I wish I could give this book two reviews. I loved the idea and a few of the plot ideas of this story. However, there was plenty in this book that deserved a lower rating.The strong female protagonist and the idea of fantasy-type super powers, called Graces, was a great variation of the whole meta-human genre of writing. And giving one of the strongest roles to a girl was a strong plus for the book. I also enjoyed the mystery surrounding the plot of the book, and handing over a very tough yet powerful decision to a young girl can help modern female teenagers identify with someone who wants to break away from the norm.However, none of the strong qualities could overcome the blatant flaws and mistakes of the book. First of all, the story was horribly written. Lingering on the angst and rushing through the action gave the story an overall feeling of a writer who had to tag action to her emotional storyline. I became overly tired of reading about Katsa's internal struggle when a more interesting story laid on the outside of the pretentious plot. Also, I want the author to strike "for" from her vocabulary. Cashore tried way too hard to transform her story by putting "for" at the start of every other sentence. For writing in this style does not make it romantic or beautiful; it is plain annoying. The worst part of this book was the constant abuse of animals. DO NOT READ THIS BOOK IF YOU LIKE ANIMALS. One of the characters brutally attacks animals. The main heroine mistreats the horses. The author vividly describes the death of a wild animal. It was sickening and downright cruel to use animals in this sense. If Cashore had kept the animal abuse out of the storyline, I would have given the book a higher rating.I wish I could take the good parts of the book and rewrite a great female-friendly story.