I kind of want to steal Elizabeth Bird's review because that pretty much says it all. But, I'll try a little harder because I think this book deserves that.
Like a lot of debut novels this one is a bit messy in spots. There are plot holes and contrivances aplenty, but experiencing the journey with this cast of characters makes all of that matter very little. The pacing, for example, is spot-on. I found myself tearing through this book like I haven't done in a long, long time. The characters are beautifully drawn and the concept of 'graces' is a truly thought provoking one.
Hunger Games fans should find much to enjoy here. Graceling isn't quite as profound, but both are equally gripping. And it's funny that Katsa and Katniss were introduced in the same year considering they share a lot more in common than their names.
In other ways this reminded me a great deal of Finnikin of the Rock - with it's fantastical, intricate world building, its fascinating cast of characters and even its (somewhat endearing) messiness.