Author: Kristen Cashore
Rating: 5/5 stars
"In a world where people born with an extreme skill—called a Grace—are feared and exploited, Katsa carries the burden of the skill even she despises: the Grace of killing. She lives under the command of her uncle Randa, King of the Middluns, and is expected to execute his dirty work, punishing and torturing anyone who displeases him.
When she first meets Prince Po, who is 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
Graceling is a very special book. It is powerful, fast paced, fun and full of fantastic things."
Basically, Katsa is the voice of feminism. She hates girly things. She lives her life proving that just because she is a girl doesn't mean she isn't tough. And oh boy is she tough. Not only is she pessimistic and tainted but she is also a badass. Like B A D A S S, man. But that is not all of her. She is also protective, sly and vengeful. She holds a grudge but would die for a cause. For example, her relationship with Bitterblue is a motherly one in someways. While Katsa on one hand doesn't know what to do with a child, she also puts the child's life before hers and does everything she can for her. She hunts lions. She makes shoes. She steals things and teaches her to use a sword. Katsa is one of my favorite characters in YA fiction, and is also a fantastic role model. And while some of her more violent actions are questionable she really does care and does stand her own. She is a lot like Katniss Everdeen, actually. Or Rose from Vampire Academy.
Then there is Po whose not only the love interest but also the relief of the novel. He is the optimistic counterpart of Katniss. Which leads to a swoon worthy relationship where they pull strength from each other. It is beautiful actually. And I have to add that Po is hilarious! It is great to read about a character who knows how to use irony correctly. I have to say the Katsa-Po banter is the best part.
Every secondary character is so interesting. Raffin. Randa. Bitterblue. Bann. Helda. Giddon. Oll. I can't even begin to get into all the awesomeness. I'd be here all night. Its just such a perfect novel in its uniqueness.
Let us talk about the Seven Kingdoms. Holy Shit. Best fantasy world ever. It is planned and connected and medieval and everything great. It has a warm "sitting by the fire" feel. Yet is cruel and dark. The language and diction is one of the main things that make the book so lovable. It is the life of the piece. And the world is the framework that makes it all possible.
Now for the ending. What was that? It this some sort of feminist thing? Are you going to be apart now for long periods of time? Are you kidding me? I want more Katsa and Po goddammit!!
I think it is time for me to stalk Kristin Cashore for more books. What do you say eh?
Ps. I am completly in love with this cover!