Author: Kristin Cashore
Publisher: Graphia: Houghton Mifflin Harcourt
Katsa has been able to kill a man with her bare hands since she wasd eight - she's a graceling, one of the rare people in her land born with an extreme skill. A 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..."
"In these dungeons the darkness was complete, but Katsa had a map in her mind. One that had so far proven correct, as Oll's maps tended to do."
There are times when I had listened to book recommendations sooner. I've been hearing wonderful things about this book since it first came out. One of my coworkers really loved it and gets excited every time he hears news of sequels or companions or whatever. And, I guess when we finally got our paperback copy in, I decided to give it a shot.
And man was it worth it!! Sometimes I shy away from high fantasy - I'm not always in the mood for a new world with new rules and such. But this one was well worth the mental effort. To be fair, there wasn't a whole lot of mental effort required. This book is written so well, I almost felt like I'd fallen into a warp that transported me there. Everything was just so seamless and well done... I was just really impressed.
Not only is the writing flawless, the characters are distinct and very original. I hope they don't make a movie of this one because I don't want to see it screwed up, but I'd love to see a movie of it just to get an interpretation of the characters. That didn't make sense, did it? I'd like to meet the characters - that's better. They were all just so... powerful, complex, introspective, mostly good hearted.... the list goes on.
One thing I really appreciated was the absolutely powerful female main character. I know there are lots of female main characters - but no one can hold a candle to Katsa (well, maybe Katniss from Hunger Games - they're actually a little similar in toughness and all). Anyway, she's awesome and I loved her ending (no, not her death - where she ended up at the end of the story). It just all fit so well and made me so happy!
I'm officially recommending this book to literally everyone. I think adults will love it just as much as teens. There is a little of the hanky panky, so perhaps not young teens. The adventure of it will interest the guys (not just the guys, but you know) and there is a bit of romance for those that love it. I also really think that the writing will just draw anyone into the story - enough so that you almost don't remember that you're reading about a place that doesn't exist.
The author has a really active blog, so go take a look at that. I'm nervous about reading Fire because it's not exactly the same characters... but maybe I'll give it a try. I think I might be more excited about Bitterblue that is due out later this year. Guess we'll see!
Other Blog Reviews:
Hip Librarians Book Blog
The Dramaturge at Home
S. Krishna's Books
There are lots of other reviews, so take a minute to look around!