Graceling - Kristin Cashore Oh, Kristin Cashore... how you made my heart beat quickly and slowly and all in between-ly for this book! I swear I just had an awesome time with this book! I must say that when I heard about this book, I was very excited to get my hands on it! The reason for this being... IT'S FANTASY! And I do love me my fantasy books. Asides from that, I was hearing nothing but amazing things about it. So when I finally read this book, I was very pleased! Graceling did NOT disappoint.

Cashore is a genius! Her world of the Seven Kindoms is so vast and open and well-thought out! I would love to see myself living in this world filled with Graces. Which another point I would like to discuss. Cashore's idea of Graces and that each one is different and unique blows my mind! It's very creative and the different eye colors was a very nice touch. Her writing, I'll admit, was a bit difficult to get into at first. Not that it was bad but because it is very different from most authors. There were parts where she repeated a phrase and I thought that it was a strange way to go about describing something. But after the first thirty to fifty pages, you start to see a use for that. Emphasizing is good, ya? Anyway, her writing grew on me and I discovered that her writing style was very nice indeed.

Her characters are amazing! I love all of them! Well... except the ones that are douches... Let's start with out leading lady! Katsa is a very strong female lead and let me tell you, it was very refreshing. Most females in the YA universe are... pathetic, hopeless twits who can't save themselves and must depend on the guy for help. Katsa is no such woman. She can defend herself, she doesn't need to be in love, or reduce herself to someone else's wife to bear children. No. She is someone who wants freedom and I respect her for that. Mind you, at the beginning, I thought she was pretty bitchy and she over-reacted to a certain event but after all that passed, I felt that she did grow which made her even better in my opinion. The leadning man is Po. I. Love. Po. He is just awesome. He's sweet, caring, funny, mischievous, strong... everything I want in a man... er... I mean... a good character... He respects Katsa's wishes even though he doesn't really agree with them. He supports her and he's just an understanding person. I love him. His relationship with Katsa starts off wonderfully... as enemies, then friend, then lovers. Some people might find the morals to this book... different than most. I have no problem with it. I agree with Katsa in the whole not wanting to marry and being tied down with some "man." It's degrading. But that's just my opinion.

The side characters are just epic! Oll is this elderly man who really watches out for Katsa and helps with the council. Giddon is also a sweetie... even though Katsa hates him because he wants to marry her like a normal person. (Did I mention Katsa is against marriage? More on this later.) Now for my two favorite side characters: Raffin and Bann. Raffin is Katsa's cousin and he's a bit... odd. He likes to experiment on various herbs with the help of Bann, his assistant. They are both quirky and cute. Also, if you ask me, I feel they have a "certain" type of relationship even if it's not spoken outright. *Coughyaoicough* They're hot! XD

Bitterblue is another, more main character, that's great. She's very mature for her age and a lot of people found this to be unrealistic but to me, it makes sense. It's obvious that this girl has a power all of her own and it's most likeyl going to be revealed in the third installment to this trilogy which is titled after this character. Personally, I love how mature she was and how she tried to think logically. It was refreshing to see than having some small child crying their eyes out all the time. The villian of the story is Leck, Bitterblue's father and the one Katsa and Po are trying to protect her from. He was quite cruel. You don't get to see him a lot throughout the story but you always hear of him and with what he's done... and what I am sure he wants to do with his daughter... he's just sick. However, let me warn you, when Katsa and him finally come face-to-feac, it's a bit anti-climatic. If you are expecting a huge fight... think again. That was my only disappointment in this novel.

Other than that, this was great! I love the action, the friendship, the romance, the EVERYTHING! I loved this book so much! Even though I had some trouble with the writing and I didn't care much for the final scene, I still think this is one of the best fantasy novels I have ever read. However, I wouldn't recommend this book to everyone. It does have some mature content and there's just too many people out there who think having a relationship with someone without being married is wrong so for that... I'll have to say I think big fantasy lovers and people who believe in love without the band should read this. It is awesome and you will not regret it!