Is it true that all superheroes are men? Are qualities such as bravery and courage associated only with the male part of the society? I think not. And I was happy to find out that my opinion is shared by amazing authors. When I started reading ‘Graceling’ I already knew that this book was something special. The protagonist is a woman – the young and beautiful Katsa. Kristin Cashore portrays her heroine as the person you would like to read a novel about. And the background is more than exotic and interesting.
In the Seven Kingdoms there are people called gracelings who are blessed with a special skill. They are easily recognized for their eyes are mismatched and colored differently. Also they are feared by all and exploited by rulers who claim property on those whose grace is usable. Katsa lives in the palace of her uncle where everyone avoids meeting her blue and green gaze. But her grace is repulsive even to her for she is skilled in killing. The king abuses her powers and frequently sends her to punish and torture anyone who displeases him. Not a very blissful way of living.
But when she meets prince Po, the handsome young graceling fighter who has an even more intimidating stare than her, Katsa learns there is more to life. And that is when everything changes. The lady killer will discover something new about her grace which will alter her view of the world. But before that she becomes friend with the man who has one eye golden and the other one silver coloring. The two of them embark on a journey to uncover a secret lying very far away. A secret so well kept that it could destroy the seven kingdoms on its own. But this is all I can say about the plot without giving anything away.
Through the eyes of Katsa the reader can experience the difficulties for a woman to survive in a men’s world. Even though the lady killer can shut out her emotions, sometimes her vulnerability gets the better of her. Also the model of a woman at that time in a place such as one of the kingdoms is that of a housewife. And Katsa could never come to terms with living in a cold and lonely castle, giving everything up to raise the children of a man she may not even love. Kristin Cashore gives her readership an independent and valiant woman who doesn’t fit in society’s role for her. And that’s all right. When she is not content with the road set out for her, Katsa has no problems to make a new path on her own.
It is important for women to know that they could be anything they want. If a girl decides she wants to be boxer or a sword fighter or a football player, she should be, no, she must be. If that is what she really wants. And her choices do not make her less feminine. Being a ballet dancer or even the so dreaded by some – housewife- do not make a woman something less. Making the big decisions – that’s what makes a woman something more.
Kristin Cashore gives us the opportunity to see a girl struggling with the needs of her surroundings alongside with hers. We see Katsa breaking all boundaries with only her inner strength. For being a lady killer does not help when it comes to the wanderings of the heart. To find out more about this lovely character read ‘Graceling’.