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 Graces 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..
Beware of spoilers!
It took me some time to fully get into this story. The first couple of chapters, to me, were full of info–dumping. I was confused, lost, on who was who and what King belonged to what land, etc etc. So it was a nice surprise, once that had passed, to get stuck in and enjoy it.
Katsa is a very strong character, but at times I thought overly so. She needed to stop being so self-reliant sometimes because it was very annoying. So what if she had help from someone? Or had someone to protect her? Stop being so stubborn!
In any case, she grew on me, and I found I could tolerate her more. I loved Po, too, and how he seemed to be her equal in most things. He balanced out her annoyances and I thought their relationship was inevitable, sweet, and slow burning, which made it even more interesting. Given that she was always “me woman. me need no man” in her behaviour, I found it funny when she ended up changing her perspective on things.
When she cut her hair, however, I nearly had to throw the book away. It completely tore me away from the character, the story, and had little to do with her action and more because of my dislike for boy hair cuts on girls, and ruined the image of her in my head. So basically, I had to reimagine her, though I chose at times to ignore it. I just had her with a pixie cut and not…what she had. *shudder*
Another slight annoyance I had with the book is how many times they’d say “Well,” at the beginning of a sentence/dialogue. Oh my god! I was ready to throttle someone. I know it was the author’s choice to have that as a story trait, but holy crap, I was getting infuriated. haha. But yeah, eventually I noticed it not happening so much and I calmed down.
I loved the world building, the scenery, the camping! If I could camp even a quarter as well as Katsa can, then I’d be well on my way to being awesome. She could do everything! I mean, it was unreal. Catching fish with her barehands, scaling snowed over mountains with a person on her back in freezing temperatures?! Okay so there were moments where I suspected of plot holes, as bits were not plausible, but I guess that’s the fun of story telling. It’s not reality and can be twisted.
I’m disappointed that the companion to this isn’t about Katsa. I’ve never been much of a fan of companion novels for this reason: it’s rarely from a POV I like.
I rated this four stars because it deserved it, despite the irritations I had. I really didn’t like Leck *shudders* and his Grace was awful. I could really imagine how terrifying it would be. The Graces for others were interesting, and I like how it’s just personal traits in real life, but exaggerated. Except for the being able to hear thoughts. That’s one I’d like to have. So yeah, if you haven’t already read Graceling, I recommend it. 🙂