Monday, May 9, 2016

Fire Review

Book: Fire
Author: Kristin Cashore
Series: Graceling Realm #2
Genre: YA fantasy
Publisher: Dial Books
Pages: 461
Release: October 5th, 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.

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.

Fire is a companion book to the first novel, Graceling, and deals with the lands east of the seven Graceling kingdoms, a place where instead of Gracelings, unnaturally coloured creatures roam the lands. These creatures are called monsters, and all have varying abilities to draw people to their enchanting appearances with their minds. The story follows Fire, a girl with unnatural red hair, the last human monster, who possesses the ability to influence, and even control, other people's minds. Though she tries to live a quiet life, never using her powers for harm, her powers drawn the attention of the royal family, for she would make a powerful ally in the impending war...

Fire was very different than Katsa. Whereas Katsa thrived off discreet rebellion against her uncle's control, Fire thrived off self preservation. Her reluctance to use her abilities to completely take control of another's mind spoke of her strong morals, lines she drew and stuck to. Fire's fear of becoming a monster both in body and heart stemmed from her father, who previously used his abilities to deceit his way into the king's good graces and partook in numerous immoral and savage pastimes. As Fire progresses through the novel, she is able to find a way to live with her head held high, to find a way to live without the fear of her father's name shadowing her own.

"I think," she said, "that sometimes we don't feel the things that we are. But others can feel them."

The one reoccurring character from Graceling is Leck. As this was set many years before the start of Graceling, it was very interesting to read about Leck's backstory, and to try to understand where he was coming from. However, it also was interesting to see the unique integration of Gracelings and monsters, as we never learned about the Dells in Graceling. And, of course, it was great to see Leck meeting his match with Fire, both their abilities negating the others' against each other. Though he wasn't the main antagonist in Fire, it set up his own role in Graceling.

This book was a lot strategic than the first book. Everything from war strategy to parentage politics, it really explored the vastness, and sometimes cruelty, of power held by royalty. An interesting thing that kept coming up was the idea of illegitimate children, and how they come about. It really raised the question of a man's role in a relationship, and how drastically it can affect women in the most unexpected or inconvenient ways. It's definitely an issue that isn't really discussed much, and this was an interesting way to get one thinking about it.

I also really enjoyed the small passions each character possessed, something that made them unique and human: Fire with her love of music, Archer with his bows, Brigan with his horses. It really grounded them, gave a reminder that though they were soldiers and pawns in a game of war, they remained to be their own individual person. I really appreciated this aspect of the characters.

I won't say anything about the romance because I don't want to spoil anything. But I will say that the author was successful in confusing me who to ship Fire with. I thought I had a ship, and then it would be broken, and another would surface, and the same would happen to that one too. But once the last half of the book came, I was able to properly choose a ship, and support it 100%. The romance is not at all a driving point of the plot, but it showed the difference in responsibilities each had. To love someone isn't to wish them away from their responsibilities; it's to love them, knowing that they'll be doing what needs to be done, even if it means constantly being the source of worry for the other. Such an empowering notion!

Partway through, I reached a sudden scary realization: given the devastation the author created in the last book, what was to stop her from doing the same in this book? The answer: nothing. ***Spoiler*** Archer died. Died! To be fair, I sort of saw it coming, but that didn't lessen any of the pain I felt when Fire found his body. Poor, poor Archer. He and Fire never truly made up. Why??? ***end of spoiler***

Though I did enjoy Katsa and Graceling better, I still liked this book. Fire really struggled with trying to be someone she felt naturally inclined to be with her father's legacy, and it was interesting to see exactly how far people, not just royals, will go to secure power in forms of people, land, or crowns. Now onto Bitterblue!


  1. I need to try this series!!!! The strategy in this one sounds really intriguing. Fabulous review.

    1. This is a great series! I hope you'll get to it some day!

  2. Your reviews are so amazing!!! o.o I wish mine were so in-deapth! I had to publish mine a day later - I had no time yesterday, and kinda rushed through it today as well.. Oh well!

    I didn’t like Fire as much as you did, mainly because I couldn’t really figure out what the plot was, maybe I just have to read it again! ^_^ I did enjoy re-reading it though!

    I can’t WAIT to re-read Bitterblue! I remember that I really enjoyed it!

    Also, how cool would it be to have a Leck novella?!

    And the part when *you know what I’m talking about* CRUSHED ME all over again! I knew it was going to happen, but still! The epilogue was cruel with the bonfire...

    Can’t wait for the next part of the read-along!! :D

    1. I definitely do prefer Graceling over Fire! Both the characters and the plot were a lot more straightforward and entertaining. Oooh, a Leck novella would be so neat? I mean, just what happened to him during the time after he leaves the Dells and ends up as the King of Monsea? Was he actually capable of love, either towards the queen or Bitterblue at first?
      THAT EPILOGUE //cries// I swear, if Bitterblue also ends with devastation, I may have to spend an entire month hiding in a hole to cry. But hopefully it won't be!

    2. I honestly don’t remember much about Bitterblue, other that I liked it! And I’m super excited to read it, my copy comes with awesome illustrations ^-^

    3. WHHHAAAT, illustrations? Can you please post pictures, either on your review or on instagram? Please please please?

    4. I’ll put some in both! Do you have insta? o.o

    5. Unfortunately, I don't, but I'm always on people's instagram pages on the web ahahahaha

  3. I've heard a lot about this book, but I haven't read anything by this author yet. Nice review! :-)

    1. I recommend you read the series, the very least the first book! It is definitely worth a read.
      And thanks for dropping by my blog! :)

  4. I really want to read Graceling, it sounds really amazing and it's the favorite of many youtubers (but of course I haven't read it). I don't even know it's a series, but this one sounds even more amazing. It sounds like hf but not really heavy with the description aspect :D Great review Erika!

    I also tag you on my latest post, you can check it out here :)

    1. You definitely should read it! It's so good!
      Thanks for the tag, I'll get to it when I can!

  5. My BFF has spoken really highly of this series for a couple of years now and has been encouraging me to read it, but I just haven't gotten around to it yet. I know, I know. >.< At least it seems like there were aspects of the novel that kept you guessing till the end! I'll have to look into Graceling soon so I can jump on the literary bandwagon with everyone else, lol.

    Brittany @

    1. To be honest, I never considered reading this series until Caroline recommended we read it for our read-along we're currently doing! But I have absolutely no regrets. It's such a great series! I hope you'll read it soon :)