This was such a treat to read. It has all the things I love in a book.
two cups Adventure
one teaspoon intrigue
a pinch of mystery
and a dash of love.
Ok that was a bit trite, but in all honesty this was such a good book.
Gracelings are gifted children that are prized and feared. They are born with eyes that don't match and graces that surpass any normal person. Graces are what they are gifted with. Some have the grace to cook, turning out dishes and soufle's that would cause your mouth, eyes, and nose to water while your stomach clenches in anticipation, while others have graces like holding your breath for a long amount of time or being able juggle better than anyone else. However, some graces can be dangerous and even deadly.
Katsa, who was born with a killing grace serves her uncle, the king as his hitman. Katsa's first time ever killing a man happened when she was only eight years old. It was an accident. She hadn't even known what she had done--hadn't even known her hand had moved to cause the deathly blow to the mans face. As her uncle sends her on more and more missions to bring to heel his enemies, or anyone else who doesn't fix his fancy, Katsa grows weary and guilt ridden with each new assignment.
The only thing that helps her are the secret missions she conducts with fellow comrades who are dedicated to helping those in need called the council. On one of these missions Katsa comes face to face with an opponent that for the first time in her life is able to match her skill. He is a Lienid prince named Po, and together Katsa and Po work to solve a mystery that no one seems to either recognize or know the answer to.
I am a sucker for strong heroines. Katsa had me reminiscing about my Tamora Peirce days :)
And Po? I have to admit, every time I saw the name I had a dumb little smile playing on my face. Like the intriguing Lienid Prince didn't match the name Po for some reason, but I didn't know why. Then, I went to a Halloween party and one of my friends came dressed up as the panda from Kung Fu Panda (A funny little cartoon movie). I bursted out laughing, it hit me then, I kept associating Po from Katsa's world with Po from Kung Fu Panda, LOL, can you imagine? Katsa, a graceling fighting machine facing off with a chubby Panda? :) . Anywho, back to the book-- Katsa is such a wonderful, strong, likable, character. Po as well is a likable character, mysterious and intriguing. They both are flawed which makes them real. The book starts off just how I like them to, plunging you straight into the action as Katsa and two of her fellow comrades who are on the council are in the heat of a mission.
The story is action packed and simply wonderful. While yes Katsa is a graced killer and Po, not being deterred by Katsa's unsettling graceling mis-matched gaze, as many others are, do have alot of action packed adventure, there is still a lot of story to go with it!
Po's and Katsa's journey had me traveling along with them, and when they were met with evil I found myself scared as well. . . You know that ice cold chill that sets in the pit of your stomach that has you thinking "No, no, this can't be happening." Yep, just like that :) This was really a good book and definitely a "to-buy" on my shelf. Best part? There's a sequel! and even another one after that! hehe
Oll strode into the room. At the sight of the scratch on Katsa's face, his mouth dropped open. He turned to Po and saw the black eye. He turned back to Katsa. He began to chuckle. He slapped his hand on the table and the chuckle turned into a roar. "How I would love to have seen that fight, My Lady. Oh, how I would love to have seen it."
Po was smiling. "The lady won, which I doubt will surprise you."
Katsa glowered. "It was a draw. No one won."
"I say." It was Giddon's voice, and as he entered the room and looked from Katsa to Po, his eyes grew dark. He put his hand to his sword. He whirled on Po. "I don't see where you come off fighting the Lady Katsa."
"Giddon," said Katsa. "Don't be ridiculous."
Giddon turned to her. "He had no right to attack you."
"I struck the first blow, Giddon. Sit down."
"If you struck the first blow then he must have insulted you--"
Katsa jumped up from her seat. 'That's enough, Giddon--if you think I need you to defend me--"
"A guest to this court, a total stranger--"
"Lord Giddon." Po had risen to his feet, and his voice cut through hers. "If I've insulted your lady," he said, "You must forgive me. I rarely have the pleasure of practicing with someone of her caliber, and I couldn't resist the temptation. I can assure you she did mor damage to me than I did to her."
Giddon didn't take his hand from his sword, but his grimace lessened.
"I'm sorry to have insulted you, as well," Po said. "I see now I should've taken greater care of her face. Forgive me. It was unpardonable." He reached his hand across the table.
Giddon's angry eyes grew warm again. He reached out and shook Po's hand. "You understand my concern" Giddon said.
Katsa looked from one of them to the other, the two of them shaking hands, understanding each others concern. She didn't see where Giddon came off feeling insulted. She didn't see how Giddon had any place in it at all. Who were they, to take her fight away from her and turn itinto some sort of understanding between themselves? He should've taken more care of her face? She would knock his nose from his face. She would thump them both, and she would apologize to neither.
Po caught her eyes then, and she did nothing to soften the silent fury she sent across the table to him. "Shall we sit?" someone said. Po held her eyes as they sat. There was no trace of humor in his expression, no trace of arrogance of his exchange with Giddon. And then he mouthed two words. It was as clear as if he'd said them aloud. "Forgive me."
Giddon was still a horse's ass.