagonist.

I also want to say that I listened to the audio, my 2nd full cast audio, and really enjoyed it. I think that by having different voices for each character really helps make the story come to life (and this one had a special appearance of Tim Green, author of Football Hero, as King Leck!)

And- nice homage to Jane Eyre there at the end :)

Now to get the audio for Fire and wait for Bitterblue!

What Jen Thinks: I didn't listen to this book. When I read it (a long time ago), I read the physical book but now that you told me Tim Green is part of the audiobook I my have to listen to it! I know his kids read for characters in his Football Genius series. 

I love fantasy but agree with Kellee that high fantasy sometimes scares me. When I think of hardcore fantasy, I think of Ursula Le Guin - and she really scares me. I easily slipped into the world Cashore puts together in Graceling. I love her description and the imagery she incorporates. I agree that Katsa is an amazing protagonist. I think the idea of certain people having Graces is really intriguing. My favorite part would have to be how Katsa and Po interact and complement each other. This is one of my most favorite fantasy books!
Read Together: Grade 7 to 10
Read Alone: Grade 8 to 12
Read With: The Last Dragon by Jane Yolen, Ash by Malinda Lo, Castle Waiting by Linda Medley, Howl's Moving Castle by Diana Wynne Jones, Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta
Snatch of Text: 
“When a monster stopped behaving like a monster, did it stop being a monster? Did it become something else?” 

“How absurd it was that in all seven kingdoms, the weakest and most vulnerable of people- girls, women- went unarmed and were taught nothing of fighting, while the strong were trained to the highest reaches of their skill... 'It seems better to me for a child to have these skills and never use them, than not have them and one day need them,' she said.” 

*No page numbers available since I listened to the audio*  
Mentor Text for: Characterization, World Building, Descriptive
Writing Prompts: If you could possess "a grace" what grace would you want to have? 
Topics Covered: Gender, Adventure, Identity, Love, Perseverance, Courage, Heroines

Kellee *hearts* it:
Jen *hearts* it:

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