In the Seven Kingdoms, people born with an extreme skill, “Grace”, are feared and exploited. Katsa herself despises hers, killing. Her uncle Randa, King of the Middluns, commands her to punish and torture his enemies. Prince Po, with combat skills, becomes her friend, and she learns terrible truths about her Grace and a secret hidden far away that could destroy the realm.
My Review: I really enjoyed the world building and the concept behind Graceling. The idea of Graces (essentially super powers) and their limits was interesting. There was plenty of action, but never so much that violence didn’t have time to have consequences. There were major character arcs for Po and Katsa, their characters develop so much that they almost aren’t recognizable at the end. That’s not a bad thing. Kristin Cashore had a firm grip on who her characters were, and she wasn’t afraid to take risks to get them to change that much realistically. I really enjoyed this book and checked out the next two at my library as soon as I finished it.
That being said, I still felt a bit of a disconnect in this book. I liked the characters, I liked the world, but I never really felt connected to either. There was something about the pacing. So much happened in this book on so many different levels, and despite that it seemed to drag in places. It was still incredible writing, and I enjoyed it, I just wonder if maybe there was actually more than one book (or novella even) in this story. I could see the entire overarching plot of this one book being an entire trilogy without taking away a single thing that made it great.