Fire by Kristin Cashore
My rating: 5 of 5 stars
This prequel to Cashore’s first novel Graceling was a worthy addition to the world she created in Graceling. This story takes us back in time to events that occur before those of the first book. It is a standalone novel, so don’t worry if you haven’t read Graceling first, you don’t need to. Although, you will recognize a character from Graceling in Fire it doesn’t give anything away to read this book first.
Fire is a monster. She was born to a monster father and a human palace servant. As a monster, Fire must contend with attacks from other monsters and the startling effect she has on unprepared and unshielded human minds. In the Dells, monsters are common and distinct from the normal counterparts, because of their terrible and often mind altering beauty. Fire is the last human monster and with her beauty also comes the ability to control unshielded minds.
In her home in the Dells, Fire discovers strangers in the wood seemingly interested in her. To find out more about these strangers, she and her friend Archer consult with the royal family that is currently battling for control of the kingdom since the death and misrule of the last king who suffered under the control of Fire’s father. Fire becomes embroiled in a battle for the kingdom, and is a tool for the royal family to weed out the traitors in their midst.
This book is just as interesting and entertaining as Graceling. As a rule, I normally don’t like prequels, but Cashore manages to present an interesting and relevant new story for her fantasy world. I would recommend this book to teens who like fantasy and are willing to put in the time to learn the rules and politics for this interesting world. Fire is thoroughly enjoyable, and the characters are well developed and well rounded. Even the most perfect characters have flaws, and it is nice see that she is so thorough in her character development. I hope there are more books to come!
Cautions for sensitive readers: There is violence in this book due to the battles and frequent monster attacks. Some sexuality is present, although you won’t find any explicit descriptions in this book.
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