This was recommended to me by my librarian and I really enjoyed it. Katsa is a young girl, niece to one of the 7 kings of this world. Some of the people, the ones with eyes two different colors are Graced. The Gracelings might have a super ability in oh, cooking pies to reading the weather to being an expert marksman. Katsa’s Grace is a killing one and her uncle, King Randa takes full advantage of. He has made her his thug.
The story opens with Katsa and her companions Oll, her weapons mentor and Giddon, another royal, trying to result the grandfather of the Lienid King. No one knows why old Tealiff has been kidnapped since he’s no longer in power and the Lienid themselves are different than the other six kingdoms (i.e. friendlier and more gentle and prone to decorating themselves with rings, earrings and tatts) During the rescue, Katsa finds herself face to face with a Graceling Lienid whom she chooses not to kill, unusual for her.
In the one confusing part of this book, it seems the Council (a very ill defined entity) has asked her to do the rescue and not Randa. Quickly she learns that the Graceling she spared is actually the old man’s grandson, Prince Po, the youngest of the Lienid princes. He comes to Randa’s kingdom to find his grandfather and in the process begins a friendship with Katsa who has always seen herself as friendless (what she thinks Randa’s son Raffin is, since they’re obviously very good friends…). She and Po fight, physically, a lot. He, too, seems to have a fighting Grace. They are evenly matched and what she doesn’t seem to realize is, Po is humanizing her, making Katsa doubt the things Randa makes her do.
Book one ends with her making a break and leaving to travel with Po to find out who was behind the kidnapping of Tealiff. Po and Katsa are finding more than just that information. They are finding each other, both in the aspect of love and in the fact that neither has exactly the Grace they thought at first. Their Graces are growing and changing. Unfortunately for them, their path leads to an unlikely suspect who, too might be Graced with the ability to cloud the mind. Katsa and Po end up on the run from half a kingdom, trying to get Princess Bitterblue (I shall never worry on my characters names again) to safety.
Book two ends with Po and Katsa separating, Po badly injured and slowing them down. Katsa gets Bitterblue out of Monsea but not to safety as she hoped. The end game is over a tad too quickly but then again it might have ended about the only way it could have. Things are quite the same when Po and Katsa reunite. While this plot is completely resolved, it’s obvious there’s a second book in the making. I really did enjoy this though the ending with Po almost made me angry but luckily it turned around at the very end. Katsa is a strong young woman who isn’t bitchy (not seen all that often. Usually strong equals bitchy in so many books) It’s good to see a YA fantasy with a heroine. It is told from Katsa’s pov and watching her become more human was really neat (for those who worry about these things, this is definitely an older YA book containing violence and non-explicit sex)
Chakra Meditation by Swami Saradananda
This really isn’t a book you read. I read through it once just to see what it was all about but it’s really a work book. It helps you move through your chakras, opening and balancing them. So each chapter is a new chakra, starting with the majors and ending with the minors. Each chapter gives you what the chakra is about and how it can be unbalanced. It gives you a mandala to meditate on and walks you through the meditation. It gives oils/foods/scents/stones etc attuned to the chakra to help your meditation. And lastly gives you yoga moves to try (let me just say, the meditations are easily but only someone skilled in yoga are doing these moves. They’re not for beginners)
So now I need to sit down and work the book. I can’t say that it’s helpful since I need to try it but I thought the book was well put together, beautifully illustrated and takes the meditations seriously but not overly so. It doesn’t have that fru-fru feeling some new age/spiritual books can get. I felt very comfortable with this book.