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  • Graceling

  • Seven Kingdoms Trilogy, Book 1
  • By: Kristin Cashore
  • Narrated by: Emma Powell
  • Length: 13 hrs and 32 mins
  • 4.4 out of 5 stars (593 ratings)

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Graceling cover art

Graceling

By: Kristin Cashore
Narrated by: Emma Powell
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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 listeners say about Graceling

Average customer ratings
Overall
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    347
  • 4 Stars
    171
  • 3 Stars
    54
  • 2 Stars
    14
  • 1 Stars
    7
Performance
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
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  • 4 Stars
    132
  • 3 Stars
    37
  • 2 Stars
    10
  • 1 Stars
    2
Story
  • 4.5 out of 5 stars
  • 5 Stars
    294
  • 4 Stars
    148
  • 3 Stars
    49
  • 2 Stars
    15
  • 1 Stars
    4

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  • Overall
    1 out of 5 stars

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

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34 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

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.

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16 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

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!

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10 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

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.

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6 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

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.

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4 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    2 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    2 out of 5 stars

Not what I consider Epic Fantasy


Although I didn’t enjoy this book – it doesn’t mean it is terrible – it just needs the right audience.

Story – 2/5

Graceling is not epic fantasy as audible has classified it. It is more of a romance novel set within fantasy plot/world. I don’t mind romance – in fact I quite like it; but I would rather it be used as a tool to enhance character driven fantasy (like how it is used by Patrick Rothfuss), or be used as part of a deeper plot.

The romance element and how it develops and effects the two main characters is about 40-50% of the novel (mostly in the first half as well). If you like other romantic fantasy like Twilight, I think this will be right up your street. Although it was a reasonable romance, it was just way too much for me personally to enjoy the novel.

The 2nd half of the book gets better but it’s still not great. None of the characters besides the romantic couple have any depth; being very one-dimensional, including the villain. The plot is relatively weak for the genre because not enough time has been spent building it up, and I feel this was a waste of a good, if somewhat derivative, concept.

The prose is also very simple, which can be an asset sometimes, but in my opinion made this story quite bland at times. I also believe some aspects of detail weren’t very well thought through.

Performance – 3.5/5

Emma Powell was a good narrator; not brilliant, but not bad. The story is read slowly, but not unbearably so. I think she could have sped up the reading during the actions scenes more to create more excitement, but was fine.

Usually with a female lead, it is natural to have a female narrator, but I have a personal issue when it comes to doing male voices. EP created all her characters as distinct and recognisable, but sometimes they can be a bit too high and soft to represent some male characters, like kings and warriors, properly. Not a huge issue, just a personal thing for me; I prefer male narrators doing female voices personally. EP did put a lot of effort into acting out crying etc, and did a great job of that aspect.


Overall – 2.5/5


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3 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    3 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    3 out of 5 stars

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.

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2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

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.

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2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

Loved every minute

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

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2 people found this helpful

  • Overall
    5 out of 5 stars
  • Performance
    4 out of 5 stars
  • Story
    5 out of 5 stars

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.

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2 people found this helpful