In a world where people born with an exceptional skill, known as a Grace, are both feared and exploited, Katsa carries the burden of a skill even she despises:the Grace of killing.
As a Graced killer who has been able to kill a man with her bare hands from the age of eight, she’s forced to work as the king’s thug. Feared by the court and shunned by those her own age, the darkness of her Grace casts a heavy shadow over Katsa’s life.
Yet Katsa remains defiant, and when the King of Liend’s father is kidnapped she investigates, and stumbles across a mystery. Who would want to kidnap the old man, and why? And who was the extraordinary Graced man whose fighting abilities rivalled her own?
The only thing Katsa is sure of is that she no longer wants to kill. The intrigue surronding the kidnapping offers her a way out and little does she realise, when she takes it, that something insidious and dark lurks behind the mystery, something spreading form the shadowy figure of a one eyed king.
I loved the world the author has created as the setting (I dreaded the map at the beginning fearing it would make me confused but after finishing the book, I could almost draw it out on paper without looking to it!) The concept of Gracelings is very interesting I was looking forward to how they would be used.
A problem I found was the climax was built through suspense after reading Katsa's tiring journey for hundreds of pages and Bang! in a few sentences the person that needed taking care of was eliminated. In my opinion, what started as a fantasy adventure novel, turned into romance novel with a fantasy backdrop. I didn't really feel the connection between Katsa and Po. There was a lot of explaining about their feelings which I found myself wanting to skip and get into the adventure of the book. I can't see how Po likes Katsa...she's angry and agitated the majority of the time.
Other than that, Graceling was a very engaging read. I enjoyed the action, suspense and gasp-worthy moments.