So when I first decided that I’d interview Katsa, the Katsa, I’ve got to admit I didn’t really think it through. Yes, I was a bit nervous about meeting her.
There’s two reasons for this.
One: I’ve never met a girl like Katsa. She’s one of the strongest heroines I’ve ever read about. She clambers through mountains waist deep in snow and doesn’t grumble once. I can’t even go outside if it’s a bit frosty if I’ve forgotten my mittens.
Katsa probably doesn’t even own mittens. She’s the kind of girl who could skin a mountain lion (that’s right… a mountain lion) and fashion some kind of practical and hard wearing coat that would last longer than I would on a mountain.
That doesn’t really say much.
Ability to throttle a moose with bare hands > inability to pierce straw through Ribena carton without ended up covered in it.
She’s the kind of girl who is Prepared with a capital P. Anything that life throws at her, she takes in her stride and probably constructs a sturdy shelter from it. She can kill a man with her bare hands, she can protect those that need it and she is so calm, collected and level-headed, she’d put a spirit level to shame.
So what will she think of me? What is she hates me?!
I can barely get on a train on my own.
Which, incidentally, leads me to the second reason that I’m a bit nervous for meeting her.
Two: I’m not the best traveller.
I love travelling. I want to see the entire world; every nook and cranny, every secret hide-away that it has to offer. But, and this is a big but, I kind of hate flying.
I’m OK once I’m up there but taking off and landing… urgh. If you happen to be sitting next to me on a flight, let me tell you a Werthers Original ain’t gonna cut it.
So getting to the Seven Kingdoms is going to be interesting, let alone actually being there. There’s the stunning castles, the evocative cliffs (can cliffs even be evocative? One’s in the Seven Kingdoms can be….) the gorgeous, dark and tangly forests.
If you’ve read Katsa’s biography, Graceling you’ll know how vivid and striking the world is. If you haven’t… then… well…. Um, it’s vivid and striking. You know how sometimes, in fictional stories of course, the setting almost becomes a character? Well Ms Cashore’s way of describing the surroundings was so ace that it honestly felt like I was there standing next to Katsa. Probably with blisters on my feet, scratches from a mountain lion and, you know, hyperthermia.
So this is why I can make an educated guess that Ms Cashore has travelled widely in the Seven Kingdoms because the only alternative is she took notes from Google Street View. And I bet, even if you know nothing about Seven Kingdoms, you’ll know that it’s practically impossible to get a quality Street View of it
Believe me, I’ve tried and…. wait.
One second. There’s something happening outside. I just need to go and check on it.
Um… there are horses outside my house. And a guy in a… well, it looks like a tunic. And he’s kind of beardy.
The horse is now looking directly at me.
It’s actually weird… I was just about to explain that even though I don’t like planes, I hate horses more. They’re so big and scary and… they’re eating the lawn!
Have I got a story for you? Let’s play a game. Do you know how long it takes to get from Manchester to the Seven Kingdoms?
Let me tell you… it’s long.
Folks, I’m so mad and disappointed. You know that on Wear the Old Coat, I like to provide fresh and exciting posts for you and I thought that having an exclusive interview with Katsa, the Katsa would be miles better than any review I could ever write for this YA book that captivated and surprised me.
I mean… biography that captivated and surprise me.
But, guys, it’s not going to happen.
After seventy four hours of non-stop riding on a horse, I got to the camp where I was supposed to be meeting her, armed with my questions and a biro (which ran out and you cannot get refills anywhere here… I met this Graceling who said his Grace was to fix pens but after a few hours, I realised he was just altering my mind to make me think he’d fixed it and… wait, you know what? I’m over it. Completely… utterly… over it. I mean, I was mad… but I’m fine now. FINE) and after a few hours people started crowding around me.
They looked a bit confused and then one of them finally asked who I was and what I was doing here and why I was scribbling frantically on my piece of paper. I explained that I was from a Hot Shot Blog (What? They’re not to know) and I was here to interview Katsa and that’s when the blank faces turned to understanding.
Basically, Katsa wrote me a letter saying she had to go on a last minute visit to see Bitterblue and she couldn’t make it to our interview. But, because the postal system in the Seven Kingdoms isn’t the best, it got lost in the post and I never got her letter!
So I’m sorry, I can’t give you my intelligent and fascinating interview. And I’m so disappointed.
“Nothing like the Royal Mail, eh?” I had said, receiving some more blank looks.
There was nothing else to do except have something to eat and do a few star jumps to limber myself up for seventy four hours of riding back home.
I was just about to get on my horse home when I heard a bit of a commotion. I couldn’t see what it was until I heard a few girls start giggling.
And then I saw a flash, sun reflecting off jewels on someone’s fingers.
And then I started giggling, and blushing…and staring. Mostly staring.
Because Po was suddenly standing there in front of me, all golden and sexy and golden sexy.
I didn’t know what to do. All reason flew out of my mind and I had this crazy, sudden urge to get him to sign my copy of Graceling until I remembered that I was supposed to be professional and have journalistic integrity.
Also my bloody pen wasn’t working.
So, naturally, I just blushed a little bit more and tried and failed to clamber onto my horse.
“Do you need a hand up there?” his voice was like sexy golden honey.
“No… it’s fine,” I smiled weakly, staring up at the beast that was nickering at me, eyes full of hatred. “Just psyching myself up.
“You’re not scared of horses, are you?” he asked.
“Me?! No! I love horses. Especially big gnashy ones, they’re my favourite,” I replied, moving my fingers away from said gnashy teeth.
“OK, well, I’m just going to go for a swim, I’ll just be over there if you need me…” said Po, his fingers reaching for the hem of his shirt.
And that, dear reader, is when my mind went as blank as that… um… what was it that Katsa said? Blank as something…. Blank as a blank thing. Blankity blank… blank. What? Oh yes, abs. Golden, sexy abs.)
“You know I can feel you watching me, right?” said Po, pausing.
I blushed and looked away quickly, staring at the pool to my left. He carried on taking his top off.
How did you know that he carried on? I hear you ask.
I knew this because the pool was very reflective.
Something that I was very appreciative of.
What?! Oh don’t you dare judge me. I had to have something to take my mind off the seventy four hours it would take to get home.
Please note: As hard as it is to believe, most of this did not happen in real life. But I have no idea how to review books from a series so this is my attempt at atleast acknowledging that I’ve read it.
However, Po taking off his top…. That legitimately happened.
Proper review: this book is ace. The world, the characters, the story. Fantastic. Kristin Cashore has definitely earned her place on the “Urgh, fantasy? Fine. Fine. I’ll read it and I’ll love it unconditionally but I’ll still say I don’t like fantasy books” list.
Which, I assure you, is more prestigious than it sounds.