On the 2009 Amelia Bloomer List (Recommended Feminist Literature for Birth through 18). On the Bulletin of the Center for Children’s Books 2009 Blue Ribbon list. A New York Times and a Publishers Weekly best seller.
“[An] eccentric and absorbing first novel…. [Katsa] overturns every biological reality and cultural stereotype of feminine weakness, which is a large part of her charm. She is the girl’s dream of female power unloosed…. Cashore plays with the idea of awkwardness, how at a certain age gifts and talents are burdens, how they make it impossible to feel comfortable in the world…. somehow in all of this struggle and resistance Cashore offers an acute portrayal of sexual awakening: ambivalent, rageful, exhilarating, wistful in turns…. “Graceling”… offers a perfect parable of adolescence, as its characters struggle with turbulent emotions they must learn to control…. The teenage characters in this novel, like some we may know in life, grow into their graces. They realize that their monstrous individuality is not so monstrous after all.” — The New York Times Book Review
“An assured fantasy debut…. Katsa is an ideal adolescent heroine, simultaneously confident of her strengths yet unsure of her place in the world. Every character is crafted with the same meticulous devotion to human comprehensibility…. In a tale filled with graphic violence and subtle heartbreak, gentle passion and savage kindness, matter-of-fact heroics and bleak beauty, no defeat is ever total and no triumph comes without cost. Grace-full, in every sense.” — Starred, Kirkus Reviews
“[The] exquisitely drawn romance… will slake the thirst of Twilight fans, but one measure of this novel’s achievements lies in its broad appeal. Tamora Pierce fans will embrace the take-charge heroine; there’s also enough political intrigue to recommend it to readers of Megan Whalen Turner’s Attolia trilogy. And while adult readers, too, will enjoy the author’s originality, the writing is perfectly pitched at teens struggling to put their own talents to good use. With this riveting debut, Cashore has set the bar exceedingly high.” — Starred, Publisher’s Weekly
“Cashore treats readers to compelling and eminently likable characters and a story that draws them in from the first paragraph…. Cashore’s style is exemplary…. This is gorgeous storytelling: exciting, stirring, and accessible. Fantasy and romance readers will be thrilled.” — Starred, School Library Journal
“Cashore… creates believable characters with enough depth, subtlety, and experience to satisfy older readers…. An impressive first novel. — Starred, Booklist
“With a butt-kicking but emotionally vulnerable heroine, [Graceling] should appeal to fans of recent girl-power urban fantasies as well as readers who’ve graduated from Tamora Pierce’s Tortall series.” — The Horn Book Magazine