Graceling by Kristin Cashore
My rating: 5/5
Summary (from Goodreads): 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, and in her case horrifying, 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... a secret that could destroy all seven kingdoms with words alone.
Breaking my heart, bringing me further and further in, Graceling was fascinating the whole way through. Once I was started, I couldn't stop, and I actually ended up walking around while reading this book.
This was given to my brother as a birthday gift, but I got to it before him. I started by just reading the first page, and I was already intrigued, with questions running through my mind. Why is she running through a dungeon sort of place in the dark? What is her mission? Where? Who is she? And many more than just that. Just by hearing what Katsa's Grace was made me interested; graced with killing, she was already someone that you would want to read about. (For anyone that doesn't know what a Graceling is, it's a person who has eyes of two different colours, and has a special talent.) The main reason that this book rates five stars is because of the characters, so I'll start with them.
Katsa: Katsa is the main character in this book. Although she is Graced with killing, she obviously wants to do the opposite. I love the battles that she's fighting with herself, and there's more than one. There's the fight about whether she really is just the kings' dog, or if she can actually do something about that. She's scared that if she defies the king, and he maker her angry, then she'll kill him. Even though she doesn't like him, she's scared of what will happen if she kills him, if she really would be a slave to her anger. Her other battle is about Po. She loves him, but she can't decide whether she wants to marry him, because she still wants to be her own person, free to do what she likes. This is an interesting part because I could never really tell what her ending decision would be.
Po: I loved Po. He was a great character, full of life, pain, and love. He wanted to tell Katsa his secret, but wasn't sure if he could trust her. That's one of the reasons why I like him; he has to really trust a person to tell them something that almost no one else knows. I can connect to him because of that, I don't like to say much about myself before I really trust the person. He always kept calm on the outside, even if he was really angry. Another thing that I liked a lot about him is that his personality is so lifelike. All his feelings are so possible, so realistic, that anyone in the world is like him at one point in their personality. But in this book, it seems unique, such a strange way of putting regret, anger, pain, love, and sadness together.
The plot and the suspense in this book are also enjoyable, keeping you going and making you want to read more.
This book was definitely worth all five stars!