From Goodreads – It is not a peaceful time in the Dells. 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 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.
Okay, I know I’m a little late to the Fire party.
I’m a huge fan of Graceling and Bitterblue, and I’ve owned a copy of Fire for a few years, but for some reason I was hesitant to pick it up. Palace intrigue, rebel lords, blood thirsty raptors, and “human monsters” were not terms that drummed up a lot of interest in me. Crazy, right? Because after Graceling and Bitterblue, I should have just trusted Kristin Cashore to bring an amazing and affecting story, fantastical or otherwise. That’s exactly what she did with Fire.
Fire is a simpler, quieter story than Graceling and Bitterblue, and I mean that in an incredibly complimentary way. Even though Fire is unnaturally beautiful and capable of influencing minds, I found her easier to connect with than Katsa and Bitterblue. Despite her monster gifts, she’s really quite relatable: sensitive and smart and determined and devoted. She’s terrified of her lineage, of the man her father was, and what her past means in terms of the type of woman she might become. I found this aspect of her personality particularly fascinating.
There’s so much to love about this book: Brigan and his adorable relationship with his daughter, Hanna. The never tiresome descriptions of Fire’s beauty and talent and empathy. The kinship between Nash, Brigan, Clara, and Garan. Fire’s evolving relationships with Roen, Archer, Tess, Brocker, Nash, Hanna, and of course Brigan. Leck’s creepiness, and the way he ties this novel to Graceling and Bitterblue. Fire’s inherent sadness and doubt, how they stem from her childhood with Cansrel, and how she eventually overcomes them. And Fire’s gentleness with and love for Small and the river mare she befriends. In fact, the river mare is responsible for one of my favorite moments in the story, Brigan commenting in his charming, astonished way on the horse who follows Fire home…
As he left to answer the call, she heard him exclaiming in wonderment on the rise. “Rocks, Nash. Is that a river mare out there? Do you see her? Have you ever laid eyes on a more gorgeous creature?
Fire is a dazzling and engaging story, one full of surprising twists and poignant moments that gave me all the feels. Even if fantasy is not your genre of choice, I still recommend giving Fire a read. Kristin Cashore has a talent for creating very real characters to populate her amazingly fantastical worlds. I can’t wait to see what she comes up with next!
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