In the last few months, I was able to finally finish the Harry Potter series, then the Hunger Games series, and last night, finally, Kristen Cashore’s excellent trilogy: Graceling, Fire, and Bitterblue.
I love this series. Every book stars a brave and complex female protagonist. Every book also features a panoply of strong and fascinating female characters. Females are spies, fighters, queens, healers, on and on. There are also great male characters. The books also have heroic gay characters and disabled characters.
These books are disturbing. They deal with rape and incest, not directly, but implied and discussed in the book. If the reader doesn’t get the horror of those acts, she misses a lot of the story. Also, each book features a passionate love affair. My oldest kid is 10, and I would not let her read these because of the rape/ incest parts of the story. I don’t yet know what age would be appropriate because I’ve learned not to trust the recommendations I see around. In fact, that’s why I started Reel Girl. IMO, Cinderella gets a triple S for major gender stereotyping/ not appropriate for kids. I’m thinking 15 for Bitterblue because the sexual violence is central to the plot, but Graceling and Fire, age 12? But then again, rape and incest happen in the real world, so if this is going on or has happened in kids’ lives, reading about it would be a good thing. It’s such an individual choice. Let me know if you or your kids have any experience with these books.
Reel Girl rates Graceling, Fire, and Bitterblue ***HHH****