Customer Reviews for

Graceling (Graceling Realm Series #1)

Average Rating 4.5
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Most Helpful Favorable Review

162 out of 174 people found this review helpful.

Excellent, astonishing

How can I even begin to review this book? How could I get you to trust me and read it, for it is one of the best book I've ever read? I can think of only one way: Must Read. I speak as I read. I'm happy. I'm sad. I'm scared. I'm relieved. I'm shocked. I'm waiting. Yes, ...
How can I even begin to review this book? How could I get you to trust me and read it, for it is one of the best book I've ever read? I can think of only one way: Must Read. I speak as I read. I'm happy. I'm sad. I'm scared. I'm relieved. I'm shocked. I'm waiting. Yes, all this while reading. Fiction, action, romance, friendship, fantasy, love, coping, dealing, Kings, Queens, evil, kindness, villain, killing... What else can you ask for in a book?

The writing was excellent, astonishing. The plot was full of magic and emotions. The characters, oh, the characters; they were unforgettable and brilliant. I can not even pick a character a loved the most. They all were above marvelous. I love Po and Katsa obviously, but the rest were equally amazing. I do love Po! Did I say that already?

I could not have imagined a better cover either, I loved the color, the effects and the eyes! The beginning, the ending and the story were all amazing. How she came up with all this, I have no idea. Needless to say, that whatever your reading preferences are, you have to read this book. I highly recommend it.

posted by SabH-CrystalReviews on September 3, 2009

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Most Helpful Critical Review

54 out of 125 people found this review helpful.

How is this story telling?

To me one of the essential things for a story is plot, and I found it rather absent in this book. It is much more romance than action, which wasn't really what the summery advertised (not that I don't like romance, I just don't think false advertising is fair). The char...
To me one of the essential things for a story is plot, and I found it rather absent in this book. It is much more romance than action, which wasn't really what the summery advertised (not that I don't like romance, I just don't think false advertising is fair). The characters seemed a little flat and far too predictable (something that goes beyond consistency) and they didn't really change all that much. She is supposed to be a mercenary and yet she fears killing, am I the only one that think's that odd? Oh well, I'm not saying some might enjoy it, but I certainly didn't and I don't suggest you waste your money on it.

posted by InkMouse on December 17, 2008

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  • Posted May 3, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Graceling

    In all the Seven Kingdoms no is feared or revered as much as Gracelings -- individuals who are born with an innate talent to do something extremely well, be it to sing perfectly, outrun a horse, or even to read minds. Gracelings are immediately discerned by their different colored eyes, often to their disadvantage since most people distrust and even dislike them. Katsa is born with one green and one blue eye but has no idea what her grace is until after her seventh birthday, when she accidentally killed a man. With the unlikely grace of killing Katsa is turned into her uncle's (King Randa) personal thug and enforcer - sending Katsa off on missions to 'punish' his vassals through pain, torture or even death. For herself, Katsa views her grace as a burden -- more often than not seeing herself as a monster. That is until she begins planning and executing her own secret missions with the help of her friends to combat the oppressive reigns of various rulers. One such mission to rescue the kidnapped grandfather of another ruler doesn't go exactly as planned when Katsa encounters another Graceling almost as talented in fighting as she is. A Graceling who will challenge every belief Katsa holds about the world around her and herself.

    Boy, oh boy, Katsa kicks butt. Really. She's not happy unless she's taking out an entire battalion of bad guys. She doesn't feel feminine (she even cuts off all her hair - I can totally sympathize!) but she still possesses this incredibly soft inner self which is slowly uncovered as she opens herself up to others. In her struggle to define, and perhaps more importantly, learn to control her Grace, Katsa strives to find the courage to take control of her own life. This fast-paced book practically flew by but still took the time to address even minor characters which left me feeling satisfied and thoroughly engaged throughout. Graceling is an adventure story, a fantasy, a mystery, a political suspense, a romance -- it has it all and doesn't stop for a second. I found myself thinking about Katsa long afterwards because by golly, how fun would it be to be able to KNOW you could take down anybody, I mean anybody, before they even noticed you had two different colored eyes?

    39 out of 41 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted January 12, 2010

    more from this reviewer

    A Great First Novel

    This is a very interesting young adult fantasy novel. The main character, Katsa, lives in a world where certain people posses extreme skills or talents, called a "grace". These people are called Gracelings, and they are easily recognizable by the fact that their eyes are two different colors. Katsa's grace is the ability to kill, and she's forced to use her grace as the King's enforcer. But what should she do when the King's orders go against everything that she believes and feels?

    This was a really good fantasy novel! I enjoyed it quite a bit. Lots of action and a good touch of romance. The only reason that I gave it 4 stars instead of 5 was because of the ending. There was this whole build-up around who the "bad guy" was and evading him and such, and then it ended really abruptly and was very anti-climatic. There was another section of the book after that to wrap up a few loose ends. I kinda liked that section, but at the same time it seemed a bit odd to me. Maybe it's trying to set up another book? Not sure. But overall, I am really glad that I read this.

    The only other problem I had was that I listened to the audiobook and I'm not sure if I recommend that. It was a full cast audio, so basically one reader for everything but the dialogue, and then a bunch of readers for the dialogue. And honestly, they were all pretty good. It took me a bit to get used to that kind of setup because I am so used to just one or possibly 2 readers. But I got used to it pretty quick. The problem I had was the music that they kept inserting into it! That drove me crazy! I kept feeling like I was watching some old movie where some says something that's supposed to shock or surprise you, then you hear "Dum, dum, dum" (or whatever the music happens to be). I just felt like laughing every time that they did it! Which is probably not a good thing since they were adding it to the parts that were supposed to be suspenseful! So, I think that I'd recommend reading it, not listening to it.

    14 out of 15 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 18, 2012

    Graceling tells the story of the seven kingdoms, in an almost me

    Graceling tells the story of the seven kingdoms, in an almost medieval type of style. The seven kingdoms each led by their own royal courts are constantly trying to get the upper hand against their rival kingdoms and trying to so to speak, flex their muscle for the other kingdoms to see. This book in particular followed Katsa the girl with the "Grace" for killing or so she thinks. The whole Grace system is basically a gene situation, where if a person is born or obtains (as they grow up) a Grace they are particularly good at something in their life and have two different colored eyes. There are tons of Graces, for example, swimming, mind reading, killing, and yes even tree climbing. When Katsa goes on a mission to save a kidnapped person, she meets someone who ends up changing her life and she also learns how to control herself and not be manipulated into doing the dirty work of her Uncle, King Randa. With Katsa's special abilities she is able to take out almost a whole army with her bare hands, a pretty neat trick. As Katsa, and her new "friend" Prince Po try to figure out why his grandfather was kidnapped, they uncover a web of lies and a situation that can only be stopped by literally taking control of your own mind.

    If that description sounds confusing..I'm sorry, but there is truthfully and thankfully a lot going on throughout the book.
    Lets just start by saying Katsa is a TOTAL bad ass. Grace or no Grace, the ability to take on ten armored men at one time and win, is something to truly boost about. Katsa changes a lot through the book. In the beginning she is this hardcore chick who no one truly understands and everyone is afraid of. She eventually begins to take control of her own life and that's when her transformation truly occurs. She starts to be way more compassionate and really avoids killing or hurting anyone at all costs. This all starts when she meets and begins fighting Prince Po as a way for both of them to practice their Graces. Po talks to her about letting herself decide who she wants to be, and Katsa truly starts to become her own person. There are a lot of truths that need to be uncovered throughout, for example, Katsa's REAL Grace, Po's REAL grace, and what the heck is going on in the Monsean Kingdom.

    This book was full of action, intrigue, and a hint of romance. The romance between Po and Katsa was not forced, and with how much time they were spending together on their journey, it was really inevitable that they would start to have feelings for each other. There is so much exciting action throughout that really anyone would be interested in knowing what was going on. I liked that for once in a YA book when it comes to hand to hand combat, the woman actually had the advantage and did a whooping on the guy. It wasn't a "oh save me Prince Po, I ever do need some rescuing." It was a more of a "Move out of the way this group of 15 soldiers is mine."

    While that was a good trait for Katsa to have, the whole idea that she had in her head that marriage and having kids was awful was not too exciting. I like my main characters to have a future together, not be separated by what they eventually want from life.
    The only other complaint I had about the book was the enduring journey. Yes, I understand it was trying to showcase how far they had to go, and how much they did in order to complete their mission, but it was just dragging on forever, specifically when Katsa and Bitterblue are alone in the harsh winter mountains.

    Other than those small things, I really did like Graceling. It was exciting, thrilling, and even shocking at times. It did have that (OH MY GOD) moment that books try to sometimes create...but end up failing at most the time. In Graceling it was perfect and totally unexpected. This truly is an adventure story that shows how far people will go in order to make a situation right.

    For the series in general, I have generally heard negative things about the second book of the series "Fire" which is a prequel to Graceling with different characters. Personally I hate when series do that, so I might be skipping that one. I however, won't be skipping "Bitterblue" the third book in the series that comes out in early May. This book will have more characters we know about and follow someone we meet towards the end of Graceling. I truly am excited for this one!

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted December 11, 2009

    Graceling

    Kristin Cashore begins her writing career with Graceling. Albeit it being her first novel, she has created a masterpiece that will reward any reader brave enough to pick it up.

    Graceling occurs in a land of kings and their courts. In these seven kingdoms live people with heightened abilities far beyond normal measure. They are marked with two differently colored eyes and given the title "Gracelings". Katsa, the king's niece and assassin, is one of these people. Unfortunately, she is Graced with killing. And in a land where the Graced are feared, Katsa, with her Grace and her occupation as an assassin, is totally and completely formidable. Amidst all this, Katsa struggles to find herself. She catches wind of intolerable acts from another kingdom, and she sets out, along with Po (another Graceling) and Bitterblue to discover the truth. While doing this, she attempts to break free from the hold her uncle has put on her and sort out her feelings for those around her.

    This book was very interesting to read. The plot was not too deep, but entertaining, nonetheless. Though at times, it seemed as if Kristin Cashore was forcing the characters and the plot along with the tip of her pen, and Katsa seemed fake at moments. Coupled with this and the way Kristin Cashore presents Katsa's view of marriage as a bit skewed, Katsa is still a strong female character who, for the most part, urges the reader to keep turning the page. Bitterblue is an impressive character who binds the story together, and Po is a delight. Overall, Kristin Cashore has created a spellbinding book that the reader won't be able to put down.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted September 18, 2009

    more from this reviewer

    Great story for anyone struggling to find themselves!

    In a land where the "Graced" are used as tools and toys for the King, Katsa struggles to maintain her independance. Katsa's grace is killing. Her uncle, the king, uses Katsa as a torturer and executioner to those in his Kingdom that have wronged him. Although Katsa's grace is used at the King's command, Katsa is only a young adult yearning to discover herself. This book is a great read for anyone trying to find themselves, especially teens. In a world where being different is looked down upon, Graceling teaches everyone to be who you are and love others for their gifts. Graceling is a great read for anyone and everyone and I highly reccommend it.

    2 out of 2 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted February 13, 2009

    I Also Recommend:

    Great first half, mediocre ending

    Wow, I just loved the premise that Kristin Cashore created about the Gracelings. This plot had so much potential and I loved the strong heroine. I was avidly reading the first half of this book. It was thoroughly enjoyable. I was impressed. Then somewhere Cashore lost something along the way. The themes became muddled, the tone seemed to change, and the ending with the villain lacked a climax. Then she kept on going after the ending with the villian, and threw in another plot that felt totally different from the rest of the book. It was unneccesary the way she ended it. I enjoyed reading this book, however I was disappointed with where the author took the story. Also, so much of the issues in the book remained unsolved, i.e. Katsa's control over her grace, her issues with independence, etc.<BR/>I can tell that this was Cashore's first book, and I have to hand it to her to come up with such a fun plotline. However, she couldn't keep up the magic that she created in the beginning.

    2 out of 3 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 28, 2014

    Undiscovered Fantastic Book

    Thrilling fantasy. Original.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 31, 2014

    Graceling

    An epic fantasy with just this book, include Bitterblue and Fire and you have a story worth re-reading.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 20, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    Creative Concept, Well Delivered Goodreads Blurb:

    Creative Concept, Well Delivered


    Goodreads Blurb:
    <blockquote>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...</blockquote>



    The beginning of an enjoyable new series, <em>Graceling</em>
    initially the story of the Lady Katsa, niece of the ruler of the Middluns, King Randa. Lady Katsa has a Grace, which for all people is initially announced when their eye color settles. All Graces have two differently colored eyes, in Katsa's case she has one green and one blue.

    King Randa collects children with Graces until their Grace develops, and keeps any that are useful at Court with him. If the Grace is something like swimming like a fish he sends the person back to their family. However almost all people are at least leery of Graces, but more often terrified of them. So even a harmless Grace such as swimming could still destroy a family if they are in a public business, as customers will avoid them at all costs. But Katsa's Grace announced itself at a Court event when she was eight-years-old. Something happened that made her feel unsafe, so she instinctively did what she could to protect herself, resulting in the death of a person. Unfortunately this happened in front of a large gathering. So the few people that had tolerated her now ran from her. If it hadn't been for young Prince Raffin, son of King Randa, Katsa wouldn't have had any friends for her formative years.

    She trained daily with the King's spymaster, learning to control herself. That eventually led to another friendship. And Helga, a serving woman who worked in the nursery made herself indispensable to Katsa, though Katsa cared no one whit for wearing the right gown, or dressing her hair for her appearances at Court.

    King Randa has treated Katsa as his enforcer, having her torture and kill at his command, as everyone knows Katsa has the killing Grace. As she grows older Katsa becomes more and more dissatisfied with torturing people for petty infractions. She creates something called the Council, right under King Randa's nose. The point of the Council is to right any wrongs they are able to. The most important one for Katsa is the rescue of the father if the Lienid King. He is being held in a rival King's dungeons, but no one can figure out the motive behind his kidnapping. It is a successful retrieval, but also the beginning of the most serious changes in Katsa's young life. For during their escape Katsa meets another Grace, a Lienid whose Grace is fighting. She can't figure him out, and rather than killing him she knocks him unconscious. Yet she can't stop thinking about him.

    Imagine her surprise when she finally returns to Randa's castle to find the Lienid Prince a guest there. Over time they get to know one another, becoming friends. Prince Po helps her master her fear of King Randa's control over her, and in turn she continues investigating why his grandfather was kidnapped to begin with. Only now she is chasing down leads with him.

    The two have many adventures, and learn an enormous secret. A secret that the owner will kill to keep. Yet they persist in the task they set for themselves, falling for each other along the way. Po is good for Katsa, helping her learn to control what she fears most, and in the process discovering there is more to her Grace than anyone thought. The interplay between Lady Katsa and Prince Po is entertaining, as is watching Katsa mature and grow into herself as time goes by. By the end of the book Katsa is quite different than she had initially been, as are many of the people she interacted with most closely. Certainly gratifying to experience, as were all the action scenes, as well as the level of suspense that was maintained for long stretches of the story. Certainly leaves me wanting to read the next book in the series!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted May 10, 2014

    more from this reviewer

    The book was okay, but its saving grace (sorry couldn't resist t

    The book was okay, but its saving grace (sorry couldn't resist the pun) is the unique magic system the author has created.

    Certain people have mismatched eyes and are graced, meaning they have a particular skill or talent. Some talents are as simple as a skill at cooking, but others are more mystical such as swimming like a fish or reading minds.

    Katsa has the Grace of killing. Her uncle, the king, uses her to dispense punishment to people who displease him, but Katsa’s not content to simply be her uncle’s pawn. She established the council to help people in trouble when the kings make unjust decisions. She thought she’d be alone, but the council has expanded and now spans the seven kingdoms. The council does things such as shelter farmers who are being punished for not paying their taxes after the king’s men trampled their crops.

    On one such mission for the council, Katsa goes to rescue the father of one of the kings who has been kidnapped. There she meets a young man who has the grace of fighting. She knocks him unconscious and returns to her kingdom with the kidnapped man only to have the graced fighter show up at her king’s court. The man’s name is Po and the man who was kidnapped is his grandfather and he’s here to rescue him.

    Deciding to trust this young man, whose silver and gold eyes have a disarming effect on Katsa, the council tries to figure out who kidnapped his grandfather.

    The first half of Graceling is quick paced and interesting. Then the characters go on a journey and it becomes a series of traveling and running. I've read lots of fantasy so I’m accustomed to such ‘journey’ novels, but it caught me off guard after the exciting beginning.

    The characters are good, but I felt like the idea of the main characters was better than the execution. (They started out well, but it’s almost as if the author couldn't keep up the good writing.) I liked all of the minor characters and kept wishing to see more of them, especially the villain.

    At around 50% there’s a sex scene making this an older YA novel, though you can see it coming and it’s easy enough to skip.

    If you’re one of those ‘show’ don’t ‘tell’ people the first two books of this series will annoy you. The author tells a lot and it feels like we’re missing some good stuff that happened. By Bitterblue the author’s figured out how to tell a story, she still tells how time passes, but unlike the first two books the telling flows naturally.

    SPOILERS 
    From the moment I learned the true nature of Po’s Grace I was afraid of what was going to happen. I hoped the author wouldn't be so obvious, but sadly she was.
    END SPOILERS

    Overall I don’t really recommend the Graceling books. They don’t live up their excellent premise. If you’re curious, I’d say read the first half of Graceling. Literally at 50% on my kindle is when it goes downhill. (Or uphill as they’re climbing a mountain.) Whatever you make up in your head for the rest of the book will be better than what happened in my opinion, though I doubt I could ever read half of a book.

    Graceling- 7 Stars (First half 8 stars, second half 6)

    Fire- 6 Stars (Same, First half 7 stars, second half 5)

    Bitterblue- 6 Stars (whole book consistent)

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted April 19, 2014

    i bought this book because of all the stars it has. i expected i

    i bought this book because of all the stars it has. i expected it to be this amazing adventure. And it was, mainly. i loved the characters, the plot, the dialogue, and details.

    It wasn't fast-paced in my mind, but i'm used to reading books like the hunger games and divergent.

    I did not like the ending. it almost felt like a how other story after the climax happened, and i did not like how Po ended up. i don't think the author made any kind of point by doing that and it just dragged the story on.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted February 18, 2014

    such a good read. left an impression on me

    such a good read. left an impression on me

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted November 7, 2013

    Very good!

    I greatly enjoyed this book and look forward to reading her other books!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted October 11, 2013

    I was looking for a new series to read and this book was recomme

    I was looking for a new series to read and this book was recommended to me by a friend who is also an avid reader. It was a nice breath of fresh air to read something new &amp; exiting. I was happy with the book &amp; story line. It’s full of surprises that will keep you guessing till the end of reading Bitterblue. I fell in love with the characters. If you enjoy this book then you must read the other two Fire &amp; Bitterblue. I recommend this book to anyone who likes fiction/romance/medieval kind of books. LOVE IT!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted August 3, 2013

    To some Graceling may initial seem a bit overwhelming as there i

    To some Graceling may initial seem a bit overwhelming as there is a lot of narration and explanation going on in order to setup the world and circumstances that Katsa finds herself in. For those tempted to put it down after the first few chapters, I would encourage to hang in there, because this book simply takes off into mysterious unknowns with unexpected events, and becomes a heart warming adventure of courage, dedication and love. This is one of the few fantasy books that I've read where there is no magic, and this makes it refreshing. Instead of magic, some people are born with a grace that only comes to light when the babies eyes change color. The grace allows them to have abilities beyond the average human, some may be able to swim really well, or hold their breath for long times. Katsa is faced with the grace of killing, and although being manipulated to be an assassin of her uncle the king, she yearns to be more and make a difference in this world. This mentality is something that all of us readers can associate with. Graceling although at times a bit boring and tedious, has a heartwarming story. Family friendliness is a 5. I think kids of all ages would enjoy it, however I would encourage parents to read the book with/for the younger ones.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 9, 2013

    One of the best books i have ever read, and i like to read!

    It was the perfect combination of adventure, romance and humor. It had a little bit of everything and thats what i loved so much about it. Also, the authir made it seem like you were right there beside the characters in the story facing their problems with them and at the end of the book you really feel like you know the characters and i feel that every book should leave you with that feeling. Its a must read and i actually might read it again! But im for sure reading the sequels to it!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted July 8, 2013

    I love it

    Its a super read

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Posted July 3, 2013

    Fun summer read

    A "graceling" is a person who has a special talent or "grace" that grants them abilities beyond those of normal humans. Graceling is the story of Katsa and Po, two Gracelings both gifted in combat, though in different ways. Part coming of age story, part romance, and part mystery, Graceling is a fast-paced, fun adventure that still manages enough substance to be both moving and thought-provoking. The narrative is unobtrusive yet deft enough to bring The Seven Kingdoms vividly into the reader's view. Chances are, Graceling will seem over all too quickly, and you'll find yourself looking for more titles by Cashore. If you're looking for a fun summer read, I highly recommend this book. Note: the violence and romance in Graceling are minimally graphic while still being key components to the story. Personally, I would have no problem with my 12 year old reading this, but if you're particularly concerned, you may want to read it before approving it for your pre-teen.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted June 10, 2013

    Exciting

    This was a fun ride!

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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  • Anonymous

    Posted May 20, 2013

    Great Adventure

    Great story - likeable characters. Hoping for a sequal (hint, hint) :) Well written and easy to follow. Good read for adults and teens alike.

    1 out of 1 people found this review helpful.

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