Graceling takes place in a traditional fantasy world where some people have been marked with heterochromia showing that they have a “grace” or power. When Katsa, our lead, discovered her grace she was only 8 years old. She killed a cousin who had….let’s go with intensions towards her. A grace for killing is rare and very valuable so she was trained in the household of her king to be a weapon that he wielded against traitors and any others who dare disobey him. As she comes into her own, she realizes that what her king wishes isn’t just and, along with his spymaster, create the Council that ranges throughout the kingdoms working for good. It’s while performing a mission for the council that she meets Prince Po, who is also graced. Po’s grace is a major plot point, so I don’t know how much I can actually talk about their relationship. Just know that he’s amazing, and I love him.
Katsa is a girl I can identify with – anti-social, stubborn. I loved that she doesn’t change her opinions based on what others think and that her ultimate goal isn’t to fall in love and get married. It’s refreshing in a YA book geared towards girls. Po’s character is a brilliant counterpoint to Katsa, he’s gregarious, very independent and although he helps Katsa become more outgoing, he does it on her terms. The romance in this book (because what would a YA book be without a little romance) is paced very well, it isn’t insta-love that happens to often. It develops slowly and through friendship.
This book was so good, I want to recommend it to everyone I know! I’ll admit, the last 20 pages or so were a bit of a letdown, which is why I give it 4.5 rather than 5 stars. Ultimately, though, it was a great read.