Author: Kristin Cashore.
Published October 1st 2008 by Harcourt.
Sort: Part one of ‘Graceling Realm.’
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
I loved all the different Graces and how people use them in their normal life. Being a Graceling means being feared and almost shunned by others, especially Katsa. For her Grace is deadly and she is used by her uncle to spread fear and obedience. It was fun seeing her grow into her Grace.
Katsa is a wonderful character. She is incredibly strong and intelligent, but what I loved about her was the fact that she shows her vulnerable, soft side. It made her realistic and it shows that she isn’t perfect. I always appreciate complexity in characters. The fact that she starts a Rebellion against her uncle made me admire her and her courage. Her banters with Po were adorable.
Po comes very close to being too perfect. He has a special Grace he must hide from everyone and he is the only one who comes close to Katsa’s fighting level. I still liked him and I shipped them together like crazy. There was something between them, that spark I look for in romance. Not only that, there is enough time to make it believable for me. When Katsa finally stand up against her uncle, she flees together with Po on an important mission. Po's grandfather was kidnapped by one of the neighbor kingdoms and they must find out who and why? They develop a friendship on their journey and it brings them in a dangerous situation. This was an interesting plot and I liked the villain.
We’re also introduced to some other characters. Not all of them are completely fleshed out, but I feel like I know enough of them to make them stand-out as individuals. I especially liked the young Bitterblue, who complicates the case with her appearance. I’m definitely intrigued to find out more about Bitterblue. Cashore showed me that she knows how to write. An easy writing-style, an engaging plot and a solid world-building, I can’t ask for more.