I am so so happy that "Cashore" is so alphabetically close to "Bray," because this book was in the spot next to it.
I normally don't love fantasy. I can't be bothered to break my head learning new places, species, languages, kingdoms, social stratifications, blah blah blah. But the premise of this book was interesting enough - a world where some people are born with a Grace, which is kind of like a superpower, and Katsa, a girl who fights for the right to use hers for good and not evil - for me to bring it home with me.
I am so. glad. I did.
You guys, in the YA Author's Pantheon, Kristin Cashore gets ultimate storyweaving goddess status. She weaves worldbuilding elements, characters, plot points, and emotional hooks together with her sweeping narrative voice so seamlessly, that before you know it three hours have passed, you're moving to one of the Seven Kingdoms tomorrow, you're reasonably sure you're Katsa's best friend and/or that she would kill you if you crossed her, but you would jeopardize it all to jump on her handsome Prince friend, and most of all?
You feel like you've just left a freaking five star story spa.
I'm not even exaggerating. You feel relaxed and content and blissful and AWASH in the awesome, awesome story. Kristin's writing is like a cashmere blanket made out of letters and words; rich, luxurious, and one of the best things to wrap yourself up in.
Yeah. I know.
And that's just her books.
Kristin is one extra-classy authoress.
Yeah, you heard her right. She writes all her stories longhand. IN A NOTEBOOK. Don't you just want to (buy yourself a notebook and some pens and) hang out in a coffeeshop with her and write magical stories with strong heroines and hunky Princes?
As if all that wasn't enough, she is such an awesome cheerleader for other writers. She wrote some beautiful words about writing, fear, and letting go here, and her NaNoWriMo Pep Talk from a couple of years ago is truly inspirational.
Her next book, Bitterblue, is being released soon. They haven't announced a date, but Kristin posted some photos of the manuscript (Yes! It's paper! Full of Post-It notes!) on her blog the other day, and I totally freaked out. In a good way, you know.
That makes it official! I have a ginormous author crush on Kristin Cashore.
Have you read Graceling and Fire? Are you as obsessed as I am?