Graceling - Kristin Cashore I would have given this one 5 stars but I feel it deserves 4.5 instead, because of the heroine and some plot elements that I seem to have a problem with.

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As everyone knows by now I love a strong female hero and Katsa does not disappoint in this respect. At times Katsa did show great vulnerability and I thought she was a well rounded character but sometimes she came off as too stubborn in her ways and her actions seemed uncalled for. One example of this is in her opinion of marriage, which I found flawed. She doesn’t want to marry Prince Po because of her fear of losing her new found freedom even after Po proves to her and reassures her that he would never try to confine her. I didn’t quite get this opinion of Katsa’s simply because she was already bound to Po when she gave herself over to him in body, mind and heart. I really didn’t see her being able to deal with Po marrying someone else or straying when she displayed such strong feelings for him

Prince Po, on the other hand, could do no wrong in my eyes. What a hottie of a character! Cashore did a really good job of fleshing out this character out by displaying his strength and vulnerability. It was great to see both Katsa and Po grow comfortable with their Graces and learn from each other. I loved their interactions, which made the love story very believable between these two.

One thing I do wish Cashore would have done was flesh out the villian a bit more. His Grace was displayed but because it was a Grace of the mind it was done more subltely, which I think Cashore did a good job of. However, the villian only physically appears about twice in the story. His potential threats and history, which readers were told about are what made him so evil. I didn’t so much have a problem with this. My problem was more of his demise. It happened so quickly that if you blinked you missed it. All this build up and in an instant the problem was resolved. I thought that this could have been handled a little better. I felt like I was reading Dracula all over again. However, unlike Dracula this story was action packed and really left me wanting more.