Katsa is Graced with fighting. In fact, not just fighting, but killing and maiming effortlessly. In working for her uncle Katsa has performed multiple things that she regrets – but she thinks of herself as a killer anyway, so nothing matters.
The perspective of this novel is third person, usually focalised through Katsa. If I put the book down briefly (you know, for those essential stops like toilet breaks and food!) I sometimes found it hard to slip back into the narrative. Once I was in there though, Katsa’s character was laid bare the majority of the time. Po’s insights into her character also assist with that. He knows how she is feeling before she does!
Just as I noticed in the last book I reviewed, the start of this book is a little slow to get going but it quickly builds up. There is no sense of danger for me until they get to dealing with Leck, but I suppose some of the fighting and so forth had potential. It did sustain my interest – I wanted to see how Katsa could improve as a character, and then there were so many other things happening!
I’d even go so far as to say this book is inspired, I loved the concept of Graces. It seemed unfair to me that the ‘useless’ ones were just sent back to their families if they failed at court. Some things, like climbing trees, surely that has to be good for warfare, or mapping a forest? Or swimming seemed like a versatile talent, perfectly suited for being a sailor. You wonder how many Graces there really are, how many different varieties. I suppose it is ironic that Katsa seems to fear mind-reading Graces, but usually she doesn’t know her own mind anyway.
Something I didn’t understand was Katsa’s utter dislike and mistrust of marriage! I mean, it didn’t sound so bad, particularly with her chosen partner. Yeah, she didn’t like dresses, but that was because her uncle insisted on forcing her into them, and so surely she will like them later? Surely at one point marriage might be a survival tactic.
The ending of this book had the potential to be heartbreaking. Poor Po! So strong, and yet his Grace both hinders and helps him concentrate. Oh man, and Leck is so evil. You never know what he is going to suggest next! I don’t know why they didn’t think of wax for Katsa’s ears though, that would have worked quite well.
You know, all the recent hype about the Hunger Games, and I still haven’t read them. But I do know that the main character is called ‘Katniss’ or the like. So the naming of this character Katsa (although I’m pretty sure this book has been around longer)
The ‘sequel’ to this book, Bitterblue, will be published soon in a paperback I hope, so then I can read it! There is also a ‘prequel’ called Fire, which I would also like to pick up. This book was that enjoyable that I can’t wait to get my hands on the others. They aren’t really related, but they are placed in the same world and there is some character crossover (obviously enough for Bitterblue).I’d recommend this book firmly in the teenage category. The style is not particularly adult to me, because it was an easy read. A very enjoyable read, but easy nonetheless. If you’re like me, and enjoy teenage fiction despite being an adult, go for it! There are some minor sex scenes in this book, nothing that is going to offend an advanced child reader either.
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picked this up from Barnes and Noble while I was overseas!