Blurb (from Goodreads):
His eyes, Katsa had never seen such eyes. One was silver, and the other, gold. They glowed in his sun-darkened face, uneven, and strange. She was surprised that they hadn't shone in the darkness of their first meeting. They didn't seem human....
Then he raised his eyebrows a hair, and his mouth shifted into the hint of a smirk. He nodded at her, just barely, and it released her from her spell.
Cocky, she thought. Cocky and arrogant, this one, and that was all there was to make of him. Whatever game he was playing, if he expected her to join him he would be disappointed.
In a world where people born with an extreme skill—called a Grace—are feared and exploited, Katsa carries the burden of the skill even she despises: the Grace of killing. She lives under the command of her uncle Randa, King of the Middluns, and is expected to execute his dirty work, punishing and torturing anyone who displeases him.
When she first meets Prince Po, who is 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...a secret that could destroy all seven kingdoms with words alone.
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
(Source: I own a copy of this book.)
Katsa lives in a world where some people develop a special talent called a ‘Grace’. These people are marked by having two different colour eyes, and Katsa herself has a very unique gift – the Grace of Killing. If Katsa intends to kill someone, she can do it without weapons, even barehanded against many trained swordsmen.
Katsa has also started a special council though, that works for the good of the people, and her latest endeavour has been to save a very important man who had been kidnapped by the King Murgon. It is during this attempt to save Prince Tealiff that Katsa meets Prince Po, grandson of Prince Tealiff.
When Katsa and Po next meet, he tells her that he knows that she saved his grandfather, and together they set out to try and determine why Prince Tealiff was taken in the first place, and what is going on with his granddaughter Ashen, who is married to King Leck.
Why was Prince Tealiff kidnapped? What is going on with King Leck? And can Katsa and Po’s friendship ever be anything more?
I really enjoyed this book. The story was well-written, and I even managed to keep up with the storyline.
Katsa was a real kick-ass heroine. She totally owned her Grace, and used it to her own advantage. She also had a real sense of right and wrong though, and didn’t allow orders to get in the way of what she felt was right. She was also so selfless and caring, and she made a great main character.
Po was a sweet character, and I liked how he opened himself up to Katsa entirely and shamelessly. I liked how their romance was slow and didn’t take over the story, but I also wondered what the future held in store for them.
I liked the storyline, and unlike a lot of fantasy stories I managed to keep up with the plot without getting confused, which was great. I liked how the story stayed with Katsa, and we didn’t have to try and keep up with multiple different characters at once, and I liked how straightforward everything was. I really hate it when we get lots of politics and wars in fantasy books and this one managed to steer clear of those pitfalls beautifully.
I’m really interested to see where the story goes from here, and will definitely be reading ‘Fire’!
Overall; a great YA fantasy.
8 out of 10.