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 . . . a secret that could destroy all seven kingdoms with words alone. With elegant, evocative prose and a cast of unforgettable characters, debut author Kristin Cashore creates a mesmerizing world, a death-defying adventure, and a heart-racing romance that will consume you, hold you captive, and leave you wanting more.
This book was a roller-coaster of highes and lowes, and to be honest I would have given it up if my mom hadn’t said it was good. And I’m glad she made me continue because in the end it was a pretty good read.
This book started from page one as super kick-butt, and I was really enjoying it. It was good up until a little bit after Po was introduced, when Katsa finds out the truth about his Grace (I’m not going to tell you guys, you have to read the book and find out :P). And from then on it was down-hill. First off, she freaks out for literally 20 pages about how “Po lied to her” and how “she can’t trust him anymore”. It was so freaking annoying because Podidn’t lie to her. He didn’t tell her anything except that his grace was fighting. And the way that Katsa finds out is super easy too. It’s when her would-be-suitor says the exact same words that Po used one time and bam! She knows what Po is. And I’m not overexagerating it, that’s really how it was. And then we come to the problem with the romance. Literally, one day, completely out of the blue, Katsa wakes up and loves Po. And then the next day, they’re already kissing and doing It. And I’m not overexagerating that either. The romance developed in the space of a two pages. I’m not kidding. So the first part of this book was horrible, and I was all set to give it one star.
And then the second part began. This one was completely opposite. Since this is Cashore’s debut novel, I think what happened was that she was maybe nervous, or didn’t really know how to develop the story in the first part, but in the second she grew more confident and really wrote amazingly. Yes, this should never happen in a book because the editor should never let that slide, but it did in this one, and luckily the second part was good enough to make up for the trainreck that was the first part of the novel and then some.
The writing got much better, there was a ton more action, and the romance grew really sweet. There was better staging and story line, and it was like night and day compared to the first part of the novel. The ending was really good too. I literally couldn’t stop reading.
In the beginning of this book (the sucky part) I despised Katsa. I keep on hearing how she’s a really kick-butt character and all, and I agree she is kick-butt, but she wasn’t a good character. She was violent, malicious, and thought the way to solve a problem was by bashing someone’s face in. No, just no. But as I kept on reading, she became more of a likable character. She was still super kick-butt, but she was also nicer, more caring. And I realize what Cashore did with her, and I must admit it was pure genius. She showed how, over the course of the story, Katsa changed from this malicious girl to a really nice, still super kick-butt one. I really have to tip my imaginary hat to Cashore because she really did an amazing thing by doing that, and really added to the story. It also made the romance sweeter.
Then there is Po. In the beginning I didn’t really like him (whenever I read his name I always think of the panda from Kung Fu Panda) but as I kept on reading I really started liking him, especially once the romance started happening. He was kick-butt, caring, nice, and really the perfect guy. I felt like crying at the end because something bad happened to him (no, I am not telling you) and it was so sad because I really liked him. :(
The other character in this book that I think is worth mentioning is Bitterblue. For a ten year old girl, she was super kick-ass and I really liked her. she was eager to learn and by the end of the book could really use her knife.
One more thing I have to say is that I really like how Cashore made Katsa realize what was wrong with Po. I really got on her in the beginning of this review for making the sudden understanding happen without any staging, but I think this one was very nicely done, and it was very imaginative how she did it. Literally the only reason I didn't give this book 5 stars is because of the first part of the book (sudden understandings without any staging, and some super insta-romance that I can't stand.)