Author: Kristin Cahsore
Series: Graceling Realm #2
It was hard for me to relinquish the story of Katsa and Po and read about a new kingdom, but Cashore really has a gift for writing un-put-downable fantasy. Fire is not technically a sequel to Graceling; it only has one infamous character from Graceling in it. But we learn so much more about this character...and what started it all.
Fire is the last living person monster in her kingdom. She has a few very distinguishable features from humans to say the least. Fire is unbelievably beautiful, has fiery pink, gold and red hair, and has the ability to influence and feel any living creature's mind. Because of her talent, Fire is hated and lusted after. And it doesn't help that her monster father was a puppeteer to the late king, convincing him to ravage the kingdom and party until all hours of the morning. But her father is dead and Fire truly believes life would be easier without evil monsters like her lurking about. But Fire is far from evil, and has decided to only use her power in self-defense. Until she meets the new king and his family.
Because her land was abused by her father and now is on the brink of war with 2 other countries, Fire agrees to help King Nash and his brother Prince Brigan in determining where people's (and usually prisoner's) loyalties lie. Will her abilities help bring victory to the royal family? Will Fire ever feel comfortable using her skills despite the guilt she feels from the destruction her father brought about?
What I LIKED about this book
I loved the world Cashore created, especially because it was within the realm of the gracelings. The colorful monsters and their attraction to each other I found fascinating. I loved Fire and Prince Brigan. Their friendship and later romance was believable and sweet. Even though Fire was the most beautiful human in the land, Brigan and Fire's relationship never felt physical, and certainly was not love-at-first-sight.
What I DISLIKED about this book
Cashore mentioned Fire's monthly lady issues (ahem, period) quite a bit throughout the book. I realize this had to be addressed once during the book but I really thought it was unnecessary to keep bringing it back up. At one point Fire took some medicine that enabled her to never have children again. I understand where she was coming from; never wanting anyone to have her abilities because they could so easily be used for harm. But it really wasn't necessary to the story and for Fire's progression.
Overall I'm going to give Fire 4.5 out of 5 stars. I really enjoyed it, just as much as Graceling. I think I'm becoming a Cashore addict. I love her world building, romance and fantasy, as well as her ability to add twists and turns to the plot. I need Bitterblue, and I can't believe it took Cashore 4 years to write it. Bitterblue had better be worth it! I recommend this book to anyone who's enjoyed Grave Mercy or Poison Study or those of you who love fantasy and romance tales.