When she is 8 years old, Katsa's Grace is revealed when she moves to slap a nobleman who tries to touch her inappropriately and inadvertently kills him. She has the Grace of killing and, in a world where Gracelings are already feared, Katsa's is the most frightening Grace yet. Katsa spends several years training in fighting and weapons of all sorts, so that she may learn the limits of her abilities and never cause another death. But her uncle, the king, has other plans. He uses Katsa as his personal weapon to dole out punishments, often quite severe and gruesome.
Everything changes when Katsa rescues a member of another kingdom's royal family and she meets Po, a prince who is Graced with fighting. Together, Katsa and Po must figure out who has brought such corruption to their kingdoms. On their quests, they will each learn more about their own Graces and Katsa will learn what makes a person a true monster.
I highly, highly recommend this book. It has fantasy, action, awesome powers, and even romance. I loved this one so much that I actually bought it. And when I finished it, I went out the next day and bought the companion novel, which is set in the same world. Katsa is easy to sympathize with and Po is magnificent. Need I say more?
This book is on YALSA's top 10 nominee 2009 books for teens. You can see the list of nominees here.
If you like Graceling, try these books:
Daughter of the Flames
by Zoe Marriott
by Maggie Stiefvater
The Hunger Games
by Suzanne Collins