In the Seven Kingdoms, some people are born with a Grace, a special, extraordinary skill, marked by two different colored eyes. Except for one kingdom, these Gracelings are immediately put under the command of the king of their respective countries who use them as weapons.

Katsa has a killing Grace and is under the command of her uncle, King Randa who uses her and her Grace to punish anyone who crosses him. She is feared by almost everyone she meets because of her Grace and who she serves. But Katsa has a secret: she also works for a secret Council who work to undo the damage done by the self-serving kings.

Her work for the Council brings her to the attention of Po, a combat Graceling and a prince of Lienid. He needs help to discover why a member of his family had been kidnapped. With his support, she realizes her own power and that she can run her own life. Together, they set off to search for answers.

As they work together, Katsa comes to understand her own grace better and becomes suspicious of Po’s grace. They grow closer, learning to depend on each other and sharing their secrets.

But in their travels, a sinister truth about one of the kingdoms comes to light. Something Katsa cannot fight against and must trust Po to protect her from. Because an enemy is hiding in plain sight, waiting as Po and Katsa draw closer and a young girl’s life is at stake.

This is a great book and I love Katsa. She’s brave, loyal, and fights to be a decent person despite her killing Grace. Plus, she’s a toned down Xena, able to take on as many armed guards as can get close to her, catch arrows, and take on a mountain lion. She and Po make a great team and their romance is well paced.

This book can stand alone, but it also has a very good prequel Fire (do NOT read that one first, it will spoil Graceling) and a sequel, Bitterblue that I have not yet read.

Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy

Recommended Tea: English Breakfast, made strong!