Release Date: October 1st, 2008
Publisher: Houghton Mifflin-Harcourt
Genre: Fantasy and Adventure
Rating: 4 STARS
His eyes, Katsa had never seen such eyes. One was silver, and the other, gold. They glowed in his sun-darkened face, uneven, and strange. She was surprised that they hadn't shone in the darkness of their first meeting. They didn't seem human....
Then he raised his eyebrows a hair, and his mouth shifted into the hint of a smirk. He nodded at her, just barely, and it released her from her spell.
Cocky, she thought. Cocky and arrogant, this one, and that was all there was to make of him. Whatever game he was playing, if he expected her to join him he would be disappointed.
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.(less)
THIS BOOK AHHHH!!!!!!!!! I've almost always found that in YA books even if the heroine is strong physically she always needs the help of some guy. But Katsa, oh Katsa, she does fine all on her own. Katsa is one of my favorite heroines because even though she's basically invincible physically, she needs Po and Raffin to help her stay mentally and emotionally sound while still not really needing them at all. Then her temper, OH LORD she can explode and usually thats not a very good quality in a main character. But Katsa, I don't know with her fighting is a release and it helps her keep being herself. And I love how she is always the one doing the saving no matter who she's with. It's wonderful.
Now that that's out of the way lets talk about the book. So when I first read this I ...really had no expectations for it. I had read the synopsis and just kinda bought it and hoped and prayed it would be good(how I did things before I met Taherah, my walking YA library). But this book totally blew me away...meaning I stayed up till 2 am trying to finish it(I didn't much to my disappointment). This book is super action packed and beautiful. It has such a well developed fantasy world, and the idea that people could have these amazing powers and just be shunned by everyone else. Just because they were different, just because they were better. And that the parents of these people could just give them away like they're cattle is just insane.
I also really loved the way that Kristin had Katsa progress through her friendships and relationships rather than just events that happened to her. Like the whole mind reading thing, I mean in the beginning of the book Katsa was so completely terrified oh having her thoughts stollen from her head. Then as a book progressed and her friendship with a certain mind-reader blossomed she got more and more comfortable with it. Then her relationship with Bitterblue helps her realize how self-less she is and how she would risk everything to help this one little girl. Everyone else saw it but it also helped Katsa realize how she wasn't as savage as she thought, although Po helped with that too.
UGH and then Po! How, how how how do I describe him? He's just spectacular. He is the perfect balm to Katsa's temper. AND OH MY GOD THEIR FIGHTS(physical ones)!!!!! They are so amazing the fact that he can fight her even with her amazing fighting/death grace is flippin fantastic. And Po is so strong and yet vulnerable towards Katsa. Mmmmaaaaahhhhhh. It's just a wonderful book and if you like fantasy and action and romance read this book. READ IT!!!