I love Kristin Cashore. I LOVED Graceling which I recently decided to re-read, and then I also loved my re-read of Bitterblue.
Quick synopsis of Graceling: Katsa is an energetic, serious, and deadly young woman. Used by her uncle, the king, she has become an enforcer of his will – a gruesome role which takes advantage of her Grace. Gracelings are rare – marked by eyes of two different colours, each Graceling is extremely skilled in one area (for example, one might have a Grace of cooking, or healing, or opening one’s mouth extremely wide, or swimming really fast, etc.).
Katsa, uncomfortable with her role, is trying to define her life. When she meets the Lenid prince, Po, things start to change. Together, they brought together by the search for Po’s grandfather, which turns into a quest which leads them into neighboring Monsea – a country with some dark secrets. Once their mission becomes clear, both Katsa and Po must learn the true extent of their respective Graces in order to survive.
Katsa is such an intriguing, strong, interesting character. She’s pretty different than you’d expect from a main character – perhaps it’s being her uncle’s thug – but she brings such a unique flavour to the story. I couldn’t put it down!
And Po! He warms my heart!
As does Bitterblue, who you meet in Graceling and who then gets her own book.
Quick synopsis of Bitterblue:
Bitterblue, now Queen of Monsea, is trying to find answers to help her to help her country. Monsea is still reeling from the reign of her father, Leck, and his terrible rule. Leck was a sick and twisted man, who could influence people through his speech, and used his power to force his subjects to do his evil bidding. Bitterblue only knows the fringes of what Leck did to his people – her people. She is both trying to figure out what kind of ruler she will be, and what happened. This is not an easy task, for some force is actively trying to keep the past in the past.
This is a much more difficult read. I like the character of Bitterblue, but Leck was such an awful, horrible, psychopath, that learning about what he did is pretty disturbing. The story moves along, and it almost seems like not much happens because the truth is unraveled so slowly. There is some great character development, as well as some tangled love stories, and overall it’s a good read (though not for the faint of heart).
Anyway, just wanted to share the love for these books, two of my favourites. (I also loved Fire by Kristin Cashore, which is technically book #2, but I didn’t have time to do three this time around, and the stories of Graceling and Bitterblue are much more directly linked (though Fire is a companion and does have links to both, just more tangential).