“Most people don't realize how important librarians are. I ran across a book recently which suggested that the peace and prosperity of a culture was solely related to how many librarians it contained. Possibly a slight overstatement. But a culture that doesn't value its librarians doesn't value ideas and without ideas, well, where are we?”
Neil Gaiman

Tuesday, October 23, 2012

The Wonderful World of Kristen Cashore’s Fantasy Novels

by Kristen Cashore

I fell in love with the fantasy writing of Kristin Cashore with her debut novel Graceling and was equally pleased with her second novel Fire.  When I had the opportunity to meet her at a local book signing shortly after this year’s release of Bitterblue, I couldn’t resist.  It was fascinating listening to Kristen speak about her writing process.  She still writes all of her novels by hand in notebooks which she later dictates into a computer.  Even her revisions are done in her written notebooks.  Her handwriting is beautiful!

If you haven’t read these wonderful fantasy novels, Gracelings are humans who have special talents, called Graces, and they are marked by birth with two different colored eyes.  As they grow older, the Grace begins to emerge.  Sometimes it is apparently obvious to those around him or her, and sometimes it is not.  It can be anything from incredible skill at fighting to reading minds.

Kristen Cashore’s latest novel opens up with Bitterblue as the Queen of Monsea after the death of her father, King Leck, who had the Grace of being able to alter minds.  Most Graces seem to be put to use for good, but Leck was violent and committed horrible psychopathic acts with his Grace.  Bitterblue begins sneaking out of the castle at night to try and uncover the past that her insane father made everyone forget and in the process befriends two thieves who are stealing back things stolen in the past.   

Just like her other two novels, Cashore brings us another strong female heroine as well as reintroducing a few characters from past novels.  There is never a dull moment in the world she is building and as always, she leaves us sitting on our seats waiting for the next installment.

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