WARRIOR WOMEN AS MAIN CHARACTERS: Katsa in Graceling

Summary — “Graceling” by Kristin Cashore

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In the Seven Kingdoms, there are people graced with powers at a specific skill called “Gracelings”. These powers range from mind reading, to fatal touch, and to many more. They can be identified with their mismatched coloured eyes. They are treated with fear in the Seven kingdoms and are known as properties of the kings. Katsa is the niece of King Randa, the King of the Muddluns. Her power is of one of the most dangerous kinds — fatal touch. Her uncle uses her as a weapon against people he dislikes, giving him the power to be feared by many. Kats runs a secret organisation within the realms to fight those who are being maltreated by the corrupt rulers of the kingdoms.

In a mission to rescue the former king of a land called Lienid, Katsa meeds a guard who she knocks out, but doesn’t kill. She releases the old king, Tealiff. After returning back to Randa’s castle, Katsa finds out that the guard she knocked out was in fact Prince Po, the youngest of the Lienid princes and grand son of Tealiff, in search for his grandfather. Prince Po and Katsa become friends and help one another in finding out who kidnapped Tealiff. Prince Po makes Katsa see Randa’s bad intentions in using her powers, and decides to go with him to Monsea, where King Leck is one of their suspects for kidnapping Tealiff.

In their journey to Monsea, they start to believe that King Leck is Graced with the ability to make people believe in his false stories, although it is impossible to tell because he is missing an eye. In the journey to find the truth and save the life of Tealiff and others, Katsa and Po fall in love. In the Monsean forest, Katsa and Po see King Leck hunt and shoot Ashen, the Monsean Queen and Po’s aunt. Leck makes everyone believe that it was an accident, but Po does not. They search the forest for Ashen’s daughter, Bitterblue, who tells them that King Leck is in fact Graced with the power to make people believe anything he says. Ashen and Bitterblue were trying to escape when King Leck had a sudden interest in Bitterblue. They hid in the forest, hence being the reason King Leck ordered to kidnap Lienid, in order to make Ashen come out if she knew her father was in danger.

In an effort to save Bitterblue, Po tries to kill King Leck, getting injured in the process. He forces Katsa to travel with Bitterblue alone. In the following quest that Katsa must do alone, she grows as a heroine and becomes a role model for young girls all over the Seven Kingdoms.

Review

Katsa is undoubtably intelligent, strong, and independent. Yet, again, something that makes her a great heroine is her imperfection. She is ill-tempered and at times impulsive. Her ability to remain loyal to her virtues for freedom and justice is what drives her to accomplish the dangerous and almost fatal task of freeing the people who deserve it, and damning those who don’t.

Kristin Cashore wrote a book with an eccentric world in it — a world where magic and reality coexist without overpowering one another. She created a heroine who is not only fierce and immensely loyal, she is also virtuous and righteous.

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