Author: Kristin Cashore
Publication Date: October 1st, 2008
Rating: 3 Stars
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.
When she first meets Prince Po, 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...
-Summary from Goodreads
Not really sure where to start with this review. This book and I have been on a roller-coaster of audiobook to book, love to disappointment to like, May to August. It’s been kind of a crazy experience. I first started this book by listening to the audiobook on our vacation at the end of May.
Now I don’t listen to audiobooks often, I try to avoid them but the audiobook for Graceling had a cast of actors narrating the book and I thought it was completely amazing. I loved listening to it and it really brought the story to life. The first half of the book I completely loved; the characters, the plot, I couldn’t stop gushing about it.
Katsa was a great female lead. She’s strong, kick-a**, protective of those she loves, and isn’t afraid to take chances. She has the Grace of killing and is being used by her uncle to intimidate people or to kill them, whichever gives him the most gain. Katsa hates it but being Graced she has no choice and is under the control of the king. Katsa is both strong and weak and that’s what makes her interesting but sometimes I think she was a little too weak but I’ll get back to that later.
Katsa has never been matched before in her fighting skills. She can take out dozens of soldiers without breaking a sweat. Then enters Po. While she still could kick his butt, Po presented her with more of a challenge then anyone had in a long time and she admired him for that. I liked Po in the beginning, I thought he was a great character and the mysteriousness is always a bonus but halfway through something changed within both these characters that just made the book go downhill for me.
I’ll call it THE SCENE, when our two awesome characters decided it’s time to get intimate. Before this Katsa is strong, sarcastic, had a chip on her shoulder and liked to be her own person then after THE SCENE Katsa seems to lose a lot of that. She’s a lot more vulnerable, cries more frequently and she sometimes seems so attached to Po that she would break if she ever left him. She kept saying that she wouldn’t marry because she didn’t want to be controlled by anyone, which Po said he wouldn’t, but she appeared to transform into a weaker form of herself anyway. I get that a character needs some vulnerability but this was too much too fast in my opinion for Katsa. My rating of the book went from 4.5 stars to 2.5 very quickly just from the character and tone change.
I put the book down for over a month after that (by this time I had switched to the paperback) and just finally got back to finishing it this week. It got better with Katsa for a while but then I got to the ending and while it was sweet and non-cliffhangery, I still had a bit of a problem with it.
I loved the first half of the book but I lost enough interest in the later half to probably not continue on with the series though I may eventually try to give this one a reread.