Fire by Kristin Cashore

Kristin Cashore is one of my new favorite authors. I just finished reading Fire, her second novel, and her prequel to the bestselling debut Graceling. And it doesn't matter which one you read first. They're both amazing, and both definitely books I'd recommend.

Fire takes place in the kingdom of The Dells where the young King Nash and his brother and military commander Prince Brigan are desperately trying to hold together the kingdom their father just about plunged into ruin before his death. They're worried about enemies on multiple fronts and traitors within their kingdom they may - or may not - know about, and they're plagued about the choices their father made and what kind of men they will become.

Variations of animals known in other parts of the world also live in the Dells - colorful and astonishing creatures the Dellian people call monsters for they crave the taste of human flesh and of other monster flesh. They are spectacularly beautiful - colored fuchsia, turquoise, bronze, and green - so beautiful, they can stun people with their beauty and cloud their minds, and the Dellian people have to learn to strengthen their minds against the monsters.

Fire is a human monster, the last of her kind. She can control people's minds, and they often find her irresistibly desirable, which makes many of them hate her. She finds herself in a unique position where she can help King Nash and Prince Brigan and help restore the Dellian Kingdom to prosperity, but she has to decide whether she's willing to use her power since she knows what it can cost.

What I loved most about Fire (as well as Graceling) is the amazing strength Kristin Cashore gives to her main character. Like Katsa before her, Fire faces tough choices that test her emotional and physical strength. She is forced to think about the morality of her actions and the actions of others, to really examine the good and the evil in the world around her and determine her part in all of it. And when she finds herself in trouble, she doesn't wait for her love interest or anyone else to come save her. She saves herself.

The other characters is Fire are well drawn and complex, many of them embodying good qualities as well as flaws. There were several members of the royal family I didn't like when they were first introduced, but I found myself growing to love them just as Fire did. The action is well paced throughout the story with several twists I began to figure out as well as a few I didn't see coming. I found myself thoroughly sucked in after the first chapter, and I turned the pages late into the night until I got to the end.

I also am rather in love with Prince Brigan.

Katsa has been able to kill a man with her bare hands since she was eight—she’s a Graceling, one of the rare people in her land born with an extreme skill. As niece of the king, she should be able to live a life of privilege, but Graced as she is with killing, she is forced to work as the king’s thug.

She never expects to fall in love with beautiful Prince Po.

She never expects to learn the truth behind her Grace—or the terrible secret that lies hidden far away . . . a secret that could destroy all seven kingdoms with words alone.

Check out Kristin Cashore's blog HERE.

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Angiegirl said...

Yes, yes, yes! Exactly what you said. Her strong female characters are so wonderfully nuanced and endearing.

And just plop right down here on the Brigan bench. *sigh*

Lisa Desrochers said...

Just started Fire today. (After I got pissed off at my character, I needed some time away.) Can I just say, I want to be Kristin Cashore? She's my idol.