Already read it? Check out the discussion post over here!
Beyond the seven kingdoms there is a land of monsters: beautiful creatures that can lure you with their appearance and their mind so that they can feast on your flesh. Fire is the last human monster. Reluctant to use her powers even to save her own life, Fire lives a fairly peaceful life with her childhood-friend and lover, Archer, and her adopted father, Brocker. Or as peaceful a life a monster human can have when she is an irresistible meal to the other monsters and simply irresistible to other humans. But when Prince Brigan calls on her to do her duty for her kingdom that is on the verge of a civil war her father helped to start, Fire must take a hard look at herself to try to see the beauty and strength behind the monster.
I was really excited and nervous to read Fire. Excited because Kristin Cashore absolutely blew my mind with Graceling. Nervous because I knew my expectations were way too high and the chances of them being met were impossible. Kristin Cashore did not write another Graceling. She wrote Fire, and it was perfect and brilliant in its own way and right.
Once again Kristin Cashore swept me away into a fantastical world and plot with characters that I ache to meet. The prologue was a look into the past of a character those who have read Graceling will recognize, and I have never hated a character more. It was fascinating getting to read about a character that has absolutely no redeeming feature. It was also incredibly disturbing. At one point I had to shut the book and breathe deeply because I was overwhelmed by how horrible this character is.
Surprisingly, this character does not play as large a part in the story as I would have expected. He is central to a sort of secondary plot, but this secondary plot has so much of an affect that I found myself genuinely amazed at how well Cashore was able to weave these plots together. Again, there are no holes in her story. There are no filler chapters or even filler sentences. Fire will keep you entertained and entranced from beginning to end, in part because you will fall ridiculously in love with all of the characters.
And I mean ALL OF THE CHARACTERS. From Fire all the way to Garan, these characters have their own motivations, their own personalities, and their own storylines that you cannot help but need to know what happens next. You will not find another Katsa/Po relationship, but Fire’s relationships are equally complicated and so very real.
Again, the feminist themes found within the book make me wonder why all books aren’t written this way. Fire’s personal journey is a very singular experience. I think Fire grows a little more on her own than Katsa, who needs a bit more of a push from Po, which is something that I really like. Furthermore, those who were upset by Katsa’s wish for freedom from marriage and disgust at the idea of having children will appreciate Fire’s alternative outlook, and in fact Fire’s motherly instincts/feelings and her struggle with them was one of my favourite subplots.
I think I’ll leave my flailing over the leading men for my discussion post because I’m not sure how I could do them justice without the spoilers, but let me just say SA-WOOON!!!
Books with similar aspects
Graceling by Kristin Cashore (read this one first!)
Trickster’s Choice by Tamora Pierce
recommended to fans of Graceling, feminism, women, fantasy, and/or awesome things.
not recommended to hm…you’ll have to give me some time to think on this one.
Don’t just take my word for it!
“What I personally enjoy about Fire and Cashore’s writing is how much feminist theory makes an appearance.” April @ Good Books and Good Wine
“Lordy, lordy, lordy. I bow to Kristin Cashore’s talent.” Jen @ Almost-Grown Up