Title: Fire (Graceling Realm, #2)
Author: Kristin Cashore
Genre: Sword and Sorcery, Young Adult
Publisher: Gollancz Fiction (6th January 2011)
HER BEAUTY IS A WEAPON – AND FIRE IS GOING TO USE IT.
Fire’s exceptional beauty gives her influence and power. People who are susceptible to it will do anything for her attention, and for her affection.
But beauty is only skin deep, and beneath it Fire has a human appreciation of right and wrong. Aware of her inability to influence others, and afraid of it, she lives in a corner of the world away from people – not only to protect them, but also to protect herself from their attention, their distrust, and even their hatred.
Yet Fire is not the only danger to the Dells. If she wants to protect her home, if she wants a chance to undo the wrongs of the past, she must face her fears, her abilities, and a royal court full of powerful people with reason to distrust her.
Rating: **** (4 stars)
Fire is the second book in Kristin Cashore’s Graceling Realms series. In it we are introduced to a new world and new characters; it tells the story of Fire, a girl born with incredible beauty who sees it only as a curse.
Fire is an odd second book. I don’t think I have ever read a second book in a series quite like it. Usually the second book continues the story of the first, and we are re-introduced to familiar characters and places. This is not the case with Fire. In Fire we are introduced to new characters, and in fact travel back in time as the book is set before the events of Graceling the first book in the series. On the one hand I find Fire an odd choice for a second book, BUT on the other I can understand why it is the second book – the events of Fire if it were the first book would give away many of the plot twists in Graceling.
I really liked Fire as a main character; it was interesting to watch her grow and change through the book. At the start of the book she is both physically and emotionally isolated, and there are very good reasons for this which are revealed as the story progresses. She isn’t completely alone though, she has Archer and Brocker. I really enjoyed the way Cashore wrote Fire’s relationship with these two characters – it is very complex, especially with Archer. In fact, Cashore does a brilliant job of writing all the major secondary characters in this book.
The plot of Fire is an interesting one. It is part court intrigue and civil war, and there is another part which took me completely by surprise but which serves to link the story to Graceling. As such, this book grew on me. To begin with I really struggled with this book. I didn’t like the fact that I had to start all over again, with new characters and a new place. The prologue of the book really threw me. However, as the story progressed and I persisted with the book I fell in love with the place and characters and found it a really good read.