[A quick note: This is the Fairyloot set of Graceling books that are the UK cover. They are all covered in gold foil. They have sprayed edges. They are a matching set, which you CANNOT get as hardcovers. I’m so in love with them. I went out on a limb and bought these before having read the series and I can already tell it was THE BEST decision! I have a couple extra photos of the whole set at the bottom.]
“𝐈'𝐦 𝐧𝐨𝐭 𝐠𝐨𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐭𝐨 𝐰𝐞𝐚𝐫 𝐚 𝐫𝐞𝐝 𝐝𝐫𝐞𝐬𝐬," 𝐬𝐡𝐞 𝐬𝐚𝐢𝐝.
"𝐈𝐭 𝐰𝐨𝐮𝐥𝐝 𝐥𝐨𝐨𝐤 𝐬𝐭𝐮𝐧𝐧𝐢𝐧𝐠, 𝐌𝐲 𝐋𝐚𝐝𝐲," 𝐬𝐡𝐞 𝐜𝐚𝐥𝐥𝐞𝐝.
𝐒𝐡𝐞 𝐬𝐩𝐨𝐤𝐞 𝐭𝐨 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐛𝐮𝐛𝐛𝐥𝐞𝐬 𝐠𝐚𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐫𝐞𝐝 𝐨𝐧 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐬𝐮𝐫𝐟𝐚𝐜𝐞 𝐨𝐟 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐰𝐚𝐭𝐞𝐫. "𝐈𝐟 𝐭𝐡𝐞𝐫𝐞'𝐬 𝐚𝐧𝐲𝐨𝐧𝐞 𝐈 𝐰𝐢𝐬𝐡 𝐭𝐨 𝐬𝐭𝐮𝐧 𝐚𝐭𝐝𝐢𝐧𝐧𝐞𝐫, 𝐈'𝐥𝐥 𝐡𝐢𝐭 𝐡𝐢𝐦 𝐢𝐧 𝐭𝐡𝐞 𝐟𝐚𝐜𝐞.”—Kristin Cashore
Katsa has been graced with the ability to kill with her bare hands. As the niece of one of the seven kings, she’s treated as his thug. Used to enforce his laws and do his dirty work. She’s feared. She’s alienated. And she has very few friends. Until the beautiful Prince Po comes into her life, and she finds herself falling unexpectedly in love with him. Together they must uncover the secrets of a kidnapping and stop a twisted king before he destroys all seven kingdoms.
I adored this! It felt like the perfect YA fantasy romance. It had all the aspects I enjoy, like magic, cool world building, wonderful characters, and a strong female protagonist. What’s not to like? It definitely lived up to the hype.
My favorite aspect of this book was the magic. It was WONDERFUL. The idea of “graces,” abilities people are blessed with, wasn’t original, per say. But I appreciated how the Cashore handled it. Even the name for the abilities “graces” and the fact that anyone with a grace has two different colored eyes, was really cool!
I liked that Katsa’s ability made her a bit of a morally gray character in the beginning. However, we never really saw her doing any of the “bad” stuff because her change of heart is what kickstarts the story. So the content was definitely YA. Overall, you don’t encounter a lot of female heroes with her…abilities. Yet, it was nice to see her struggle with her anger issues, making her flaw apparent.
“𝐖𝐡𝐞𝐧 𝐚 𝐦𝐨𝐧𝐬𝐭𝐞𝐫 𝐬𝐭𝐨𝐩𝐩𝐞𝐝 𝐛𝐞𝐡𝐚𝐯𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐥𝐢𝐤𝐞 𝐚 𝐦𝐨𝐧𝐬𝐭𝐞𝐫, 𝐝𝐢𝐝 𝐢𝐭 𝐬𝐭𝐨𝐩 𝐛𝐞𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐚 𝐦𝐨𝐧𝐬𝐭𝐞𝐫? 𝐃𝐢𝐝 𝐢𝐭 𝐛𝐞𝐜𝐨𝐦𝐞𝐬𝐨𝐦𝐞𝐭𝐡𝐢𝐧𝐠 𝐞𝐥𝐬𝐞?”—Kristin Cashore
I want to say that there weren’t any super “new” or “original” ideas here…but you’ve got to think about when this was written. If I would have read it when it came out, it would have been. For a debut fantasy written back in 2008, back before YA fantasy becomes as diverse as it is today, I was rather impressed with some of the forward thinking ideas.
I related most to Katsa’s desire to remain unmarried and refrain from children. While I AM married, I do not want children. Ever. Love them, they’re just not for me. Most people don’t ( or can’t) understand that. I’ve gotten plenty of “talks” about it. So the fact that Katsa didn’t want either impressed me, especially since there are many stories with female heroes who eventually get married, have kids, etc. But never fear, there is still TONS of romance in this book. I loved Katsa and Po. Loved them!
I would say as far as romance goes, this felt about half romance, half fantasy plot driven and I was HERE FOR IT. I love it when romance takes a more centered place in the plot. It was woven pretty seamlessly never took away from the overall story.
I can’t believe it took me so long to approach this series! I cannot wait to dive into the next book. The only potentially negative I had was that there was often a bit more “telling” than “showing” but the prose was lovely so that made up for it.
𝐌𝐘 𝐑𝐀𝐓𝐈𝐍𝐆: 𝟒.𝟓/𝟓⭐️