I expected a more "bad seed" type book by the title alone. Perhaps because of my recent encounter with the book "The Changeling" (unrelated to the movie) I expected Katsa (too close to Katniss maybe) to be a weirdo stolen from birth character.
I was pleasantly surprised when she was a likeable character. At least until she turned down the title to princess and went ahead with her sleeping together with no attachments decision.
I loved her gift and the twist on it (here, here Markie) and Po's talent as well. Sort of smacked of Edward. I thought the bad guy's gift was cool but felt that his motivation was whack. I mean I would totally use that gift to get gain too, but why slice up the little animals? I get it, he is one dimensional, pure evil, etc., but couldn't he just be a molester? Isn't that evil enough?
I heart X-men so this is no surprise that I would like the plot and characters, and the Hunger Games element of awesome clever chick overcoming nature and evil man was great, but the romance lost its charm midway for me. I am always semi-irritated when a female character is oblivious to feelings of male adolescents (Hunger Games suffered from this malady as well as Twilight) because no teenage girl floats around totally disinterested in relationships. Maybe because my mom was so flirty it was always in my mind as a young person but I cannot relate to a girl who "never thought about him that way" but this book saved it because at least she liked Po right away. The guy beforehand, the one on the action squad with her? The fact that she was shocked he was "in love" with her and she didn't have feelings towards him seemed kinda lame to me.
On the romance end, I did like that they were friends first and fought a bunch before they got all romantic, and I liked that they had that common persecution complex.
Things I did not like:
--That all men except the pansies were evil. So Po and gay alchemist were totally the exception to the rule and all other men with a traditional mindset (hello it was supposed to be kinda medieval, right?) were totally unlikeable threw me off.
--She felt that a relationship would ruin her career. The point seemed anachronistically feminist. Probably a great book for a single woman who doesn't want attachments, but for a happily married woman with four kids and a career I didn't connect with it.
--Again the cutting animals bit. Ew.
--Blindness. This ruined the book for me. Call me superficial, but I liked the shiny eye guy. Couldn't her gay bff fix his eyes? That would have been awesome.
--A prince living in the forest shack. What, his family couldn't know he was blind? If they were trying to make a point that superficial stuff is not important, then why was he hiding his blindness from his family? Annoying juxtaposition for me.
Things I liked:
--Cool gifts and twists
--The term Leonid. Kind of reminds me of spock.
--Katna making it through the mountains. In the snow. Uphill both ways.