- Page Count: 471
- Release Date: October 1, 2008
- My Rating: 2.5 stars
Goodreads book description:
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…
Soooo I thought this was some kind of Hunger Games-type dystopian story about a girl who could kill with her touch for some reason and put off reading it because I wasn’t huge on Shatter Me. BUT then this turned out to be full of castles and princes and everything I love so that was a fun surprise!
I’m extremely neutral about this book, though. There were a few elements I liked (mostly the castles and princes), but the worldbuilding was weak and the writing itself was really dull. I didn’t particularly connect with anything throughout the slow plot, honestly. It wasn’t bad… it just kind of skimmed the surface of what it could’ve been. Some better worldbuilding or character development would’ve helped a lot.
I think I’ve just read so many other books about girl assassins/killers at this point that I needed a unique element or stronger story. SOMETHING. I thought the Graceling aspect was kind of underused or boring (aside from how Katsa’s eyes were two different colors). I wasn’t that into the romance, either. The fact that his name was Po didn’t help much…
I really wasn’t big on Katsa, though. Her character was equally hard to pin down, yet annoying. Like there’s a difference between being tough/badass and being straight up rude and she kind of missed the mark on that one. Katsa’s personality is mostly self-righteous aggression. I mean, SHE HITS PO — how is any of that ok?
And I wouldn’t necessarily herald this book as being feminist like I’ve heard because Katsa doesn’t really support or attempt to understand other women’s choices. The underlying message in some parts is pretty black/white… like women either have power or give it up to a guy. There isn’t a range of ways for women to be strong. (And it’s fine that she doesn’t want to marry, but if her independent identity actually hinges on not needing a guy, then it still revolves around men… just the lack thereof). Most of the story was just felt like a weird and poorly executed attempt to create a “strong” female MC.
So yeah, this book brought absolutely nothing new to the table and was just very, very average and anticlimactic. The best I can give it is a very neutral shrug… I didn’t actively dislike it, but I’m not sure I’ll check out the sequels.