It is certainly no mystery that I am an avid reader. I was asked previously by another site to create a suggestion to add to your reading list. Of course a mere suggestion to me is not good enough. So for all of those with a love of the fantasy genre who are looking for a series to read and have yet to venture into the wonderful world that Kristin has created, you are in for a treat. Both of her current novels ‘Graceling’ and the companion novel ‘Fire’ are addictive and a fresh change from today’s popular genres.
The‘Graceling’ novels share a similarity that resonates throughout the stories in an overly defining manner. Combining the YA genre it is defined as, strong female protagonists are what makes these novels stand out so amazingly. These heroines share many likenesses such as determination, a need for purpose and of course strong. Something that I believe is sorely needed in this current generation.
I never thought I would find a heroine as kick-ass and deadly as Rosemarie Hathaway (vampire academy, another excellent read), but found myself pleasantly surprised when I came across the killing-graced Katsa. Katsa lives with her uncle, who is the king of one of seven kingdoms. She is a graceling, identified to others by her two different coloured eyes. A graceling is a person with highly advanced skill; for Katsa that grace is killing, She is unable to be defeated in a fight, is very hard to injure and her uncle uses this to his advantage. Threatening and killing whoever he orders her too. Katsa feels morally burdened by this, and endeavours to use her gift in ways to help rather than harm. Aided by a fighting graced Po, who happens to be a prince from another of the kingdoms, they soon find themselves led on the path to discovering the kingdoms secrets.
Graceling is about Katsa’s journey trying to find herself and love in a world where every decision has been made for her. The self discovery that she goes makes her life relatable to many Young Adult readers and even Adults readers like myself.
Kristin Cashore’s companion novel ‘Fire’ brings a new level of female heroines to the plate. Fire may not be the kick-ass warrior that Katsa is but it is no reason to push her aside. Fire is a human-monster. Her world is surrounded by these monsters that are beautiful creatures with the ability to control the minds of others making them dangerous and deadly, and Fire is no different or at least according to the people who surround her. Fire lives in the kingdom known as the Dell’s that is in the midst of chaos after her father’s manipulation of the dead King Nax.
One of Fire’s greatest fears is becoming the evil creature her father was. And it seems she is not the only one who as she fights against an onslaught of assassination attempts and daily struggles to stay alive from animal-monsters that are attracted to her like moths to a flame. With these attacks and the appearance of a mysterious archer in the surrounding forest, Fire travels to ask help of the Queen who now rules in place of the dead king. Meeting the two heirs to the throne on the way, she is despised by one for her likeness to her father in appearances, but the other hopelessly obsessed with her monster beauty. She fights to prove to not only herself but the others that she is not her father and not the monster-creature people fear by assisting them in their fight for their kingdom.
I found Fire’s story more of an emotional one then the previous novel ‘Graceling’. Her battle to prove herself to others, balancing her strengths and emotion vulnerabilities and her unwavering commitment to those around her despite the risk of her own life in my eyes makes her one of the strongest heroines I have come across yet and her story one of my favourites to date.
Kristin Cashore creates an amazing world, with strong characters both female and male alike and plots that keep you guessing right until the end. Cashore’s work alone proves that she deserves to be held up high next to other YA authors such as Richelle Mead.