Be Forever Graced by "Graceling"

Title:   Graceling
(Seven Kingdoms Trilogy #1)
Author:  Kristen Cashore
Format:  Audiobook
Length:  12hrs. 31mins.
Publisher:  Full Cast Audio
Rating:  5 Stars

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.   -Goodreads



Nobody likes having a loaded gun around.  While it is true that having that gun may make one feel safer, in the wrong hands or situation it can also prove lethal.  In the case of Katsa, this analogy has never been more true.  Her "grace" as an assassin has made her that loaded gun and her service to an unscrupulous and tyrannical king, has made her dangerous.

Katsa...Miss Missunderstood
It would be very easy for one to find fault with the character of Katsa.  At first glance, she is about as appealing as a sledgehammer to the head.  That is, until you learn a little of her background.  She has a very tight group of  "friends" because most people are afraid to come anywhere near her.  She serves as hired muscle to an unscrupulous tyrant of a king who she also has the misfortune of being related to, and she is afraid of herself.  
Wait...before you close the door on dear "killer Katsa," please note that she is at least trying to balance her "thuggish" (her word, not mine) ways by serving as a Robin Hood of sorts on her off hours.

It is in fact one of these "missions of mercy" that serves to set the story in motion by presenting Katsa, and by extension, readers with an ever increasing number of mysteries.

The Prince of Many Names...a.k.a The Littlest Telatubbie
Things really start to get good when Katsa meets Prince "whatever my name is...I have like 5, but you can just call me Po."  (Yes, I am aware that Po was the RED character on THAT show!)

Anyhoooo...

Po is sooo everything that Katsa could want.  Sexy, "graced",  a fighter, and...a key to all the mysteries that I spoke of earlier.  Given all the things that Po has to offer, it is no wonder that Katsa spends a large part of the book proclaiming that she "will never marry" and "doesn't want children."  If  I had all of the emotional, and psychological baggage that she does, her "grace," and sexy Mc Sexy pants to contend with; I think that I would have to remind myself of that a couple hundred times too.  Especially after having lost my virginity to the man then realizing that there was a good chance that he would be killed while trying to protect me later.

But I digress...

The fact that Po is so self sacrificing would tend to grate on one's nerves.  If it were not for the fact that said sacrifices have some pretty mind blowing results.  Hold on to your hearts girls your gonna love it.
  
Lies, Lies, Lies...Yeah!
What would any great story be without the villains.  It did not skip my notice that all the "baddies" in this story were kings who had great power and were intent on keeping it.  First, there was Katsa's lying bully of an uncle, King Rand.
Worse still was the father of Po's cousin Bitterblue, King Leck.  King of Monsea and "graced" with the power to lie and make all believe his lies as truth.  This man has some tricks up his sleeve that would have Hannibal Lecter taking notes. 

I Say...
If you like a read in which the girl gets to save the prince, have issues, be a bit of a nut job, and still kick EVERYBODY's ass.  This is the read for you!  Please be warned, there is SEX in this book.  There is also BIRTH CONTROL!  Whoooooohoooooo! So I would recommend this as an older teen or parent/child read.

Audiobook Review
I was lucky enough to have gotten this book on audio via my library's digital collection.  I must say that I couldn't have been more impressed.  This production was a "full cast" audio, meaning that individual actors played individual roles.  It was a very welcome change from the usually single voice acting all parts.  The music that marked the transition from one scene to the next was very well place and not overdone.
The audiobook experience is one that I would recommend even to those who have read the book in print.
The amount of time spent is well worth the entertainment received.

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3 comments:

sarabara081 said...

I am in the middle of reading this right now and loving so far! :)

Brittany said...

Awesome review! I hear great things about this :)

Thanks so much for being my 300th follower! :D I'm following you!

Misha said...

Great review! I love Graceling~ the writing is beautiful and to be honest I wasn't expecting to like it as much as I did after hearing so many other people love it~ I'm usually the oddball on what I love as far as books go. :) Thanks for the review!

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