Author: Kristin Cashore
Length: 471 pages
Katsa lives in a world where some people are born with a skill called a Grace. While Graces are often feared, Katsa’s Grace of killing is especially feared and loathed. Katsa struggles with her horrifying Grace and what she must do with it under the command of her uncle, King Randa. Then Katsa meets Prince Po, Graced with the skill of fighting, and unexpectedly teams up with him to save all seven kingdoms in their land from a corrupt king and a dark secret.
This book is an easy contender for Best YA Book of 2012 for me (even though it came out in 2008). It has everything I loved about fantasy books as a kid and everything I love about YA now (think Tamora Pierce for older readers). Katsa is an amazing heroine with intense fighting skills and a good heart that rebels against her own power given through her Grace of killing. Po is an equally brilliant hero because he is the perfect seemingly-incompatible compliment to Katsa’s headstrong ways. While a romance does develop, Katsa doesn’t let it soften her, instead it improves her and she never gives up her own convictions against marriage.
An absolutely brilliant debut by author Kristin Cashore, I can’t wait for more from her! Luckily, because I’m late to this boat, there is a prequel, Fire, and a companion, Bitterblue, for me to read.
You can see the book trailer here.