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.
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… [Goodreads]
I’ve had this book for probably six months and haven’t picked it up since last night, and I’m really happy I did. It’s a welcomed break from the intensity of the other book I’m reading right now 🙂 and I looked it up after finishing it this morning to find that it has two companions, which is what I need for every single books I’ve ever loved.
One of my top favorite things about this book is that even though it’s not totally original in its ideas, the characters and plot are good enough to make it worthwhile. The main character/narrator, Katsa, is Graced (her special power is killing/surviving) and instead of trying to do good, she only treats her gift like a burden or inconvenience as opposed to a what it really is: something that could not only save her, but a power that could help change people’s lives for the better, something that she begins to understand in the story. That’s one of the strong underlying themes in this book: it’s not what you have that matters, it’s what you do with what you’ve been dealt. Katsa not only learns more about herself through her Grace, but also becomes a better person and a hero during the course of the story. Po, on the other hand, is gentle and kind from the very beginning, and is not so much the character that goes through all the change (even though he does go through some large changes) as he is the one who keeps the order. Although he’s a little boring sometimes, he’s a crowd favorite. Plot-wise, Graceling isn’t the most exciting, and it’s a bit anti-climatic, but it has some ‘on-the -edge-of-your-seat’ moments that kept me going through the dull ‘traveling to a kingdom’ parts. The plot was good enough to keep me interested, but I have to admit that the real reason I finished this book was because by the near end I had gotten so attached to these characters that I had to know what happened to them. 🙂
Overall, this book was pretty good. Not the best of its kind (but there are a million of these kind of books in the world so you can’t be too mean), so I would recommend it to people who really truly love these types of stories.
Rating: 3.75 stars
Favorite quote: “I’m going to name my firstborn child after you.”
Katsa laughed at that. “For the child’s sake, wait for a girl. Or even better, wait until all your children are older and give my name to whichever is the most troublesome and obstinate.”