Title: Graceling

Author: Kristin Cashore

Fantasy YA

Published October 1st 2008 by Houghton Mifflin Harcourt

Goodreads summary:

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.    

When she first meets Prince Po, Graced with combat skills, Katsa has no hint of how her life is about to change. She never expects to become Po’s friend. She never expects to learn a new truth about her own Grace—or about a 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.


“What is this Bitterblue everyone is going so crazy over?” I’ve wondered lately as I scrolled through my Twitter feed. “Why are they all going so batty over it?”

Come to find, after a bit of research, that Bitterblue is the latest novel by heavy fantasy hitter Kristin Cashore, who began her career with the novel Graceling set in the same world as Bitterblue.

First thought I had about Cashore’s work?

“Why haven’t I read these books yet?”

That thought pretty much stayed with me during the entirety of my reading of Graceling: “WHY HAVEN’T I READ THIS YET?”

In the world of the Seven Kingdoms, Cashore created characters that are layered and complex. Katsa takes the reins of her own life and my respect for her grew by bounds. She doesn’t bow to social pressure, but stays true to who she is.

There’s also a romance that fits and develops over time out of a friendship instead of just jumping into kissing and talks of love. And above all, there’s a thrilling adventure that set my pulse to pounding and had me clutching the pages of the book wide-eyed, reading as fast as I could to find out what would happen next.

Overall rating: 5/5. The next book set in the seven kingdoms, Fire, is on my list to be read soon, so that I can join everyone else on Twitter in going crazy over Bitterblue.

Book review: Fire by Kristin Cashore (#2 in the Seven Kingdoms series)