Graceling - Kristin Cashore Rating: 5 shinning starsMy opinion: Weirdly, I don't feel like writing a long review on just how much I loved this book. Bad reviews are easier because raving about what we hate comes naturally, and I'm a person who likes to criticize. With good reviews it's different. In a way, you want to say more than when you hate a book, but you also want the future reader to find all that awesomeness by himself or herself. This is one of those times when you have to read to believe. All the things I'm about to describe, I had heard about them before. But it wasn't until I actually went through the pages that I discovered how right everyone was. I think that the first thing that needs to be addressed is Katsa. Now, I want to state that I understand that not all women are the same. There are motherly women, warrior women, intellectual women, partying women. There are some who like to wear high heels, some who like to be simple but presentable, and some who don't give a shit. And all those, and all the other types of women, are right. I don't believe there's a way a person, regardless of their sex, should be like. Here we're presented with the type of person I love reading about. Katsa is a fighter, a survivor. She doesn't need to wear a red dress to caught people's attention, and she'd rather not do it at all. Marriage and babies are not something she wants to pursue. In spite of the fact that she doesn't usually get attached, I would consider her a loving and loyal person to those she considers her own. Other than this image, this personality I admire and find incredibly entertaining, there are two things I absolutely love about Katsa through this book. First of all, she doesn't change her opinions, and when she does, the shift is justified. Even though she's willing to love and sacrifice herself and much more for Po and those she cares about, she makes it perfectly clear that she's her own and no one else's. You have no idea how refreshing this is. And secondly, a trait that sometimes gets lost and even ignored, Katsa never tries to impose her lifestyle or decisions on others. She's who she is and isn't bothered by other people's ways, as long as she doesn't have to follow them or see others being forced to do so. There's not one time that she criticizes women that like to be, well, girly. She just points out that those who want should be offered the opportunity to take a different path. I think this is the author's opinion and it is mine as well, so I absolutely enjoyed Katsa's character and all she had to offer. A great thing about this book is that it wasn't only Katsa who I fell in love with. Po was not the stereotype of male leads. He was kind and strong. He isn't afraid to let a woman help him, or humiliated by her beating him. And he's oh-so hot. Honestly, I usually don't fall for the gypsy vibe, but damn. Also, I really liked everyone at the Lienid court and Katsa's friends at the Middluns. One character I'm really interested to read more about is Bitterblue and I'm happy I'll be able to.  Another thing that really stood out for me was the writing. The descriptions were clear and not excessive, the fights were exciting, the romance wasn't cheesy, and the moments of confusion were enjoyable and not boring. There are moments when the characters are supposed to be lost, but I like the fact that while they didn't understand what was happening, we did. It was smooth and with just the right pace. Honestly, I was impressed. In a general light, this was an outstanding book. The first installment of this series is about power, love, lies, life, death, control, and, most importantly, much like Katsa and her Grace, survival. It's not about how it ends more than it is about how you get there. If you get there, and what you must sacrifice to do so.“Mercy was more frightening than murder, because it was harder.”- Alive or Undead ~ 2013 -