Subjective tropes in Graceling:
- Complete Monster: King Leck, though at first seeming to be a kind and noble ruler, is quickly revealed to be the most monstrous character in the story. Developing his Grace of Compelling Voice as a toddler, Leck used it to abuse his own father and all those around him in any way he could, while taking a liking to torturing and killing small animals. After murdering his father, Leck eventually takes control of an entire kingdom after murdering all of the current royalty. As king of Monsea, Leck uses his ability to force people to overlook the fact that he regularly tortures hundreds of animals at a time, abuses his own staff, and is kidnapping dozens of little girls from surrounding kingdoms. Leck regularly abuses and rapes his wife, leading to the birth of his daughter, Bitterblue, who Leck plans to torture and mold into the "perfect heir" to his throne. When Bitterblue and her mother flee, Leck casually murders the woman, before trying to recapture Bitterblue, at which point he is killed while trying to cause maximum emotional pain to all those around him with his powers. Despite his death, Leck's influence and evil continued to haunt the kingdom of Monsea for decades to come, with it being revealed that Leck used hundreds of innocent women and little girls as subjects for his horrifying Grace-experiments, often resulting in said subjects' deaths. He also forced his own advisors to rape, torture, and murder dozens of those same subjects for his own amusement, relishing their screams of agony and horror, before forcing his healers to revive the women so he could do it all over again. Sadistic beyond belief and viewing his various atrocities as "art" that should be honored, King Leck was the worst this fantasy series had to offer, horrifying and repulsing all those who knew his true nature.
- Fridge Horror: There are probably people with a Grace for sex. And Gracelings are usually enslaved by kings...
- Of course that's the kind of Grace that would take (hopefully!) about sixteen years to discover, so an impatient king might declare them useless by then. As long as they're not stupid enough to go bragging about it, they should be fine.
- Ho Yay: Raffin and Bann. According to Word of God, about their relationship is her most frequently asked question.
Katsa: I told him I'm not going to marry you and hang on to you like a barnacle, just to keep you to myself and stop you loving anyone else.Po: It's all right, you know. Other people don't have to understand.Katsa: I worry about it.Po: Don't worry about it. We'll muddle through. And there are those who do understand. Raffin does. And Bann.Katsa: Yes, I suppose they do.
- Confirmed as of Bitterblue.
- Real Women Don't Wear Dresses: Katsa hates wearing dresses. Or anything feminine, really. Which leads to Broken Base: Refreshing subversion of feminine stereotypes, or novelized hatred of all things effeminate?
- Justified Trope: Katsa's nature is that of a fighter, and she is most used to wearing clothes that are comfortable and suitable for fighting. Also, the fact that Randa forced her to pretend to be a lady while he toted her a weapon. On the inside she felt like a monster, not a lady, so it is natural that she would reject ladylike behaviors. The fact that Randa essentially used forced ladylike behaviors and clothing as a method of controlling her would also naturally lead to resentment of all things feminine.
- Some Anvils Need to Be Dropped: Part in parcel with the Broken Base. While there are those who don't like the vehement rejection of marriage and motherhood that Katsa displays in the book, many have expressed appreciation for a female lead who not only averts the standardized Happily Married and Babies Ever After ending, but firmly rejects it. A woman who flat-out does not want children and has zero desire to be a mother is often considered odd even in today's world, sometimes to the point of encountering hostility regarding her decision and views, so there are those who found it gratifying to finally have a female protagonist who was not only firmly against personally having children, but did not fall prey to the Mandatory Motherhood trope.
- What Do You Mean, It's for Kids?: Despite the 14+ rating, there are a couple of (nondescript) sex scenes in this novel. This has become a subject of controversy among Amazon reviewers.
Subjective tropes in Fire:
- Mary Sue: Fire herself, to some people. Of course, she's probably a deconstruction, as the novel points out the Real Life consequences being a Mary Sue would have. She is also called out on her flaws and/or on her mistakes by other characters, including at least one Quit Your Whining scene.
- Real Women Don't Wear Dresses: In direct contrast to Katsa, Fire subverts this. She's a musician, desperately wants children, does indeed wear dresses, and is mentioned to like flowers and flower arranging. And she's not much of an Action Girl either, although she tries. However, she's hardly a wimp.
- What an Idiot: Brocker? You shouldn't have shacked up with your mad king's wife, okay?