Monday, November 30, 2009

Book Review: Fire by Kristin Cashore

Fireis a human monster living in the Dells, a land of monsters in all forms. The monsters are impossibly beautiful and powerful, and Fire is the last of the human kind. She must live with the legacy of her cruel father's deeds and assist the king of the war-torn Dells in fighting mutinous lords, all with a power she fears will turn her into a monster just like her father.

Things I Liked:
I thought this book had a beautiful story. It is definitely more character driven than Graceling. I thought Fire was a more relatable character and I liked her more than Katsa. The setting was beautiful and I loved the intrigue and politics. Cashore has a way with words and an ability to create beautiful fantasy worlds:
"A monster drew out all that was vile, especially a female monster, because of the desire, and the endless perverted channels for the expression of malice. With all weak men, the sight of her was a drug to their minds. What man could use hate or love well when he was drugged?" p,145
"She took the instruments from the steward one by one, each more beautiful than the last. Welkley waited patiently while she played them, testing their feelings against her neck, the sharpness of the strings on her fingertips, the depth of their sound. There was one she kept reaching for, with a copper-red varnish, and a clarity like the point of a star, precise and lonesome, reminding her, somehow, of home. This one, she thought to herself. This is the one." p.174
Things I Didn't Like:
Once again, I was bothered by one small aspect. I hated the way Fire treated her friend Archer. She seemed rather careless with his affections. She kept calling him "friend" when they were more than that. I was just annoyed at how easily she dropped him and basically crushed his feelings. It was also definitely not as action-packed as Graceling, but I thought it was better in some ways.

This is a prequel of sorts to Graceling by Cashore - I would read Graceling first or it might ruin some surprises there
The intrigue reminded me of Crown and Court Duet by Sherwood Smith

s-factor: !
a very few

mrg-factor: XX
innuendo mostly

v-factor: ->->
there were fighting and battle scenes

Overall rating: ****

If you buy through my Amazon linkage,
I will get a very small percentage


  1. I'm so glad you enjoyed this one! I really fell in love with it. And that second quote you included is one of my favorites. I love Cashore's lush language. And I love Fire herself. Good call with the Sherwood Smith connection as well. There are definite similarities. All of them good. :)

  2. I was not so keen on "Graceling": I found much of the basic Fantasy story and also the characters hackneyed, that is, if you've read much Fantasy, you'll definitely ahve met them before. But from what you say of Fire, especially if it is more character driven, which is a "must" for me, then it may well be worth a look.

  3. Angiegirl, makes me want to read more! Hope Bitterblue comes out soon.

    Andie, I haven't read enough fantasy, since it seemed pretty original to me :) But, I thought Fire was definitely more about characters than Graceling was.

  4. Oops, re "if you've read much Fantasy"--that sounds a bit bad on re-read. A better way of putting it might have been that I have been an avid SciFi-Fantasy reader from a very early age and so have come to believe that there are very few significantly different storylines around so "how you tell the story" in terms of pace and the characters becomes what it's really all about--but that is just me. Anyway, I hope I've not just dug myself in a whole lot deeper! My bad entirely, if so.

  5. Andie, not at all! I was admitting I haven't read as much in those genres. I can see how if you do, you start to see a lot of repeating themes and characters. I just need to read more (if that is possible)!

  6. I am about to start reading this tonight :)

    I havent read Graceling yet as the shop was sold out :( but its coming soon

  7. Amanda, hope you like it as much as I did!

  8. The idea of the 'graced' in the first book was so original and unique, and the 'monsters' in the second book did not disappoint. I felt it was a bit confusing at first to understand the concept, in conjunction with the concept of the gracelings. Monsters are basically super-beings. There is everything from human monsters to mouse monsters. They are all stunningly more beautiful than their standard counterparts. They also all have the ability to sense and change emotions and thoughts. This varies from the gracelings because they are only graced in one area. Anything from sword fighting to cooking to reading minds. Another important thing to note is that the monsters are not in the same geographic areas as the gracelings. This took me a while to grasp. I'm sure it was explained, but I just didn't pick up on it.

    1. Ah, good point about differentiating between gracelings and the monsters. I hadn't thought about it, but it could potentially be confusing!


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