Graceling by Kristin Cashore 5 of 5 stars.
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 Graces 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--0r about a terrible secret that lies hidden far away.
On the back of this book is a quote from LA Times. It says, "Graceling offers a fresh view of the process of learning self-mastery and has a knee-weakening romance that easily rivals that of Twilight." That Graceling rivals Twilight is a complete understatement. It far exceeds Stephanie Meyer's awkward writing and Bella's lustiness.
Kristin Cashore's writing is amazing. The vividness and reality with which she tells Katsa's story is enchanting. Her characters are beautiful and real. Katsa is the perfect example of a strong female character. A young woman who hates herself for her Grace with killing and who wants power over he life. She is a no nonsense kind of person and I think she is even a character you can look up to. The other characters in the story are just as charming and sure to capture your heart.
The book is fast paced but still captures the beauty of Katsa's world with ease. There is plenty of action, adventure, mystery, and intrigue. It has all the elements of a wonderful fantasy.
For fans of: Inheritance Cycle, Twilight, Gail Carson Levine... etc, etc