Fire by Kristin Cashore
Author: Kristin Cashore
Publisher: Dial Books
Series: Graceling Realm #2
Release Date: October 5th 2009
This is where Fire lives. With a wild, irresistible appearance and hair the color of flame, Fire is the last remaining human monster. Equally hated and adored, she had the unique ability to control minds, but she guards her power, unwilling to steal the secrets of innocent people. Especially when she has so many of her own.
Then Prince Brigan comes to bring her to King City, The royal family needs her help to uncover the plot against the king. Far away from home, Fire begins to realize there's more to her power than she ever dreamed. Her power could save the kingdom.
If only she weren't afraid of becoming the monster her father was.
This book is not your typical sequel. It is set in the same mythical realm as Graceling (book 1), but the characters are completely different. So, Fire is a whole new story.
Fire starts with the story of a young Graceling, who can compel people and uses his powers for evil. It turns out this is Leck, who is the main antagonist from Graceling (I did not get this immediately, it was a long time since I read Graceling). After this, he does not show up for about three quarters of the book, which I found a bit annoying. I was constantly waiting for him to show up.
Then we meet the protagonist, Fire. She is a female monster who posseses the gift of altering and reading people's minds and she is incredibly beautiful, both of which she tends to dislike. She resides with her friend Lord Archer (who is in love with her) after her evil monster father died. From the beginning I did not like Archer. He seemed to care for Fire, but he was short-tempered and tried to hold Fire on a sort of leach.
Then Prince Brigan came to take Fire to the King's City. At first he was cold to Fire, since her father helped destroy Brigan's father's kingdom. But soon they get to know each other and you can just sense something is going to happen there. In the King's City Fire develops her powers, which she first refused to use. She slowly tries to accept her being a monster and using her powers for good, to question the King's enemies. King Nash, Brigan's brother I found a bit weird. From the beginning he was telling her he was in love with her, even when he did not know her. Later he turns by, but he still can't properly look at her. This makes him look a bit weak.
Brigan has a major character change and turns out to be a very kind, caring man with a secret daughter, Hanna, who Fire becomes friends with. When Archer comes to court, he has a fight with Fire and he takes off on a trip to catch a mysterious archer (who already showed up a few times) but not after impregnating 2 girls. This made me dislike him even more. But after Fire is caught by the mysterious archer, who turns out to be Leck (finally we meet him again), she discovers Archer is killed by Leck. This made her terribly sad, which made me also quite sad and take my disliking of him back. In the end she escapes and is found again by Brigan. A war between the Kingdom and its enemies is now really starting and King Nash gets hurt. But everything turns out well and Brigan and Fire, who have confessed their love for each other, live happily ever after..
I really liked the character of Fire. She is very strong, has good morals and she cares for everyone. Although people tend to dislike her at first because she is a monster and because of her father, everyone warms up to her once they get to know her. She only uses her powers for good and is willing to sacrifice herself for the ones she loves.
The descriptions of the landscape and the characters were very well-written and detailed. She could just see Fire's beautiful hair before you when the writer described it.
What I did not like about this book were all the enemies and their schemes. Fire has to find out who is on the King's side and who's not, because there is the threat of war. This was all quite confusing and I still do not really understand who was on who's side and why.
Also the revelation of Brigan and Archer being brothers was too quickly explained, I do not know how it all fits together. I found this story arc to be unneccesary, just put in to have a little shock before the end.
I would certainly recommend this book. The story is captivating, the characters are well-written and the fantasy elements are beautifully described. I'm looking forward to reading Bitterblue, book number 3.