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15 January 2013

{Deep thoughts} Graceling by Kristin Cashore

This is not my first time reading GRACELING by Kristin Cashore.  I first picked it up in 2009 (I think), when I was taking my Children and Adolescent Literature class for my masters.  I needed to read 50 books from varying genres in about an 8 week period, what an easy number that seems now (!), and this is one I chose.  This is before I started blogging and talking about books on twitter, so I had never heard of GRACELING.  So, I picked up my copy at the local book fair because I liked the cover, I needed a fantasy book, and the idea of a female assassin intrigued me.

*If you've never read GRACELING, please know that there may be spoilers*

Today, I think I'm just going to talk about my love (and extreme hatred) of the characters in GRACELING.

Katsa is who I compare all strong female characters to.  She is strong yet tortured.  How she handles being battered and used and still comes up strong is a wonder to me.  She's so tortured mentally that she only sees the bad in herself.  And when she starts seeing that she is more than just a hired thug, I cheer every time.  She's also just so single minded that I love how she reacts to Giddon and Po's attentions.  (Mainly because, even though I was not a Graced fighter, I acted pretty much the same way back in the day.)

Prince Po is just....I can't think of a word beyond "dreamy".  He's dreamy.  A dreamboat, if you will.  He's strong, he's kind, he's patient.  And he's just a cutie-patootie.  My heart breaks every time that he gets hurt, heals when they find him again, and then rebreaks when he reveals the full extent of his injuries.  But of course, it all works out in the end.

And then there is Bitterblue.  She joins the story so late, but plays such an important part.  She laments that she is not physically strong like Katsa, but her strength of character is so much that she holds her own against the tough Katsa.  She's gentle, yes, but also practical.  If she does not see the need in something, it is dealt with at a later time.  When we first meet her, she's upset about her mother and scared of her father, but has the presence of mind to hide, run, and to help take care of Po.  Her practicality is a trait that carries over into the book, BITTERBLUE.

Now, Leck.  I'm glad that Leck's intentions are never really spelled out.  To an extent, yes, with the torture of children and animals and the mind control.  But it isn't until BITTERBLUE that we learn more horrific details.  I like that it is left up to your imagination, because mine went to horrible places, and that made me hate him even more.

Everytime I read GRACELING, I pick up something new.  I'm so glad I sat down to reread it over Christmas break.  I cannot say enough good things about it.  And because I love it so much, I'm dedicating this week to the series:  today's Deep Thoughts, tomorrow about FIRE, Thursday will be about BITTERBLUE and Friday I'll break out an oldie but goodie meme, the Friday Night Mental Movie, in which I share my ideal GRACELING cast.

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