Monday, April 25, 2016

Graceling Review: Katsa

Book: Graceling
Author: Kristin Cashore
Series: Graceling Realm #1
Genre: YA fantasy
Publisher: Harcourt
Pages: 471
Release: October 1st, 2008

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...

Allow me to be the first to shamefully admit that though I have come across this book and series numerous times, even skimmed through it in bookstores, I never felt the burning desire to read it. 

What. Have. I. Been. Doing. With. My. Life? NEWEST OTP.

In an absolutely unbelievable whirlwind of emotions, I have reached the conclusion that I have been a naive fool. I am in complete awe of Cashore's book. I wasn't even 100 pages in, and already I dreaded reaching the end and saying goodbye to Katsa and Po.

Words fail to describe how amazing Katsa was. She's the girl I've dreamed of being, struggling with issues every girl in her position would be. I absolutely loved how strong she was, and how she learned to stand for herself, that she has the power both over her abilities and over herself. No king can hold her. Her fear of a domestic life really put into perspective how sexist a society we, and Katsa, live in, and how she absolutely refused to bow down to it. Katsa feared being tied down to a man, to forever live in his shadow and be bound to his name, and having her identity and freedom stripped away. She wan't cocky over her fear of being dependent or having her freedom stripped away; it was a genuine fear, as it literally threatened her identity. Katsa was also able to make the do the hard things, and though it did take some prodding to do it, she still did what she had to. Everything she did, she absolutely triumphed through intellect, combat, and perseverance. I kept waiting for her to stumble, but not once did she!

"She wouldn't hurt you," Giddon said. "Do you understand? But if someone were to hurt you, Lady Katsa would likely hurt that person."

Prince Po captured my interest right from the start. An exceptional fighter, he proved time and time again that he was ever bit Katsa equal. He brought home the difference between being humbled rather than humiliated by a girl with far superior skills than a man. He accepted Katsa completely who she was, a fighter rather than a "proper" court lady, and never once pushed her for anything other than their own survival and for Katsa to learn that she is powerful. Katsa to him was a comrade, someone he knew would have his back, as he would have his. Po's personality and desires were so far from what I expected of a prince; he didn't want power, didn't want the throne, didn't want to be forced to be involved in political schemes. He simply wanted to live, and that fit right well with Katsa's personality. He was his own unique character, constantly growing, risking his own life and reputation to do what is right. His loyalty to family was truly admirable in every way. I wish I had him as a relative!

"Katsa," he said. "Listen to me. You're the most powerful person I've ever met. You can do whatever you want, whatever you want in the world. No one can make you do anything, and your uncle can't touch you. The instant you walk into his presence, you have all the power. If you wish not to hurt him, Katsa, then you have only to choose not to."

The world of the Graceling was perfectly built. From the luscious descriptions of Liend to the horrendous and dangerous mountains, the author perfectly captured the essence of both the best and the worst parts of the seven kingdoms. The societies within the kingdoms themselves were similarly well constructed, politics and other royal intentions laid bare for us to explore. The world building was just phenomenal! 

The character dynamics between Katsa and Po never once got boring. Both Graced fighters, they literally were an unstoppable team, but they never let their physical abilities hinder their judgement. It's not their abilities that carried them through their journey, but their intellect and overall strength of their hearts. They didn't need to rely on their fighting strength to get information; rather, they relied on other things, and most especially, on each other.

The plot of this book was full of unsuspecting deviations and revelations, the pace fast with adventure and action. Adversary came from natural elements, soldiers, other kingdoms, and other Graces, making this one heck of an journey for both Katsa and me. I totally would recommend this book to anyone who wants a little more kickass heroines in their lives, who don't bow down to the whims of others, and stand completely strong by themselves!


    I’m so happy you liked this book! This is so on point, and you put it in such a good way! See now why this is one of my favorite books?

    Cashore managed to put emotions in the right place and make them shockingly poignant. Katsa and Po are two of my favorite characters in any book ever, they work so so well together and are both so unique in the main character world!
    I can’t wait to get to the next two! :D

    1. I'm literally over the moon with this book! I cannot thank you enough for suggesting we read this. It's absolutely amazing! I can't wait to read the other two! :D

  2. ALSO wouldn’t this be amazing as a movie!?

    1. OH MY GOD YES!!! Can you imagine just how epic and amazing it would be? I would watch it every day and memorize the entire movie line for line if I could!

  3. i have heard so many great things about this book! i just got it for christmas from my friend and now im really looking forward to reading it :)

    1. Ahh, you're definitely in for a treat! This is such a great book. I hope you enjoy it as much as I have! :)

  4. You really make me want to read this! It's been on my TBR list for a while, but, like you, I've never been crazy about wanting to read it. But Katsa sounds amazing!! And Po as well :D Great review!

    Lipstick and Mocha

  5. WOW. Wonderful review. I'm now wanting to read this book even more!!!!!!!

  6. I'm so glad you loved this! I read it such a long time ago and never picked up the second book! The shame! If I do continue with the series I'll have to reread the first book, but I'm not complaining. :D Great review!

  7. I'm so happy you loved it book. I find myself using the term 'badass heroine' far too much in YA but I feel like this saying was invented because of KATSA, talk about badass! I loved everything about her, I was in awe of her spirit and determination the entire book, she was such a wonderful MC to follow. I loved the detailed world and the graces, they were so interesting but I must admit, I have such a soft spot for Po. Especially after everything tat happened, so so sweet <3

    I'm so glad you loved this but it was given because this books is all kinds of awesome :P
    Lovely review!!

    Cody @ Literary-ly Obsessed

    1. Katsa is literally the founder of the term 'badass heroine'! And don't get me started on Po, I just sigh every time I think of him. Like you said, so so sweet <3