I first read this book when I was a sophomore in high school when I was about 16, I absolutely feel in love with it. Re-reading it about five years later its just as intoxicating as it was the first time. One thing that draws me to certain stories is strong protagonists and that is Katsa in a nutshell. She's been ostracized for her grace practically since she was born, and it progressively got worse as she honed her grace. The other main characters contrast and compliment her strength and aloofness with being more open and friendly.
The setting is wonderfully described and so vast setting it up for the next books in the series so they're not stuck in a cookie cutter pattern. I personally loved the graces they reminded me of a manga that I really enjoy Alice Academy.
All in all this book is totally worth it and a wonderful ready one of my favorite fantasy stories. I'm really glad that I found that again.