Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Add to Goodreads
Title: Fire
Author: Kristin Cashore
Narrator: Xanthe Elbrick
Series: Graceling Realm, book #2
Publisher: Penguin Audio
Publication Date: October 5, 2009
Source: purchased audio
Purchase: Amazon | Barnes & Noble | Audible

It is not a peaceful time in the Dells. The young King Nash clings to his throne while rebel lords in the north and south build armies to unseat him. The mountains and forests are filled with spies and thieves and lawless men.

This is where Fire lives. With a wild, irresistible appearance and hair the color of flame, Fire is the last remaining human monster. Equally hated and adored, she had the unique ability to control minds, but she guards her power, unwilling to steal the secrets of innocent people. Especially when she has so many of her own.

Then Prince Brigan comes to bring her to King City. The royal family needs her help to uncover the plot against the king. Far away from home, Fire begins to realize there's more to her power than she ever dreamed. Her power could save the kingdom.

If only she weren't afraid of becoming the monster her father was.

I might be on a bit of a fantasy kick these days.  Okay, okay...I'm totally on a fantasy kick, but I haven't been disappointed by a book in a few weeks, so I must be doing something right...right?

No, I didn't enjoy Fire as much as I did Graceling, nor did I expect to.  I mean, Graceling had Katsa and Po.  And though I do seem to like my fictional men in positions of authority -- Captain Chaol Westfall in the Throne of Glass series, Hector as Elisa's guard in the Fire and Thorns series, and now Brigan as head of the military in King City -- Brigan just couldn't compare to the warm and fuzzy feelings I still have toward Prince Po.

The world-building was much improved upon in this companion novel, but being a companion novel (and prequel story), I felt that I rather missed the world I knew in Graceling, especially since this story takes place on the other side of the divide.  There are no graces here, only monsters of great beauty, and Fire is the last human monster.  Not only is she almost too beautiful to behold, but she also has a special ability, one to rival all other graces.

This makes Fire an outcast and yet also much sought after.  Even her best friend is in love with her, though he can't quite stop his philandering ways long enough to prove it to her.  {SPOILER}(By the by, why must all characters named Archer die...or nearly die?  Luckily, in the one I'm reading now, the main character's alter ego is named Archer, so I doubt death is in her/his imminent future. :P) {/SPOILER} Not that that's what she truly desires, anyway.  She can't get past who she is and what she's done, and I often loathed her self-imposed misery. Fire is strong in many ways, but she is also lonely, and where Katsa wanted to be tied to no one, Fire wishes for children of her own.  That aspect of her story is very emotional and trying, but it still didn't help me understand the choices she made, even knowing that they were all derived from her aversion to turning into the monster that her father had been.

I liked Fire's story. It was full of political intrigue and war, with bits of magic and beauty thrown in.  And of course a little romance, though that was long coming to fruition.  And after that prologue, I expected to meet young Leck much sooner, and I expected to see how his story led him to the position of power he held in Graceling, but I was disappointed on both accounts where it came to this character.  Not that I'm really complaining, since he was a tyrant and a monster to rival Fire's father.

Fire is good as a companion novel and great as a prequel story.  Though, I might suggest starting with Fire if you're considering this series.  It's the general consensus that Fire is the weakest of the three books, and though I've yet to read Bitterblue, I'm inclined to agree.  Also, I hear tell that Katsa and Po make an appearance in the final novel, so it would seem more fitting to read the books starting with the prequel novel first and then introduce yourself to Katsa and Po.  Oh, and the narrator for this audio is rather good, though I did miss the Full Cast audio performance that made revisiting Graceling so wonderful for me earlier this year.

Rating:  photo 3-1.png 1/2

About the author:

So, here's the short tale of me: I grew up in the countryside of northeastern Pennsylvania in a village with cows and barns and beautiful views from the top of the hill and all that good stuff. I lived in a rickety old house with my parents, three sisters, and a scattering of cats, and I READ READ READ READ READ. I read while brushing my teeth, I read while chopping parsley, the first thing I reached for when I woke up in the morning was my book; the only two places I didn't read were in the car and in bed. What did I do then? The one thing I liked even more than reading: I daydreamed.

Find Kristin:

Website | Goodreads | Facebook


  1. Okay, I've heard great things about this series so while the 2nd book isn't as good as the 1st, you still kinda liked it and I'm happy about that. I definitely like that you mentioned Graceling has a full audio cast, shame that Fire wasn't the same. Woo, some more audiobook suggestions ;) Thanks for a great review!

  2. I actually started with Fire, and need to progress to the first book. Glad to hear the first is better, although I did really enjoy this one.

  3. wahhh! I must disagree. I liked Fire the most of all three ;P. It isn't :( the worst--I'm curious to see if you'll still think this after reading Bitterblue. I've never noticed the correlation to Archer, but I do agree with you on reading Fire first just because Bitterblue and Graceling have a lot more similarities and are better reading back to back. Also, I'm way more of a Brigan fan than a Po fan. :)

  4. I totally agree with your review. Graceling was my favorite with Bitterblue my second and Fire my last. They were all worth reading though. :)

    Tressa @ Tressa's Wishful Endings


Related Posts Plugin for WordPress, Blogger...