4 of 5 Stars
I enjoyed this story very much. The idea of “Graces”, an ability that allows the user to become the best at something, ie, fighting ability, seeing, hearing, green thumb, etc.
This revolves around Katsa,a young royal Graced with the ability to survive. Her ability is misused by the King until she breaks the ties and goes on her own. After that, nefarious schemes are revealed about another king and a young princess and Katsa must kill the one and save the other.
A lot of cool action, fighting, locales all over the various kingdoms, meeting various members of the “Council” [an underground movement to limit the damage done by uncontrolled kings] and seeing the beginnings of a united government because of the council.
Katsa’s view that marriage was a bad thing. Commitment and self-sacrifice for another, in a marriage relationship, was put lower than eating pig swill. Then the author elevates “being lovers with the ability to walk away with no strings attached” as somehow being good. I wouldn’t let kids read this, not until they had a good foundational understanding of what Love truly is, not just the fuzzy, wuzzy feelings.
Overall, a good story. There were times that I rolled my eyes at Katsa’s actions, but seeing as how this was written by a woman, about a woman for young women, the eyerolling was just a natural manly reaction on my part.