I read a hardback copy with the right cover, but I LOVE the left cover. I checked this book out from the library.
Graceling is set in a world where certain people are born with Graces. The Grace of deception, the Grace of fire, and more. Katsa's Grace is killing. She found out about it at a young age when she accidentally killed a man trying to touch her, and her uncle King Randa soon began using her as a thug. This is Katsa's story as she grows into her own woman, investigates a mysterious kidnapping, and falls in love.
I've seen this book around, but when I saw it at the library, I decided not to put off reading it anymore. I really liked it. I haven't read a lot of stand-alone fantasy novels, so it was nice to see one. It doesn't have the constant action and adventure I was expecting, but it is a thrilling read. The story was fascinating, especially Graces and the Council. I'd like a sequel about the Council's doings around the seven kingdoms, but Bitterblue will do.
The romance was just right. I like how compatible Katsa and Po are from the beginning. At times, I thought Katsa was too invincible. The fact that she could survive absolutely anything brings down the suspense. But I enjoyed reading about her inner turmoil as she was used by her uncle, as she decided to step away from him, as she was falling in love with Po. I wasn't a huge fan of the anti-marriage, casual sex attitude, but I understood Katsa's point of view.
I'm looking forward to Fire, which I put a hold on at the library. I'd like a more vulnerable female character, but I guess young adult literature (and literature in general) has plenty of those. For every Katsa, there are a thousand Bellas. And no, the similarity between Katsa and Katniss was not lost on me. ;)