Rating (Out of 5): ~3.5
Publisher: Harcourt Children's Books
Spoilers?: Some, with warning.
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.
I read this a while ago, and I enjoyed it. And I even liked the ending (since I know that lots of people didn't).
It's about Katsa, who has a Grace (which is a special gift that only some people have). And it's set in an older time, with kings and kingdoms and riding on horses and all that. And Katsa's gift is killing (only not really, but I won't spoil that), and she meets Po, who also has a Grace. And then something bad goes down with her uncle, and she has to do some stuff, a lot of which involves Po and Katsa getting closer, and then also with a little girl, who's pretty awesome.
I liked Katsa. She was definitely not a weak heroine, not only because she knows how to fight and live on her own, but also because she knows how take care of herself emotionally. (And, [spoiler,] with not too much trouble, she lets Po in.) And, despite what most people think, (and, as I said above), I actually liked the ending. [SPOILER of the ending!] Most people seemed to take her going off on her own as her being heartless and that she wasn't going to stay with him and all that, and they didn't like it. I don't think that's what she meant. It's just that she doesn't want to marry, and I don't see why that's a big deal (but that might just be me, because of my personal thoughts on marriage). And just because they weren't going to get married doesn't mean that they aren't going to stay together. I believe she says that they are going their own ways for a bit, since they have some things to take care of (which is understandable, and not a bad thing for them to do on their own), but that they were going to be meeting up with each other later. And not only did that seem fitting, but I also liked it. [End Spoiler!]
And I liked Po. He's sweet, and I like him with Katsa. And I loved Raffin, and wish we got to see more of him. Bitterblue, also, was sweet and very smart for a little girl.
The adventure and the writing in the book I also liked, and it kept me interested. Even with this book's length, it wasn't hard to get through. (Although I do see why some people would find it hard to get through, because of how long it is. I, however, didn't have this problem.) And the romance, and relationship building, between Katsa and Po is very nice (and there's also some sex, once, but it's not explicit or anything).
So, this was pretty good. And I haven't read the next one yet (Fire), but I will, at some point.