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Publisher's Summary

In a world where people born with an exceptional skill, known as a Grace, are feared and exploited, Katsa carries the burden of a skill even she despises: the Grace of killing. She lives under the command of her Uncle Randa, King of the Middluns, and is expected to carry out his dirty work, punnishing and torturing anyone who displeases him. Breaking arms and cutting off fingers are her stock-in-trade. Finding life under his rule increasingly unbearable Katsa forms an underground Council, whose purpose is to combat the destructive behaviour of the seven kings - after all, the Middluns is only one of the Seven Kingdoms, each of them ruled by their own king and his personal agenda for power.When the Council hears that the King of Liend's father has been kidnapped Katsa investigates . . . and stumbles across a mystery. Who would want to kidnap him, and why? And who was the extraordinary Graced fighter who challenged her fighting skills, for the first time, as she and the Council rushed the old man to saftey? Something dark and deadly is rising in the north and creeping across the continent, and behind it all lurks the shadowy figure of a one-eyed king.

©2009 Kristin Cashore (P)2012 Orion Publishing Group

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What members say

Average Customer Ratings

Overall

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Addictive Listening

Strong female character and a thrilling yet subtle romance. Danger, suspense and captivating characters. I was pleased with the narrator.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • lee
  • 09-06-2015

Sucked in

Could not stop listening, the narrator was fantastic, love the different voices and accents she easily flowed between. The story had many twist but it wasn't confusing . Loved it

4 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Excellent read; highly recommended

I absolutely love this book and have read it several times. I must say, I have enjoyed listening to Emma Powell read one of my favourite books and can listen to her again and again.

Kristin Cashore is an amazing and talented writer. She has a knack for hiding little secrets and clues of the plot throughout the story and if you're not quick, you can miss it entirely until it is revealed. Fire and Bitterblue are other examples of this.

In addition to that, Kristin draws you into Katsa's life and her relationship with the other characters, and expertly displays different aspects of her personality, morals and emotions.

It's an excellent read and one I highly recommend.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

A new world

This story took me into a new world of people with powers. A strong female lead and a story line that kept me on edge. It’s for young readers but I think everyone can enjoy this read.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars

Gshaba

He did so an Hannah's did did did did did d she could find hands

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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars

Loved it!

Enjoyed this book a lot! Don't have anything negative to say. I love the plot, character development, world building and it's beautifully written. Narrator was also interesting and easy to distinguish between different characters. Definitely a new favourite book, look forward to reading the rest of the series!

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
  • Helen
  • Brisbane
  • 20-06-2017

got bored...

this story wasn't gripping me at all. stopped after chapter 10. the performance was great though.

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars

Unrelatable heroine and a shallow plot

Finished the book but have no desire to continue with the series. Plot and characters seemed too shallow. Protagonist was extremely unlikeable. Story was badly paced and admittedly boring. I salute the narrator for trying to make something about what she was given, but the accent she gave to Po annoyed me. Also, the love interest's name is Po...

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

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  • Moonglotexas
  • 12-09-2013

Absolutely Mesmerising!

Would you consider the audio edition of Graceling to be better than the print version?

Yes, though during the action scenes I was desperate to ensure the survival of key people, the audio version made sure I savoured the writing, the emotions and the subtle power shifts

What other book might you compare Graceling to and why?

It is in the league of the great series: Eragon, The Hunger Games, The Lynburn Legacy, Lunar Chronicles, The Mortal Instruments. It has the folklore feeling of Eragon and Lynburn, the war of The Hunger Games, the cheekiness of the Instruments and the creative setting of Lunar

Have you listened to any of Emma Powell’s other performances before? How does this one compare?

Only the subsequent novels to this one, she is fab in all 3

Was there a moment in the book that particularly moved you?

When the two main characters come to together on the right side, and trust each, it's a pivotal moment

Any additional comments?

Loved it and the next two books, hungry for the fourth!

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Ayna Sandnes
  • 04-06-2016

Brilliant

I love this book and its characters so very much. The narrator does the voices justice.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Amy
  • 07-05-2015

Nine times!

I've read each of them nine times already. I think that speaks for itself, right?

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Rick
  • 24-05-2013

Super heroes in a fantasy setting

What made the experience of listening to Graceling the most enjoyable?

The reader has a voice that is easy to listen to, and I wouldnt be surprised if she is a voice actor, her characters are that good.

What did you like best about this story?

Unusual premise - what would a fantasy world with super heroes look like? A bit like X-men in Lord of the Rings perhaps. You never fear for the protagonist in an out and out fight, she's unbeatable. But she is vulnerable in other ways, and her super power - her grace - is not as straight forward as you might think.

While primarily a fantasy story, there is a romantic story in here, as well as a story of a woman who grows in the telling.

Any additional comments?

I found myself listening to the story in bed at night, not just in my car like I usually do with other audio books. Thats usually the sign of a book I'm really enjoying.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Ramzy Chamut
  • 23-08-2018

Wonderful

After reading the book of Fire by Kristin Cashore I was excited to pick this one up and read it. After not being able to find the hard copy I decided to try it out in Audible and I realize it was the best thing I could’ve done. Emma gives life to the characters and personality, it is extraordinary the combination of both the amazing world that Kristin built and the beautiful and talented voice of Emma. It’s just a treat to your ears and the most beautiful story to ever cross in my life. This is my no. 1 book and that’s saying a lot. I can’t wait to start listening to Bitterblue. Good luck to both of the wonderful girls that made this book perfect, Kristin and Emma. Love to both of you.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Joki
  • 20-11-2013

Straightforward Fantasy, Good Narration

Graceling is a modern throwback to the fantasy books of the 1980s and 1990s - a straightforward story, relatively low key romance, and complete lack of over the top heroines and too-modern-sounding teens. But at the same time, some of the more frustrating YA staples are here: adults are evil and the guys all have a case of insta-love on our heroine. But it is decently enough written to keep me entertained with the Audible version.

Katsa is a graceling - blessed with an ability (in her case, ability to kill easily) that marks her as different. Her uncle, the king, uses her as his personal enforcer, sending her out to hurt those who displease him. On one such trip, Katsa encounters a young man, a prince from a neighboring country, and after that, their fates will be entwined as she must learn to use her abilities compassionately and not as her Uncle's thug. But he has a secret grace and she will be drawn into politics of the world on a grand scale.

This is a stand alone though there are two other books in this same world (one a prequel of sorts and the other a sequel but both with different characters). I did feel the book floats around quite a bit and lacks a good solid structure. As well, it can get tiring hearing Katsa echo the same thoughts over and over. Yes, we get the idea you don't want to marry. No, we don't need all the guys falling all over you even though you're supposedly deadly. And yes, we have a hero who is once again just a bit too good to be true.

I would probably rate this around 3.5 stars. It's nice to see a return to more traditional fantasy (rather than the ubiquitous YA urban fantasy) but at the same time, I wish the characters were a bit more distinct and multilayered.

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
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    3 out of 5 stars
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    4 out of 5 stars
  • Kindle Customer
  • 25-02-2013

Enjoyable Fantasy

This is written for young adults so it is a bit faster paced then some fantasy which I like. The author paints a vivid, belivable world and has strong, sympathetic characters. I have previously read the book so knew the storyline and I think it was becaue of this I found the narrator a bit dificult to listen to at first as her voice was nothing like I had imagened any of the characters. Once I got used to her however I enjoyed her portrayal of the characters. Good listen. I recommend it if you enjoy this genre.

1 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
  • Daniel
  • 15-07-2013

its just too clean and simple.

What disappointed you about Graceling?

Its too clean and simple. its a bit like cooking pasta - anyone can dish it up....

0 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    1 out of 5 stars
  • Anders Salen Aarseth
  • 10-05-2018

Yea didn't like it sorry, female super emotional

Yea didn't like it sorry, female super emotional wreck and kinda annoying her name.
Don't really understand how this got good reviews

0 of 2 people found this review helpful

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    5 out of 5 stars
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  • Rebecca R
  • 28-05-2013

It's in my top ten!

I loved this book, the concept of grifted individuals. Villains, love, deceit, loss. It's all in there. The strong female lead is enjoyable and not too far fetched. Couldn't put this one down from the moment I began listening. You'll be in for a treat, though have a back up because you finish it in no time!

6 of 6 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    2 out of 5 stars
  • James Hall
  • 28-10-2015

Disappointing

If this book wasn’t for you, who do you think might enjoy it more?

I suspect I was the wrong audience for this novel. It's more of a romance than a grand fantasy epic.

Would you ever listen to anything by Kristin Cashore again?

Probably not, the characters and their motives seemed very one-dimensional and the world building was very simplistic.

Have you listened to any of Emma Powell’s other performances? How does this one compare?

No, but I definitely would - I found her voice, elocution, and acting all excellent, and would happily listen to another book narrated by her.

What reaction did this book spark in you? Anger, sadness, disappointment?

Disinterest, mostly - I wanted to know more about the world and the Graces, but both feel more like plot devices to funnel the romance rather than driving forces in their own right.

5 of 5 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Amazon Customer
  • 03-12-2013

Delightful performance and magical story

Any additional comments?

The Story: This is a 'typical' fantasy novel in that it takes places in another land, and our hero (heroine) finds herself with a quest and consequently a journey. However, don't be misled, while you have the 'standard' elements, I really like how this author has put the together. I was initially unsure of the heroine - Katsa, in the beginning, is not someone who I wanted to like. But as the story progresses, we see that she didn't really have much choice, and she does change. I also really like the 'fantasy' aspect. In this world, some people are born with a Grace - it may be that they are graced in sword fighting, or archery, or sewing, or, as Katsa is, killing. I really liked the concept of Graces, and how it played out in the story.The Performance: I've completely fallen in love with Emma Powell! I did not know that audio artists could be just *that* awesome! I "save" audiobooks for longer car journeys where I need something to get me through thr tedium - I've found myself a lot more keen to drive recently! Emma's voice is never intrusive to the story, I have no trouble immersing myself in the story, the way I would if I were reading it. Also, I have no idea how she does it, but her voice is very, very subtly different for each of the characters, but it never sounds 'fake' or 'put on'. I'm so gad that she's read the rest of this series, but devastated to see that her other reads look like stories I wouldn't be interested in.Overall: Both a story and a reader that I fell in love with.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • BBC Reader
  • 01-12-2013

Interesting Story

What did you like most about Graceling?

The heroine character is strong and independent. I was fed up with those characters who always were depending on their male friends. Katsa is able to protect herself as well as the other humanbeing whom she cares.

Only one part I couldn't agree with the writer's style is where the author made Katsa realise she noticed Po. Unlike her rest of writing, this part sounded like she gave it to a student to write.

Apart from that, I loved this book.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Graceling?

When Katsa takes Bitterblue through the mountain.

What about Emma Powell’s performance did you like?

Clear voice and distinguishable characters.

2 of 2 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars
  • Amazon Customer
  • 21-05-2012

All rather boring

Well it all starts out fine and dandy, we have a sexy ninja assassin sneaking around, not actually killing any one mind, and someone being rescued from a dungeon then a bit more fighting, but still no actual death, then escape into the night and a bit of back story.

The back story is interesting, some one gets killed and our killer ninja girl turns out to be a bit of a tom boy type lass with anger management issues. Who has set up a special secret club of do gooders that everyone in the known world seems to know about, apart from the king obviously.

And then it all starts to go down hill, We have some love interest turn up at the castle, who must have been traveling a long way for a very long time as his accent changes from Welsh, to India, via Italy, Namibia and Cairo. He turns out to have deep dark special power that only our sexy ninja thug fails to spot about 4 miles off.

the Ninja lass and the heart throb do a bit of fighting, where his shoulder gets hurt and she works on her anger management issues and total dislike of the king - then shes all like OMG the bloke really likes me and want to be my BFF or something and this new hunk who i beat up all the time is quite dishy and OMG again i hate the king for making me do nasty things. I must save the poor oppressed and stuff.

Then our sexy ninja turns into some sort of hired thug with a heart who randomly has a change of heart and decides shes not going to go around breaking arms anymore and goes home to tell the king.

Which is all set up nicely for a bit of the old claret and torn limbs as the evil king gets a good kicking for being such a bad man.

But it doesn't happen there's just a bunch of teenage girl moping around and "I hate you for not telling me your deep dark power that all and sundry knew about apart from me boo hooo" then a face off with the king a bit more moping and shes off with the Welch/Italian/Egyptian hunk to find out "the truth of it all" and i gave up at that point. It's turgid

25 of 35 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
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    5 out of 5 stars
  • Nalana
  • 22-01-2018

Fantastic story.

If you could sum up Graceling in three words, what would they be?

Fascinating, engrossing and beautiful

What was one of the most memorable moments of Graceling?

When katsa made po almost fall off the horse.

Which scene did you most enjoy?

Katsa giving in to po's grace.

Was this a book you wanted to listen to all in one sitting?

Oh yes! If I could have, I would have.

Any additional comments?

I listened to it twice straight away. And bought the next book Fire.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Alice Thomson
  • 21-03-2017

slow start but solid story

I really had to make myself continue at first as nothing made sense and it really took some time before the story grips you. I think once the male character joins and the story turns to the complexity of human interaction rather than just describing the surroundings and background, that's when it gets interesting and enjoyable. give it a chance, it will end up being a really well written book☺ I am certainly continuing to the next book now.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • tinyNorman
  • 16-05-2015

Exquisitely crafted story of adventure and romance

Great characters, and excellent story line. Lots of dramatic tension, a dynamic heroine, and a great, light read.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Chadwinn Cloete
  • 15-04-2015

Loved every minute

Emma Powell is brilliant! She adds so much to an already fantastic story! Absolutely going to listen to Fire now!

1 of 1 people found this review helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Kristin
  • 22-07-2014

Love it!

What made the experience of listening to Graceling the most enjoyable?

The characters came alive, and the story was very well written.

What was one of the most memorable moments of Graceling?

Can't say without giving spoilers.

What does Emma Powell bring to the story that you wouldn’t experience if you had only read the book?

While I don't think she brought anything to the story that I wouldn't have experienced by reading it myself, I enjoyed her performance.

Did you have an emotional reaction to this book? Did it make you laugh or cry?

Yes, both.

1 of 1 people found this review helpful