2012-05-24

Audiobook Review: Graceling

Graceling (Graceling Realm #1) by Kristin Cashore
Release Date ~ October 1, 2008 (Audio ~ June 1, 2009)
Houghton Mifflin Harcourt (Audio ~ Full Cast Audio)
ISBN13: 9780152063962
Audiobook purchased from Audible
Goodreads Synopsis:
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.

Fantasy books were my first love when it came to reading, and I grew up on stories bursting with mythology, knights, and princesses (my favourites were those that had characters who could be both a knight AND a princess). Nothing gets my heart pounding and the pages turning like a magical, adventurous fantasy novel!
I first heard of Graceling immediately after reading The Hunger Games a few years ago - I kept getting recommendations for it, but for whatever reason I didn't pick it up until recently. Waiting to read this book until now was one of the biggest mistakes in my reading history! I'm convinced that Kristin Cashore is a genius and this book is proof of that.

  1. A richly developed fantasy world:
    This is a must for good fantasy books; I need to buy into the magical world and the best ones have a well-established world with its own rules and norms, but with enough similarities that we can relate to them. Plus, I like books that include MAPS of the fantasy worlds. That's pretty legit for me. And the names of places, things and people should be vaguely familiar but not so overdone that they come off as silly and fake. Graceling easily avoids any and all of these issues and stands as one of a few YA fantasy books that works so well!
  2. Familiar problems & issues:
    I don't think it's much of a secret that Graceling delves into some questions regarding the role of women within a society and the obstacles in their way as equal members of society. What may be surprising, however, is how WELL Kristin deals with this and successfully weaves it into the story. I wouldn't call it subtle, but it is oh-so poignant. Katsa is a bit of an anomoly in her world, where women are often mistreated and lack the means to protect themselves; but as she slowly begins to recognize how problematic this is and ultimately questions if she can do anything about it. It's striking, and resonates so well because of how familiar it is to us.
  3. Katsa & Po's friendship:
    I love Katsa, and I love Po! Even separately, they were fantastic characters that I found amusing and amiable. But it's the way that they played off each other and slowly grew closer together that truly sold me on them as characters and their role in the story. Here's a couple you can't help but root for the whole way through; and most of all, I loved seeing a respectful male lead who wants to encourage the heroine and do everything he can to help her in the way she needs and respect her decisions.
So, I've now joined the ranks of Graceling/Kristin Cashore fans. I'm KICKING myself for waiting this long to have read it, and I've moved on to Fire already :) Graceling is a thought-provoking and addictive read, one that will leaving you craving more. I could honestly say so much more about this one, but I'm going to save it for a spoiler-filled review, coming soon :) Perfect read for anyone looking for a heartbreaking, emotionally touching, thought provoking read.

This one has a well-deserved new space on my favourites shelf; and I can't wait to finish off Fire and then get started on Bitterblue (as soon as I manage to get my hands on a copy)!

Thoughts on the audio:
A few people had told me that I must listen to Graceling on audio because it was good- and they were right (again. Clearly I have awesome people recommending books to me). This would actually be a perfect book to introduce a new listener to audiobooks because it's Full Cast, although you'll also be spoiled by it for other books. Full Cast is fantastic because it's such a great quality; there are multiple narrators, all of whom are excellent. Plus there's a little bit of background music at times that helps create a good atmosphere for listening to the story. Hands down, the best, most addictive audio book I've ever listened to. WELL worth the cost of buying it!

If you're new to audiobooks, or just haven't given this one a try yet then I HIGHLY recommend that you pick it up. Like now. Plus the audiobook is under $10 to download from Audible if you're a member!

Yes, I know the trailer isn't exactly up to par with newer ones. But keep in mind this one's from 2008!



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5 comments:

Andrea @ Cozy Up said...

I think I have to try this book again. Everyone says how great it is, but I did not find myself liking it all that much. I don't know what it was about that book that didn't seem to stick out for me. Maybe I'll try the audiobook. Great review

Anna @ Literary Exploration said...

I love this book SO MUCH, it's so well written and so exciting :D I'm glad you ended up enjoying it so much, it's definitely one of my all time faves!!

Anna @ Literary Exploration

Kelly said...

I just finished Bitterblue recently, and it gave me the itch to re-visit Graceling and Fire - your enthusiasm as a new Cashore fan is giving me that same itch!

Christa @ Hooked on Books said...

I just finished writing my review of this last night and I pretty much said exactly all of this! Especially Katsa and Po's friendship. They really did feel like equals in the story which was nice to see.

Kristin Feliz said...

I didn't know the audiobook was Full Cast!!! OMG! This makes me want to read it NOW!!!

Great review!! I LOOOOOOVVVEEEE this book!

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