Katsa was born with a special power - a Grace; she can fight anyone (or anything) and win. People think she's a monster because as a young girl she killed an older cousin. They avoid looking at her; they think she's an animal. People with Graces are not understood and treated as outcasts or worse. Her uncle, the king, uses her as an enforcer to inflict harm on people. Katsa is determined to use her power and her strength for good, and while on a mission she crosses paths with another Graced person. She's never met anyone like him, and she being with him is unlike any other time in her life. With him she finds herself drawn into a mysterious situation in a neighbouring kingdom; she learns that there may be more to her Grace than she had once thought.
[Warning: spoilers below, because I just want to talk about this book!]
I originally picked up this book because I was curious about Fire by Kristin Cashore. It's billed as a companion book to Graceling, and I wasn't sure if that meant it was a prequel, so I decided to start with Graceling first. I'm glad that I did, because I just loved this book. Katsa is a great, strong heroine; she is determined to live her life on her own terms. She has very feminist points of views about things, including marriage - she does not want to ever marry or have children, and she is very vocal about her opposition to being married off by her uncle (even when such a marriage would appear to save her life). I love finding feminist characters in books, especially ones who believe that their life does not revolve around a man, or that they have to change their own life to fit into someone else's. That said, I also loved the character of Po, and the way that he loved Katsa for who she was. I was not at all disappointed by ending; I found it very satisfying. The beginning of the book was a bit confusing, because it plunges right into an action scene, but by page 20 I was pretty much hooked on the story. I'm even more looking forward to reading Fire, and I'm also excited about Bitterblue, the book that Cashore is currently working on.
Read Kristin Cashore's blog This Is My Secret.
Find it at IndieBound.
Read it with:
The Disreputable History of Frankie Landau-Banks by E. Lockhart
The Hunger Games by Suzanne Collins
Savvy by Ingrid Law
Dreamhunter by Elizabeth Knox
Fire by Kristin Cashore