Sunday, April 7, 2013

Strong Ladies of Fiction: Katsa, Fire, and Bitterblue

I’m sure at some point you would expect me to point out Katniss as a strong lady. And for the most part she is. But she’s not that BadA** I’m intending to talk about in this letter. I’d like to tell you about Kristin Cashore’s ladies: Katsa, Fire, and Bitterblue. Mostly because Katsa is everything Katniss is not.

Katsa, the lead in Graceling, is a born survivor. From a young age, the Graceling Katsa has been trained to do one thing and one thing well, in fact, she does it so well, they call it her Grace -- her gift. Kill. But, that’s not really Katsa’s biggest strength. Through the course of her story, she survives so much and she proves that not every happy ending includes living the rest of your life with someone.

Fire introduces the character of the same name, Fire, who is what is called in her world a human monster. Monsters in her land are creatures with unnatural, hypnotic beauty and coloring and are frequently deadly, thirsty for blood. There used to be more human monsters, but she's the very last one, her father taking so much advantage of his ability to hypnotize and his love for pain and suffering so great, that Fire is determined there will never be any more like her. Despite what se may be, she knows the difference between what she is and who she is and fights for her kingdom and the people she loves.

Bitterblue is a young queen that Katsa rescues in Graceling, who in her own story, must unravel the mysteries -- and the damage -- her father King Leck left on her kingdom. She lives a dual life trying to be a leader all the while seeking the stories that no one is willing to tell the queen herself.

All three of these characters have something about them that makes them strong -- yes, they make mistakes. Who doesn't. But, they learn from them. Katsa is physically strong, and a survivor, but she learns a lot about herself and about connecting to the people around her. That sometimes strength is best used to protect the people around you. Fire is strong, emotionally and mentally, and refuses to be boxed in by expectations, going so far as to make extreme sacrifices to keep others from taking advantage of those she loves. And Bitterblue is brilliant. She has to work hard to unravel the mental damage that's been done to her people and to herself. But, she has the strength of mind, will, and character, that even when she'd rather be a normal whinging teenager, she does look for and make startling discoveries to help everyone heal from the damage that has been done. All three are very human characters. All three have wonderful strengths and flaws. I loved all three books and I am hopeful that we'll see more from Kristin Cashore in the near future.

I highly recommend all three books to anyone.

Have a great day, Mrs. B. If it's warm where you are, grab a book and head outside. It's what I intend to do.

Much Love,
-OA.

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