Author: Kristin Cashore
Publication Date: October 5th 2009
Length: 461 pages (Hardcover)
Series: Graceling Realm #2
Synopsis from Goodreads:
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.
It’s finally over!
Well, that’s not something you ever want to hear me say about a book. Sadly, that’s exactly how I felt the moment I finished this one.
Fire is a companion novel to Graceling, which I read recently and very much enjoyed. I knew before picking it up that Po and Katsa, wouldn’t make an appearance, but I hoped that I’d still enjoy it.
It’s still the same world, I thought.
No, it wasn’t.
Oh well, technically it is the same universe, but the story didn’t take place in the seven kingdoms. Instead we were transported to another country somewhere hidden in the mountains. A place where they know nothing about gracelings. A place where they have monsters instead.
Monsters you see, are ordinary animals….if you count out the fact that they are much more colourful, beautiful and dangerous. This whole idea I thought seemed really interesting and fun, but I felt like it was a bit underdeveloped and confusing at times.
Our protagonist Fire, is the last human monster that exists. Since she’s a monster, she has the ability to control people with her mind and sense what they’re feeling. Fire was an okay character, except for when she was crying. Oh wait…she cried All. The. Time. More than 36 times she either cried, thought about crying or tried to stop crying. Yes I counted. No, I don’t have a life.
Let me tell you my main problem with Fire , other than just the crying part:
Her otherworldly beauty. Okay, fine. I got it the first 10 times you told me. I understand that it was an important aspect of her as a character, but the first half of the book it didn’t go one page without her thinking about her beauty or somehow mentioning it. She didn’t like mirrors because she stunned herself. Men started fighting with each other when she walked by. I didn’t like this and I got so sick of the whole thing.
It felt like Cashore tried so hard to make her different from Katsa, that Fire ended up being the complete opposite. That is, at least in my opinion, boring. There’s a bow on the cover as you might see. This makes you believe she’s a good archer, right? At least kind of kick-ass.
If I had to pick something about her I liked, I guess it would be her musicallity and her relationship to horses. Especially her own horse, Small.
Other than that, everything she did made me so frustrated. Reading this book was a 461 pages long facepalm and it didn’t amuse me at all.
Shall we move on to the other problems I had with this novel?
- All the talk about “womanly bleedings”. Yes, I think it was good that Cashore mentioned it because it’s such a huge part of life that so often gets ignored, especially in fantasy, but the second time they talked about it was one time too much. The fifth time the whole thing just felt completely ridiculous.
- So much cheating, rape, and pregnancy dramas. Everything just felt unnecessary, forced and weird.
- The pace was soooo slooow.
There were other, smaller things that annoyed me so much, but you probably don’t want to hear them. Lets just says Fire was a weaker story than Graceling with weaker characters that I didn’t care much for.
The things I did kind of enjoy were few, but here you have them:
- The conversations between Brigan and Fire were fun….sometimes.
- Brigan..sometimes. He too, felt like a more bleak version of Po, but at least he was a bit interesting.
- The language was nice….sometimes.
If Cashore had toned down the beauty aspect, put the drama elsewhere, and changed the monthly bleeding parts a bit along with the other things that took focus from the important stuff, I’d maybe have enjoyed it a bit more. She could have developed the plot, the characters and the awesomeness of the whole monster-thingy instead.
She took away everything I liked about Graceling and replaced it with something completely different. No kick-butt characters, a confusing, all over the place-plot and no gracelings (except for one).
I have to say though, it kind of picked up a little bit towards the end…but it might be because I knew it wouldn’t take long before I would get to read another book. It was so hard for me to keep reading when I found myself not interested in the charcters, but I powered through.
I will most likely still read Bitterblue since I know Cashore can write great books, but Fire I have to say, was a big disappointement.
My Favourite Quote:
“I must stop wishing for things to happen. Because something will happen eventually, and when it does, I’ll be bound to wish it hadn’t.”
Other Books I’ve Read by Kristin Cashore: