Worth It Wednesdays is a weekly post where I feature my favorite YA titles. Find out more about it here!
Author: Kristin Cashore
Goodreads Description: 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…
Why it’s worth it: Honestly, I’ve been giving this book so much love lately … I thought I’d already done this. An exhaustive search of my own blog proved this to be untrue, so I KNEW it had to be this week’s pick.
I’ve just recently re-read this book, because I used it for my first thesis chapter. Out of the five books that I read, only this one and Throne of Glass stood up to the test. While it has it’s issues, it was easily leaps and bounds better in every category than any other book than Throne of Glass.
Katsa is not a shirking violet, afraid of herself and her powers. She also isn’t a bloodthirsty killer. She is, somehow, both, in a way that makes her more human than a lot of other stereotyped assassins. The world around her is rich and deep, as Cashore really thinks about her world as a true globe, not just a few places. It’s interesting and engaging, and it all makes me want to live there and be Katsa’s best friend.
Katsa, however, doesn’t have many friends, and that’s what makes Prince Po special. Yeah, you can tell from just the blurb that there is going to be a romance there, but GUESS WHAT! It is actually a friendship first. A real one, not a pretend friendship that was always a romance but tried to trick you into something otherwise. When the romance comes, it comes naturally. Even better, Katsa debates even taking their relationship in that way, because she doesn’t want to sacrifice who she is or what she wants to be the girlfriend of a prince. Po and Katsa meet in the middle to create a romance that is real and fantastic.
The plot itself is not the most shocking thing, but it is entertaining and you’re invested because you love all the characters. It is lots of action and adventure and struggle that is supported by the romantic story line, not smothered by it.
All in all, what’s clear is that Cashore REALLY thought about Katsa as a strong female character, and it works. I have a longer review for more, but … do you need it? READ THIS.
Read it if you’re looking for: strong female characters, romance, action, adventure, fantasy, friendship, strong world building, strong cast of characters