Tuesday, March 23, 2010

Book Nook - Graceling and Fire

Further recommendations from my good pal Kathleen...

I do think it's important to point out that I also recommend books to her as well. I wouldn't want to be thought of as a literary leech.

Graceling and its companion, Fire, by Kristin Cashore

Again, they have some fantasy and supernatural elements, and honestly I was more skittish about reading these than I was The Hunger Games. But that worked out quite well for me, so I had a little faith.

Graceling is the story of Katsa, a girl who is Graced with killing. In this fictional land of the seven kingdoms, some are born with a Grace, and are labeled as Gracelings when their eyes turn and become two different colors. In Katsa's case, she has one green and one blue. Unwilling to be a killing monster, she uses her Grace to form a Council that works towards helping people in danger. This is how she meets Po, a Graceling fighter himself and a prince of Lienid, the only kingdom that is an island. He has one silver eye and one gold, and I can't tell you how much that freaks out my imagination. Can't you see how they would make a stunning couple though?

I was enamoured with this book. It took me a solid 50 pages to really get a rhythm going, but once I was hooked and I was unstoppable and finished this 400 page book in 24 hours. I can't really go into further detail without ruining the whole experience for you, but put your prejudges against two eye colored people aside and read this. Trust me.

I started Fire within hours of finishing Graceling. Fire is dubbed a companion book to Graceling, as it's a bit of a prequel inasmuch as it takes place in the years before Graceling, but the story only shares one character in common. I was so enamoured with Katsa and Po that at first I was greatly depressed about their absence. I forged ahead because trusty Kathleen decreed that she loved Graceling, and loved Fire more.

Fire did not disappoint. It has romance. It has suspense. I was pulling for these people the whole way through. And although both of these novels are labels as the Young Adult drama, this one definitely seemed to me to be more adult in tone. For instance there was a ton of premarital, casual sex, and lots of illegitimate babies and people walking around with confused parentage. But I loved it all the same.

However, I have to disagree with Kathleen. Because I loved Graceling more.

I started to examine why because it really bothered me for no apparent or significant reason. And for me, it came down to the differences between Katsa and Fire.

Both are strong women.

Both love fiercely and are fiercely loved.

But Katsa is a feisty, strong, mud rolling, hunting, takes-care-of-herself kind of girl. She wants a meal? She shoots a rabbit. Someone ticks her off? She kicks him in the temple and knocks him unconscious. She emanates this feeling of never needing anyone to take care of her. And that draws me to her.

Fire is also strong and quite capable in her own ways. But in comparing her to Katsa, she's more of a lady in the traditional sense. She is brave, but still needs protection. And when people do her wrong, she fights them with words and letting them know of her sadness and disappointment, but they learn in a subtle sense. Fire needs, ever so slightly more than Katsa, to be taken care of. So while Fire is an appealing and strong character, Katsa is a badass.

For some reason it seems that all series books are coming in threes as of late. And the third companion book to this series is coming out later this year. I am excited for it, and although I loved these books as much as I loved The Hunger Games and Catching Fire, I am not in such a state of anticipation for Bitterblue because of that fact that it's a companion and not a sequel.

But I'm sure I'll love it to pieces all the same.

Now get to reading people.

1 comment:

Kathleen said...

You are in no way, shape, or form, a literary leech.