Author: Kristin Cashore
Release Date: October 6th, 2009
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.Before I begin my review: I KNOW RIGHT? If you don't follow my twitter, you don't know that I've been book-bullied into reading this book for AGES. It's been almost two years of people telling me to JUST READ IT ALREADY because Graceling is my favorite book and I finally picked it up and read it. And i'm so glad I did! (And before you go asking: Graceling is still my favorite of all three.)
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 has 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.
Cashore has the kind of writing ability that wows me, people. Where Graceling is fast-paced and actiony, Fire is slow and lush but still completely enthralling me with being in the mind of this girl! She has the ability to still have her writing style in a book but still manage to capture two completely different books and mind sets. Katsa is fire and impulsive and bold where Fire is much more mature and contemplative and I loved it!
Fire was a little mopey at times, but girl, if I was in her position? That kind of life gets awful fast. And while everyone is always pining for the type of beauty that makes people lose their heads; Fire's GOT THAT. AND IT SUCKS. I mean, Fire can't even walk into a village without two guys starting a fight over her or women glaring at her because they're husbands are suddenly cat-calling and salivating over her. And it's not her! And she also manages to write a character of immense beauty (I mean, guys, when she looks at HERSELF in the mirror; she takes her own breath away) without making them sound shallow or conceited. It was just a fact: Fire is a monster and as a monster, she is beauty. And she can control minds and be awesome.
The plot is a lot more slow-paced than Graceling but I found myself completely immersed in the court intrigue. Now that the Crazy King has stepped off the throne, being are getting all uppity and wanting to declare war and conquer the capitol city, which ain't gonna fly with King Nash or the rest of the royal family. It's a lot more traditional high-fantasy than Graceling is (in the sense that folks, it's slow. It's the type of book you read to savor, not to get your blood pumping) but I enjoyed it all the same. Also? The whole concept of monsters and their influence on people was fascinating. Seeing all that Fire and her father could do -- and did do -- was frightening and intriguing all at once.
But that really took it was the characters. The Royal Family: Clara, who I want as best friend; Garan, who is lovely and funny in his own way and also kind of a total genius; Nash, who i'm immensely proud of for learning how to use his head every once in a while; and Brigan, who is brave and kind-hearted and lovely. Then you have the guards like Mila and little Hanna and THEN ARCHER. Archer was definitely a special character. He was an asshat at times and then he was so desperate and lonely and lovely, and I can't help but keep a special place in my heart for him. Also: LECK IS SO EVIL ARGH. He's only 10 or 11 in this book and he still creeps me out. He doesn't make a LOT of appearance but when he does? *shudder*
The romance is slow and not the center of attention, considering this book is more focused on Fire finding out who she is as a person and how she fits into this crazy city and this crazy family, but it's lovely all the same. It's not obvious how the romance builds but it's there in glances and late night talks and it's so subtle that when it finally happens, you don't realize how desperate you were for it to happen!
In the end, not my favorite of the three but really good regardless!