Written by Kristin Cashore
Read by David Baker, Chelsea Mixon, Zachary Exton, Full Cast Audio
Series: Graceling Realm #1
Published by Harcourt
Publication Date: January 1st 1970
Genres: Action & Adventure, Fantasy & Magic, Young Adult
Length: 12 hrs and 31 mins
Source: Audible, Purchased
Find on Goodreads
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.
“This audiobook is freaking awesome!”
Have you ever read a book featuring FEMALE assassins? No, scratch that. Have you ever read a Young Adult book featuring assassins? I know I’m late in the game but this is the first YA book that I read featuring female assassins and I was blown away! This story is amazingly well written and unique! Plus, this is a stand-alone book and does not end on a cliffhanger! What’s more, there are no freaking LOVE TRIANGLES! Just a love between a prince and an assassin. This book has adventure, magic, romance, courage, danger, girl power…and more!
The story takes place in a mythical world (which I forgot already, sorry) filled with magic. It is set like a medieval Europe quite like the Dark Ages (with magic, fighting, and kingdoms). I must say that the world building is done very well. The author was able to describe the look and feel to the place and I was able to imagine the world while listening to the audiobook.
I was able to connect with the main characters, Katsa especially. I felt her pain as I listened along and I was able to empathize with her. Prince Po was also another interesting character. I love that both main characters were able to grow as the story progressed. I liked the idea of the Graced, in that they had special powers or skills. In Katsa’s case, her power was View Spoiler »life preservation or protecting herself « Hide Spoiler, which wasn’t that apparent from the start of the book because it seemed like Katsa had View Spoiler »mastered the killing skill « Hide Spoiler. Prince Poe also had a skill which made him an equal to Katsa. Another character that hooked me was Bitterblue. Although I do not care about her name, she was interesting to me and I am pretty psyched that she does have her own story.
I loved the pace and flow of the story. Despite it being one book, I think that it encapsulated everything and did not leave any unanswered questions. At least, on my end. As I’ve said before, I love that this wasn’t a series of books but a stand-alone. Despite King Leck’s quick demise (it would have been better if there was a showdown or something), I really enjoyed listening to this. I was also almost brought to tears at certain parts of the story. With the audiobook being narrated by Full Cast Audio (different voices), it added to the drama of each scene.
That quote really got to me. Because Katsa was forced by her uncle, King Randa to be his personal assassin and because View Spoiler »she killed a distant cousin for trying to touch her inappropriately when she was 8 « Hide Spoiler, she had thought of herself as a monster. Admittedly, she was also shocked that Po had started to like her.
The parts that I disliked about this book didn’t really detract from my enjoyment of the book. Although Katsa had certain “fits” during their travels, I thought that it sounded like something a normal person would react given the stressful circumstances. I also had a little problem with her treatment of her horse a couple of times because it felt that she really had no regard toward them. When Po’s horse View Spoiler »fell and hurt himself « Hide Spoiler, I was touched and hurt that something that had happened.
All in all, GRACELING was a very fun listen and I really enjoyed it.
THOUGHTS ON THE AUDIO
Narrator David Baker, Chelsea Mixon, Zachary Exton & Full Cast Audio
The book is narrated by David Baker and he mostly did all the narration and some of the male voices. Initially, I was a little bit bummed that it was a male narrator since the main character is female BUT I did not realize that with it being a Full Case Audio production, there would be other voices! I loved it! Katsa was voiced by a female and the child Bitterblue, was also voiced by a female child! I also loved that there was music at key parts that really added to my overall experience and enjoyment of the book. This book definitely benefitted from the awesome audio performance. And to be honest, I may not have loved this book as much if I read it instead of listening to it.
REVIEW IN BISAYA
Translation: I loved it! I really enjoyed the narration and I loved the main character because she showed girl power all throughout the book. I also love that it wasn’t focused on the love story and there was no love triangle.