Rating: 3 Stars ★★★☆☆
In these dungeons the darkness was complete, but Katsa had a map in her mind.
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.
She never expects to fall in love with beautiful Prince Po.
She never expects to learn the truth behind her Grace—or the terrible secret that lies hidden far away . . . a secret that could destroy all seven kingdoms with words alone.
Well this was interesting. I quite enjoyed this story, though it also has a few weaknesses. I think my main problem with this book was Katsa’s Grace, her ability – it was just so all-encompassing. She could do anything. It was a bit much.
“You won’t even take your bow? Are you planning to throttle a moose with your bare hands, then?”
“I’ve a knife in my boot,” she said, and then wondered, for a moment, if she could throttle a moose with her bare hands. It seemed possible.
Apart from that, it’s a really enjoyable story. Katsa is a badass. She is also emotionally distant, because her uncle uses her as his personal pet assassin. For me, it worked, her uncle’s manipulation, the way she slowly freed herself from the thoughts of her worthlessness, it was good.
I also liked the relationship between Katsa and Po. They start out as sparring partners and slowly turn into lovers. Their chemistry was good and I liked how they slowly had to come to grips with each other’s powers.
“But I’d never need to protect you, if we were attacked. And I doubt you need me to do your hunting, either.”
“True. But you’re better than I am, Katsa. And it doesn’t humiliate me.” He fed a branch to the fire. “It humbles me. But it doesn’t humiliate me.”
What I really liked about this book, however, was the antagonist: King Leck of Monsea. Now he was great. Utterly creepy, utterly ruthless and with an ability to manipulate people that was beyond compare.
Interesting story with some cool characters.