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Fire by Kristin Cashore; Review

September 17, 2010

Title: Fire

Author: Kristin Cashore

Published: October 6, 2009

Number of Pages: 461

Rating: 4/5

Goodness! What is this we have here? Madeleine? Here, of all places?

Yes, yes, it’s me. Finally emerging from the waters of homework, school, and utter exhaustion that I’ve been in the process of drowning under. I’m so sorry that I haven’t been around! I hope to get school under control soon and be able to return to my usual habits. Also, thanks for the wonderful response to my Megalodon of a Giveaway! If you have not entered, please do!

Quote:

“Well then,” Roen said briskly, “are you sleeping?”

“Yes.”

“Come now. A mother can tell when her son lies. Are you eating?”

“No,” Brigan said gravely. “I’ve not eaten in two months. It’s a hunger strike to protest the spring flooding in the south.”

“Gracious,” Roen said, reaching for the fruit bowl. “Have an apple, dear.”

Synopsis:

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. [From the Jacket]

Review:

As many of you know, Graceling (the companion book – review is here) blew me away. Wow.

And then you have Fire. The friend (Harmony) that originally recommended Graceling to me has yet to read it because she is afraid it will somehow ruin Graceling.

No need to fear, Kristin Cashore’s apparent awesomeness is here!

Fire is magnificent. The beautifully written passages with concise and clear descriptions hold strong. Characters with depth and an uncanny ability to make you love them scuttle throughout the book. A gripping plotline involving war and deception is simply a plus.

Parts of this book – as parts of Graceling did – remind me of The Hunger Games trilogy. Only in small and hardly noticeable ways, however. Fire can certainly hold its own.

As can the main character (also named Fire, incidentally). Fire is instantly likable. I have very few problems with her character or personality at all. The conclusions she comes to, her feelings – I can respect them all. I love it when I have so little to say against a character, so little to find flaw in. My only issue is one I’ll discuss later. Essentially, Fire is a headstrong, lovable, and remarkable main character with a voice that seeps through the pages of the book.

Fire’s story is a long and life-changing one. So much happens in this book that I can hardly fathom how it fit within about 460 pages, yet somehow it doesn’t feel like it’s been constrained. Like the plot was wrestled and bound in order to make it fit within some desired page count. No, it moved flawlessly from scene to scene, conflict to conflict, conclusion to conclusion. The environment and world that Fire lives in fascinated me and made me wish I lived there. Such beauty and contention simultaneously – all wondrous.

I found the history and very existence of “monsters” to be quite interesting. Their vibrant colors and  incredible beauty (even in the case of the human monster, Fire) manage to put people under a spell. Their power to control minds certainly doesn’t do harm to their wonderful qualities. The way Fire could walk into a room and immediately have both people’s attention and occasionally their minds (even if she doesn’t mean to) was awesome. Some men would throw themselves at her feet simply because of her presence and looks. Despite how great it might sound originally, there’s no doubting that being a human monster can be a curse as well as a blessing.

The love story is different from most of the many, many love stories I’ve read. I mean, it doesn’t get much weirder than a seventeen year old and a twenty two year old. There are some other facets of their reality that make the circumstances even more out of the ordinary. Cashore must have worked some sort of magic to pull it off without making it seem freaky. Believe me when I say that the development of it will keep you reading even if the plot doesn’t (which I can’t imagine).

The colorful array of characters that are the foundation of this book will hold your attention from minute one. Amazing. I love the people in this book! Graceling and Fire introduce you to so many new friends and people to wonder at. I read books often to find more things to love. Actually, that’s why I write them, too. What better thing is there in this world than love? None. This book satisfied that requirement perfectly.

Another thing that struck me about Fire was the totally unexpected and odd number of illegitimate children. I’d read about another crazy story and think: Okay, we’re done with the “Hey, look! There’s this baby over here that you didn’t expect”s and the “Hey, whoops, we had a baby and weren’t supposed to”s! But Cashore must have a thing for surprise kiddies popping up out of nowhere. I felt like there’d been a dozen by the time the book was over, but I might have been exaggerating (only a little…).

A factor that might have had something to do with the number of illegitimate children is that the characters seemed to have very little problems with sleeping around and teenage sex/mommies. My post on this hasn’t been written yet (and will be part of a week-long bit on love in YA), but I’m not a huge fan of teenage sex. (Uh, at all.) What was with the young parents and the lack of parental worries over their children’s sex lives? I don’t know about you, but I’d have problems with my seventeen year old sleeping with a friend of hers. (Archer and Fire have a peculiar friendship…) I could rant forever on this part of the book, but I’ll leave it be with: It was weird.

Overall, I loved the book. I couldn’t get enough of it. Infatuated is an understatement. I can’t encourage people enough to read both Graceling and Fire*. Kristin Cashore constructs sentences and chooses words in a magnificent way, encompassing me (at least) in a web of characters, plot, and setting that gripped my attention and threatened never to let go until the book was finished with. The third companion book, Bitterblue is on its way. Needless to say, I’ll be pre-ordering.

Because there’s something sort of kinda amazing about these books.

*I just want to remind y’all that both Fire and Graceling are in my blogiversary giveaway!

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One Comment leave one →
  1. October 5, 2010 6:09 PM

    Ah, what a lovely review! I adored this book too. I completely agree with your last line there 🙂

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