Graceling Realm Series by Kristin Cashore has always had a special place a in my heart. Its world is neither the most complex I have ever seen nor is the story the most sophisticated, yet the characters carve a place into one's heart forever. It was a series I thought I had finished back in 2013 (three years before I began Stars Uncounted), marking it on facebook with the following post:
"I have just finished Bitterblue, third and final book of Kristin Cashore's Seven Kingdoms Trilogy.
I began this series years ago, starting with a girl named Katsa who thought she was Graced with killing, but found love, friendship, and her true Grace. I continued with a girl named Fire, a Monster from the Dells who was hated for what her father was but who, like Katsa, found love and friendship and piece with her powers. And then Bitterblue, a teen Queen of a shattered kingdom and an old friend who endured betrayal, heartache, adventure, and the true meaning of love and friendship; and the importance of learning the Truth and Healing.
Now I am done. Thank you so much for everything Bitterblue, Fire, Katsa, Po, Raffin, Bann, Giddon, Nash, Brigan, Helda, Teddy, Saf, and Hava. I love you all and will see you again someday. I promise."
Since then its name has of course changed from the Seven Kingdoms Trilogy to the Graceling Realm Series, which is just as well because I just learned that come January 19, 2021 it is to be a trilogy no longer. For on that date Kristin Cashore expands the Graceling Realm geographically as well as otherwise with her newest novel Winterkeep, the book being named for a new nation beyond the known world and presumably the Winter Sea. A book in which we will be reunited with dear Bitterblue, brave Queen and now 23-year-old friend as well as Giddon from the Council and good old Hava. And, of course, a new friend named Lovisa Cavenda.
When I wrote the above facebook post saying that I would see my old friends again someday I meant when I eventually reread the series. Not going to be the case, apparently, and doubly so since Winterkeep will itself have a sequel. Honestly, when I finish The Wheel of Time I will have likely have to wait a whole year before reading anything new on account of the old series' refusing to end. A good problem to have, but still...