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.
After reading some reviews, I have to agree, there is a bit of a Feminist overkill.
Katsa seems to take every measure to strip herself of her femininity, mentally and physically. I don’t know if I would consider myself a feminist, but I know I could make it on my own, I’m confident and independent and I don’t need a man to save me. But that doesn’t mean I can’t look pretty, take pride in my appearance and my femininity. Katsa just goes overboard with it sometimes. Ok fine, you don’t line to wear dresses, whatever. Ya, I get having long hair can be annoying, but you don’t have to hack it all off and try to make it look like a boy. And just because someone offers to protect you doesn’t mean they think you are helpless, maybe they just don’t want you killing and torturing people to “protect” yourself since that’s the only way you know how to do things. I mean seriously.
And don’t even get me started on the marriage thing, honestly, not all men want to marry you just to make you their servant. The depiction of marriage portrayed in this is so archaic. She thinks the title of wife will make her different, but devoting herself to Po as his partner and lover won’t? That doesn’t even make sense to me. Marriage is a partnership, not an ownership, and with all the other modern flare this book pulls in that’s the thing that irks me the most. In general though, the modernity of the book annoyed me throughout. I would be in a flow of conversation that was easy and then all of a sudden things would get stiff and I felt like in was thrust into an Austen book with proper decorum as the underlying dictator of life. It just doesn’t make sense to me.
There was an interesting story though, and I liked the idea of the Grace’s though I would have liked some info as to where they came from. It seemed to drag a bit too. Po was a great character, and I really liked Bitterblue. I was Content with the ending, I think their devotion to each other, yet unwillingness to marry, makes more sense with their goals, not as an anti-marriage stance, and it was clear they pictured being together for a while, if not explicitly saying forever.
Since the series doesn’t follow the same protagonists I don’t think I am going to continue it, especially since the reviews for the second one, Fire, were not all that great. Since I liked Bitterblue though, I may read her book, which is the last in the series, it seems like they can stand alone as well as be a cohesive series so we’ll see how that goes. I have a lot on my TBR list before I decide on Bitterblue though.