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 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.
With elegant, evocative prose and a cast of unforgettable characters, debut author Kristin Cashore creates a mesmerizing world, a death-defying adventure, and a heart-racing romance that will consume you, hold you captive, and leave you wanting more.Sometimes when I read a book over, I find it to be only a flipping through of the best parts, but this time I read the book again. I also found the story to be all the more fascinating. I captured and remembered moments that were to awesome to be flipped through. I also noticed that Katsa reminds me of the lead female in another series that I just recently finished. They have similar names and and even more similar personalities. Katsa and Katniss are alike in the way that they fight to survive, in the the way that they refuse to be controlled and in the way they are totally oblivious to the men that love them. Although similar to Katniss and The Hunger Games, Katsa and Graceling are wonderfully unique in its own way.
Katsa is an independent, strong girl and she is very hurt to be saddled with her particular talent, or grace. I love the way handles the fact that she is a killer and that she recognizes that she is not in control. She identifies the problem and goes to solve it and doesn't just sit around whining about it. But here is where Po comes in. I think Po had a lot to do with Katsa's remarkable growth in the story. He had a great grace also and has seen more than Katsa. He pushes her to acknowledge that she is always in control and he inspires her to set out the journey to finally finding herself.
There is one thing that is unique to Graceling and it is the thing I've had the most difficulty understanding. Katsa's refusal to marry. I am one of those girls who dreams of a big white wedding and to me, when Katsa had a man like Po, I don't see why she wouldn't want to marry him. She claims to be at risk of losing herself if she marries him, but I don't think that is what marriage is. In the end, Graceling deals with the situation gracefully, but I still think that Po gets the short end of the stick.