book 2 for the Once Upon a Time III Challenge
genre: young adult fantasy
Oh yes, this is a fun one. The story revolves around Katsa - a girl with ninja-like reflexes who has never been beaten in a fight and who can kill a man with her bare hands. She's got serious skills and this 'Grace' of hers makes her an amazing weapon. She has spent her life at the bidding of her arrogant uncle, the king, enforcing his word and handing out his kind of "justice." A chance encounter with an unknown man whose fighting skills nearly match her own flusters Katsa and is the start of an adventure that will involve more treachery and danger - and maybe even a chance to learn something even deeper about herself
I liked Katsa - I liked her spirit and her abilities, her awareness and the way her character was slowly and subtly refined throughout the book. She was a strong female protagonist but she had a lot to learn. The idea of having people with special powers to be exploited or appreciated was very intriguing and consistently played well into the plot. The romance was satisfyingly fresh and the relationships felt real. The pace was swift and I was surprised by things, even at the end. To be completely honest, sometimes the dialogue bordered on...not cheesy, just slightly unnatural. I was also a bit disappointed that she had such hostile views of marriage. But I am giving it five stars because I could not put the dang thing down and because I am going upstairs right now to read the prequel.