Summary - 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.
She never expects to fall in love with beautiful Prince Po. She never expects to learn the truth behind her Grace--or the terrible secret that lies hidden far away. . .a secret that could destroy all seven kingdoms with words alone.
Review - This much adored novel had sat all by its lonesome on a shelf, ignored, for way too long. Telling the story of Katsa who as a child was deemed to be a Graceling “gifted” with killing. Having been at the beck and call of the King's wishes for years, Katsa's had enough. In the interest of not giving much away, it's this helplessness that acts a catalyst for her actions in this tale.
Katsa's adventures are something that whisk reader's along with their pace, danger, intrigue and romanticism. There's something for everyone (and plenty for those who have good taste). In her travels Katsa comes across a foreign prince, Po, who is searching for his beloved grandfather. This kidnapping brings attention to larger issues that are afoot in their lands and one that will ultimately start impinging on the safety of Katsa and her new friend.
Katsa is a strong, vibrant and angsty female who is fascinating on her own and as half of a romantic entanglement. Katsa and Po have great chemistry, both finding in one another, a person that understands their predicament in life. It's a slow burn relationship that rewards the reader throughout and at it's interesting conclusion. Most interesting is that Po understands and accepts Katsa's dominance over him in fighting and loves her regardless. He is a character of great strength in his particular grace and his ability to support Katsa.
Kristin Cashore has created a world brimming with vivid characters, all well rounded with understandable motivations. She's gifted at bringing grace, speed and vivacity to the physical aspects of Katsa's grace and the adventure as a whole. The pacing of the story in general was a little uneven, some parts drawn out, some startling fast but it added to the intrigue of the story. It is a title that should grace your bookshelf...I am now eager to get started on Fire.
Format: Paperback, 352 pages
Publisher: Orion Publishing
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