August 12, 2013

Review: Fire by Kristin Cashore

Fire (Graceling Realm #2)
Author: Kristin Cashore
Release Date: October 5th, 2009
Publisher: Dial Books
Page Count: 461
Source: Borrowed from the New York Public Library
Rating: FANTASY-TASTIC (And all-around awesome)
It is not a peaceful time in the Dells. The young King Nash clings to his throne while rebel lords in the north and south build armies to unseat him. The mountains and forests are filled with spies and thieves and lawless men.

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.

[Summary Source: Goodreads]

Fire is a Monster. She can control people's minds. But she doesn't like to. She doesn't want to be a monster. She saw her father be the worst, and she doesn't want that for herself. So she hides herself away and her best friend, Archer, and his father (AKA her adoptive family) help her do it. Until one day, King Nash and his brother, Prince Brigan (whose father Fire's father corrupted and essentially killed) ask Fire to come to the palace and help put down the rebellion in the Dells. Fire goes. Things get real.

Let's break this down:

So, you don't need to read Graceling (the first book in the Graceling Realm series) to read Fire but I would say you should. Because once you read Fire, there are spoilers for Graceling. And if you're into fantasy into a little bit, you're going to want to read both of these books. BECAUSE THEY'RE AWESOME.

Fire absolutely continues the legacy of awesome Kristin Cashore is creating for herself here. To start with, there's a badass story. Fire's a MONSTER. Her hair is fiery and awesome. And she has the power to basically control everyone but she doesn't use it because her power scares her. But then she gets her shenanigans together and realizes she can control who she is what she does and it's up to her to decide if she's gonna be a psycho like her father was or a normal person, like she can be.

There are also a ton of awesome side plots going on here - the romance between Fire and Archer, the romance between Fire and Brigan, the question of who fathered who (there a ton of confusion there), Leck and like a trillion other things. Although, my favorite part of all these plots isn't that they're all individually awesome, it's that they're all tied together. These characters can pretend to hate each other all they want (as happens in the beginning of the story), but they can't deny that wherever they're going, they're going there together. It's actually pretty glorious.

Aside from the plot, I loved everything about this book. No. Seriously. I'm not even mad that all of the characters are stuck together because I love all of them. Even when Archer turns out to be a playa and Nash is a giant idiot with his irrational feelings for Fire. There isn't a single misstep in this book. Everyone flows SO VERY WONDERFULLY.

And I'm sorry, I love Fire. I love how what she is is explained. I love how no detail is missed. I love how her growth through the story is so deliberate and clear. She could be a real person, sitting next to me, her hair blinding me. Oh, and the tension between her and Archer and her and Brigan? It's not a TRUE love triangle, I don't think, but I liked it, it was good, it worked, don't ever let that deter you from reading. Ever.

I also think this book, in context of the series, is BETTER than Graceling when considering the prose. I mean, the stories and the twists and the characters in both are equally amazing, but the prose in Fire is less clunky. There were some points in Graceling where I felt MAYBE Kristin Cashore was trying too hard to make this sound like a HIgh Fantasy based off Medieval Times, but Fire flows a lot better.

I don't know. I feel like I could go on about this book forever. I really, really freaking loved it, but I think if there's one thing Kristin Cashore does amazingly well is tying all the pieces together. There's nothing put in there just for the sake of having it there. If a character is introduced, he's introduced for a reason. If a fact is but out there, it's not just for kicks, it's to tie into something else. And it's not obvious why these characters or facts are introduced. Or maybe they are and I'm just too engrossed with the story to see them coming. BUT THAT'S ALSO A SIGN OF A REALLY AWESOME BOOK, ISN'T IT?

[I thought so.]

The long and short of it?

Plot: Amazingly constructed and all-around brilliant.
World Building: Flawlessly put together, just like the plot. I really liked how we're taken to a completely different land - AKA not the one we grew to love in Graceling - it really let the story grow into itself, as opposed to relying on the story that came before it (or after, if we're speaking in terms of time in the story).
Character Development: Have I mentioned how much I love Fire and how everything she goes through changes her from a scared monster into an in control girl? HAVE I?
Prose: Confident, strong and perfect for this genre.
Would I Recommend This Book?: I think this would be a good book for lots and lot of people. Even for people who aren't so into fantasy. There is a little harping on menstruation, which might gross people out, but it's there for a good reason. I would definitely recommend reading Graceling first though. It's kind of hard to go back because there are spoilers for Graceling in Fire. But yes. Read both. Please.

This book made me swoon, and not even just because of the cute boys that popped up at every turn. Or because I love high fantasy. But enough about me, have you read? Do you love? Tell me all about it in the comments below!


  1. I really liked this book! Cashore really told a good story. While I still prefer Graceling over Fire (because Katsa and Po!), I think Fire was a solid second story.

  2. Yay! You loved this one toooo. Looking at the reviews for this series is hilarious, because even amongst my friends on GR, some people loved or hated on or the other or both. Awesome people like you and me loved both. It's very divisive basically.

    Fire is so badass. Also, Brigan. *swoons* They're so amazing together and just AGH.

    You're going to beat me to Bitterblue. I've been sitting on it, because I am afraid I won't love it as much and because then there are no more Kristin Cashore books. I love her, but she is one of the slowest YA authors. *sighs*

  3. I LOVED Fire. Like you said, everything flows so well, and the characters are great. It's not really a TRUE love triangle, even though it sounds like one from the description. The who-fathered-who business was a nice touch as well!

    Also: *sigh* Brigan. I love him.

  4. I thought Fire was better than Graceling too. I loved Graceling but Fire just blew me away. Bitterblue is great too but I think Fire will always be my favorite. Great review!

    Katie @ Katie's Book Blog

  5. YES YES YES another Fire lover! That sounds weird, but who cares? I embrace the awesomeness that is Fire, and yay for you deepening your Cashore love lol. Fire is better than Graceling. Prose and everything else. Kristin Cashore is as BA as her stories. Tight plotting and awesome characters and *sigh*. I wonder what her contemporary will be like (her next story, or so I hear).

    Also, if Fire is a real person, I call dibbs on first invitation over for tea. Even if she blinds me for the entire hour.

  6. Oh, I love Fire so, so much! I just love the questions of beauty and monstrosity that Cashore makes at the forefront of this novel. And I don't think it's a true love triangle either. I interpreted it as Archer representing Fire in hiding (from her birthright, her power, everything) while being with Brigan enabled Fire to understand that, yes, there are difficulties in owning up to her power, but she's still choosing to own up to them and grow.

  7. Graceling is one of my favorite books, but I never went on to reading Fire and I have no idea why. I'm so excited that you loved it, I'm totally going to go read it now!!

    Emily from Blue-Eyed Bibliophile

  8. I felt the exact same way about this one! It's absolutely my favorite of the series and I cannot say enough wonderful things about it. I loved how different it was from Graceling, but still held onto that amazing feeling of wonderfulness! Great review and glad you liked it!


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