All The Books I Can Read

1 girl….2 many books!

Review: Fire by Kristin Cashore

on September 8, 2017

Fire (Graceling Realm #2)
Kristin Cashore
Gollancz
2010, 384p
Purchased personal copy

Blurb {from the publisher/Goodreads.com}:

She is the last of her kind… It is not a peaceful time in the Dells. In King City, the young King Nash is clinging to the throne, while rebel lords in the north and south build armies to unseat him. War is coming. And the mountains and forest are filled with spies and thieves. This is where Fire lives, a girl whose beauty is impossibly irresistible and who can control the minds of everyone around her.

Exquisitely romantic, this companion to the highly praised “Graceling” has an entirely new cast of characters, save for one person who plays a pivotal role in both books. You don’t need to have read “Graceling” to love “Fire.” But if you haven’t, you’ll be dying to read it next. 

I loved this book.

I read Graceling recently and immediately ordered both Fire and Bitterblue. The second book, Fire only features one common character with Graceling and actually takes place well before Graceling but I just love this world. I honestly wish there was a dozen books to read from Kristin Cashore set in this world. It’s just amazing.

So in this book we have Fire, who is what is loosely termed as ‘monster’. Monsters can be any species and they look physically similar but they are…..more. Just amazingly more. Brilliantly coloured. So you might have a glossy, perfect, purple horse. That’s a monster horse. Or a stunningly beautiful blue monster kitten. Fire’s father was a monster (in more ways than one) and the offspring of monsters and humans are always monsters. In Fire’s case she’s so amazingly beautiful that she renders almost everyone who comes into contact with her dumb with her beauty. Strangers will profess love for her or want to marry her. They’ll want to touch her. In some cases, they will also want to hurt her. Her hair is one of her monster features, being an incredibly bright myriad of red, orange and pink hues. She keeps it mostly bound up in a headscarf so as not to distract people and seeks to cover herself as much as possible. She learned early that people will not always take no for an answer and she has to protect herself.

Fire can also slip into people’s minds and manipulate them. Her father was incredibly cruel and she has always taken care never to use her power to hurt people. She may redirect their interest or seek to gentle their thoughts if they think to hurt her or even throw themselves at her and she loathes doing even that. Fire is a young woman in heartbroken conflict about her gifts and her desperation to never use her power to hurt anyone. Her father enjoyed hurting people and was corrupted by a desire for power. He helped ruin the previous King and tried to kill the King’s youngest son Prince Brigan, a warrior with abilities far beyond his young years, many times. But now her father is dead and although the Prince Brigan looks at Fire with a deep distrust, he does not seem affected by her monster beauty. His mind is a closed book to her, strongly guarded and she need not fear his reaction to her. What he does do is bring out her guilt about her father.

Fire is no Katsa – she can’t physically fight, she’s not even particularly strong. She has some pretty severe mental hang ups as well about her abilities and about being a monster. She was raised in relative isolation with few friends and people are mostly in awe of her or scared of her and what she could do. Her mind is a mess of guilt and loathing both of herself and her gift. She has daddy issues for days that just get bigger and bigger the further you get into the novel. Since I finished this book I read a lot of criticism about Fire, that she was pathetic and weak and not worthy of being a main character. But I actually appreciated that about her – that she began the book isolated and unwilling to explore what her gift could do and as the book progressed, she learned. She realised she could be useful without being cruel, that she could use her gift without it meaning that she would turn into her father. I actually found her quite likable and when she was away from her home, she really began to grow into herself. She made friends, connections with guards, princesses, children.

There is a love story in this and though it’s understated, it’s seriously perfect. I adore it. It just has so many things that I find enjoyable to read – I will admit that I’m a total sucker for a story where there’s distrust and possibly even dislike that has to be overcome. A bond takes time to develop and this book does this with careful, sweet scenes that bring two people closer together. They have so much in common – both are conflicted about the uglier side of what they can do and fear that it’ll be reason for each other to look at them in horror. I loved their quiet conversations, the way in which they opened themselves up to each other. I also appreciate Kristin Cashore’s open mindedness about relationships and the focus not necessarily being on marriage.

This is such a fabulous world. Loved Graceling, I love this and now Bitterblue will be moved up my TBR pile because I can’t get enough.

9/10

Book #152 of 2017It actually wasn’t until I finished this book that I realised I could also count it towards my participation in #TheReadingQuest Challenge. Although the second book in the Graceling Realm series, Fire is more a companion to the other two books. It’s set in the same world but well before the other two and features only one common character.

My updated character card. 10ts added for another book completed and 38pts added for pages read. With just three days left in this challenge now, I hope to finish one more book.

Thanks as always to Aentee from Read At Midnight for hosting and CW from Read, Think, Ponder for the artwork.

 

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