Friday, June 1, 2012
What We're Reading: Sequels again
I don't want to tell too much about any of these three books, because it would be so easy to spoil them for those who haven't read them. But here's a synopsis:
GRACELING: There are five kingdoms, and in these five kingdoms, occasionally a child is born with what they call a "grace." This is some special ability, and it can be as amazing as reading minds, or as ridiculous as being able to open one's mouth wide enough to put in a watermelon. These children are called "gracelings," and they are known by the two different color eyes they have, once their talent settles. Once it is known that they are gracelings, they are given up to be servants of the king of whichever kingdom in which they live. Katsa is the protagonist of the first book, and supposedly her grace is to kill. But she is working hard, behind the scenes, to prove that there is more to her than being King Randa's assassin, and in the course of her duties, she meets Prince Po, from the Lienid kingdom, who is also a graceling, although his grace is not immediately apparent. These two share a quest, and the rest of the book is about their journey towards it.
This was a really satisfying (though in some places difficult/emotional to read) sequel to two of my favorite YA fantasies. (Graceling was one of the "Teens Top Ten" books for 2009.) The ideas, the language, and the wonderful characters all kept me fascinated from start to finish.
For those of you who enjoyed listening to Maggie Stiefvater and Corey Whaley talk about their writing process, here is an article about Bitterblue from the perspective of Kristin Cashore's editor, Kathy Dawson, who, upon receiving the original 800-page manuscript, sent it back to Cashore with the advice to cut at least 300 pages--and start over from scratch! Imagine...
trailer. Check it out...
Finally--and I hope they will forgive me for scanning this in from the book--I would like to say how beautiful I found the maps and illustrations by Ian Schoenherr. They look like woodcuts, and perfectly enhanced the feel of the story.