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The world on a page

Last week (or maybe it was over the past two weeks…I’ve lost track), I read Graceling, Fire, and Brightly Woven. I was struck by the similarity in these three strong heroines with supernatural abilities. But the more I thought about it, the more I realized that the connection between these three books is far greater. Kristin Cashore and Alexandra Bracken have devoted a tremendous amount of page space (and time and energy) to creating intricate worlds for their characters to live in.

These worlds are similar to our own, or to an earlier version of our own:  There are people who live in houses with forests, mountains and oceans nearby.  They travel on horse or foot or boat.  They fall in love and have children.  But both worlds are also inhabited by the fantastic: people with perfect, preternatural abilities in one thing, like cooking or tending to animals or killing; monsters so beautiful as to be bewitching; world-weary wizards and kingdoms rife with political intrigue.

All three books contain the kind of story that stays with you, worlds that inhabit your thoughts in that time before falling asleep.  It’s a readerly type of magic, being lost in a world through a book.  So many of my favorites have created a new world for their stories: Harry Potter, Lord of the Rings, The Golden Compass.  It’s a special experience, almost like a secret between reader and author.

I hope these two authors will continue to write in these worlds.  It’s always a bit sad, as a reader, when the world that you’ve been living in suddenly disappears with no hope of more to come.  I remember reading the last page of The Deathly Hallows and the remorse that I felt for finishing it so quickly.  I wasn’t ready for that world, that reading experience, to end.  That’s how I feel about these two worlds, too.

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Discussion

3 thoughts on “The world on a page

  1. I haven’t had the chance to read Brightly Woven yet. I’m so glad you liked Graceling and Fire though! Kashore is currently working on Bitterblue, the 3rd book, and according to her blog, it’s taking her an extraordinary amount of time to make her world work the way she wants it. The time and precision that she puts into each tiny detail is what makes her books so fascinating to me. She once went into great detail to talk about the dialect of her characters, the words each chose to say and how she had to research the root of most words to make sure it wasn’t contradictory to their backgrounds. Its amazing to me that she would put that much detail into her story, but then again, that’s why her story book world is so phenomenal and real.

    Posted by Heather | April 9, 2010, 7:26 pm
  2. I loved both Graceling and Fire, but I liked Graceling a bit better, which makes me ever-so-happy that the third book will be about Bitterblue. Is there a release date? Hmmm. Off to check Amazon.

    Posted by coffeequeen | April 10, 2010, 4:12 am
  3. I’m so happy to finally know other people who have read Graceling and Fire. I loved Graceling immediately and have already read it twice. And I love this post! “It’s a readerly type of magic, being lost in a world through a book.” <–SO TRUE!!!

    Posted by Rain | April 17, 2010, 4:47 pm

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