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.
(Courtesy of Goodreads)
Overall, I really enjoyed Graceling, and I have only a couple of complaints. First, I didn't enjoy the ending as much as I would have liked. The ending felt very short and forced in comparison to the rest of the book. I was kind of disappointed at how it ended and how things were wrapped up so quickly. It just didn't seem to go together like how I'd pictured it would. I think I honestly was expecting more drama to play out, but everything was more-or-less hunky-dory. I was left just wanting there to be a bit more.
Second, and I'm not sure this is really even a complaint or just my opinion, but this book didn't really seem like it should be classified as YA. It felt a lot more like an adult fantasy novel, especially with the sex and violence, and granted neither were very detailed, but it makes me wonder if this book was marketed as a YA book just to sell more copies?
Nonetheless, I enjoyed this book, no matter where I think it should be classified as, and I'm looking forward to reading the companion novel, Fire. Although, I'm a little sad that it has different characters, since I feel like I spent this whole book getting to know Katsa and Po and I'd love to read more of their story.
Also, Katsa is one on a list of few fictional female characters that I actually like. I find that most female characters are either way too bitchy or way too whiny, or both. I like that Katsa is able to be assertive without coming off as mean, and to be strong without coming off as overly butch or unfeminine. She is a warrior but she's also a woman, and I like that the author allows her to be both, instead of being more rather than the other.