Author: Kristin Cashore
Publication Date: January 25, 2011
Genre: Young Adult/ Fantasy
Rating: 4/5 stars
Summary (from Barnes & Noble): 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 readGraceling to love Fire. But if you haven’t, you’ll be dying to read it next.
My Review: Fire is an outcast in her world as her vibrant and unnaturally reddish gold hair is an indication of her monster heritage (as well as a reminder of her father) and her dangerous powers of mind control. Those in her world either fear her and want her to the point of destruction and so she stays safe and almost alone in her northern home.
Meanwhile the kingdom around her is at war as King Nash and his brother Prince Brigan fight to keep it from being overthrown by their enemy lords. Both the King and the Prince distrust Fire due to her father’s influence over their father and the tragedy and havoc they both caused the kingdom before their deaths.
Kristin Cashore has created a fascinating world full of strange creatures, strange powers, and a land teeming with political tension. At the heart of the story is Fire who is truly a well deserved female lead. She is strong, empowering, and fiercely independent, yet she makes her empathy and her struggles known as well. It’s endearing and painful to watch her struggle through reconciling who she is with her father’s horrible legacy. She is determined and desperate to not make the mistakes he did and to not succumb to her powers in a way that would destroy those around her as he did.
Fire is a character that is so clearly likable and relatable that you find yourself entirely wrapped up in her story. The plot is satisfyingly complex and multi-layered without feeling loose or too crowded. The book is entirely full of fluffy bunnies as it does deal with death and loss, but it does so in such a way that feels optimistic and the right thing to do. This book absolutely gives Kristin Cashore a place in the ranks of some of the best YA fantasy authors and she certainly deserves it. I was hardly able to put the book down after hitting the halfway mark and I found myself staying up entirely past my bedtime in order to get to the end!