Ms. Cashore’s website: Graceling, my debut novel, is the story of Katsa, who has been able to kill people with her bare hands since she was eight. Katsa lives in the seven kingdoms, where very occasionally, a person is born with an extreme skill called a Grace. Gracelings are feared and exploited in the seven kingdoms, and none moreso than Katsa, who's expected to do the dirty work of torture and punishment for her uncle, King Randa. But then she meets a mysterious stranger named Po, who is also a Graced fighter and the first person ever to challenge her in a fight. The two form a bond, and each discovers truths they never imagined about themselves, each other, and a terrible danger that is spreading slowly through the seven kingdoms.
In the beginning, it was tough to keep some of the characters straight. Between Randa, Raffin, and Giddon, I was a bit lost at first. I just decided to read and that I would figure it out as I went along. It didn’t take long at all. Katsa is a strong character. I love her determination. I also applaud her wanting to educate young women on defending themselves. Another thing that I love about this book was the fact that I was totally surprised at what was wrong with Po, once Katsa figured it out. Often in books, enough hints are dropped along the way, that what you’ve thought, is only confirmed. But with this I was totally taken by surprise. I love that. I enjoyed this book and am looking forward to Fire which I hear is even better. The cover is lovely as well. I’ll give this 3 ½ roses.