Fire (Seven Kingdoms Trilogy #2)
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.
Billed as the prequel to Kristin Cashores wonderful fantasy, Graceling, Fire is a prequel only in the most remote sense. In an off-the-cuff manner, it introduces the concept of a graceling (a person endowed with almost superhuman ability in a specific area) and a graceling character that appears in both books. However, Fire stands very well on its own.
Fire, in this story, is a human monster. In her native The Dells, monsters come in amazing colors. Fires hair is a shimmering red which draws animal monsters to her because they like to feed on each other. Fires beauty makes men fall in love with her. But people are also repelled by monsters. Her talent is telepathy. She can read peoples minds and transmit her thoughts wordlessly. This talent is put to use by King Nash and Prince Brigan of The Dells, whose lords to the north and south are contemplating war.
Fire is the daughter of Cansrel, also a monster and a confidante of King Nashs father. Cansrel was known for his telepathic talents and his utter cruelty. Until her fifteenth birthday, Fire lived in virtual seclusion with Brogan, a former Dell military commander and his son Archer, three years older than Fire. Archer and Fire developed a close, and at times, suffocating love. When Fire is summoned by King Nash to interrogate a prisoner, Archer does not want her to go but she feels she must. This decision begins a series of events that will test Fires abilities, her love and her friendships. Over the course of months, Fire becomes an integral part of the royal court and learns what love and friendship are all about.
So, what makes Fire, the book, special? So many things. The characters are marvelous, from the royal family to Fire and her family to the enemy lords to the invisible archer to the river mare who follows Fire at a distance. The place itself, The Dells, is wonderfully described, including the underground passage ways, the mountains and rocky plains. The action is engrossing, the plotting amongst the lords, the retribution for slights, the planning for war, even the attacks of the monsters. The romance, while anticipated, is enjoyable. Cashore has a way of making readers need to keep reading, need to see what happens next, need to get to the end. Pick up Fire and you wont get burned.
Fire starts with the story of a young Graceling, who can compel people and uses his powers for evil. It turns out this is Leck, who is the main antagonist from Graceling (I did not get this immediately, it was a long time since I read Graceling). After this, he does not show up for about three quarters of the book, which I found a bit annoying. I was constantly waiting for him to show up.
Then we meet the protagonist, Fire. She is a female monster who posseses the gift of altering and reading people's minds and she is incredibly beautiful, both of which she tends to dislike. She resides with her friend Lord Archer (who is in love with her) after her evil monster father died. From the beginning I did not like Archer. He seemed to care for Fire, but he was short-tempered and tried to hold Fire on a sort of leach.
Then Prince Brigan came to take Fire to the King's City. At first he was cold to Fire, since her father helped destroy Brigan's father's kingdom. But soon they get to know each other and you can just sense something is going to happen there. In the King's City Fire develops her powers, which she first refused to use. She slowly tries to accept her being a monster and using her powers for good, to question the King's enemies. King Nash, Brigan's brother I found a bit weird. From the beginning he was telling her he was in love with her, even when he did not know her. Later he turns by, but he still can't properly look at her. This makes him look a bit weak.
Brigan has a major character change and turns out to be a very kind, caring man with a secret daughter, Hanna, who Fire becomes friends with. When Archer comes to court, he has a fight with Fire and he takes off on a trip to catch a mysterious archer (who already showed up a few times) but not after impregnating 2 girls. This made me dislike him even more. But after Fire is caught by the mysterious archer, who turns out to be Leck (finally we meet him again), she discovers Archer is killed by Leck. This made her terribly sad, which made me also quite sad and take my disliking of him back. In the end she escapes and is found again by Brigan. A war between the Kingdom and its enemies is now really starting and King Nash gets hurt. But everything turns out well and Brigan and Fire, who have confessed their love for each other, live happily ever after..
I really liked the character of Fire. She is very strong, has good morals and she cares for everyone. Although people tend to dislike her at first because she is a monster and because of her father, everyone warms up to her once they get to know her. She only uses her powers for good and is willing to sacrifice herself for the ones she loves.
The descriptions of the landscape and the characters were very well-written and detailed. She could just see Fire's beautiful hair before you when the writer described it.
What I did not like about this book were all the enemies and their schemes. Fire has to find out who is on the King's side and who's not, because there is the threat of war. This was all quite confusing and I still do not really understand who was on who's side and why.
Also the revelation of Brigan and Archer being brothers was too quickly explained, I do not know how it all fits together. I found this story arc to be unneccesary, just put in to have a little shock before the end.
I would certainly recommend this book. The story is captivating, the characters are well-written and the fantasy elements are beautifully described. I'm looking forward to reading Bitterblue, book number 3.
- Fantasy world
Fire—as in the protag—has all this power at her disposal, and, like her dreaded father before her, is more than capable of letting loose and caring little, if not at all, for the consequences. She could be a selfish, cruel, and careless character with her gift, but she makes a decision in every moment to fight the ghost of what her father was, however satisfying it would be to just give up and let go, in spite of how she is treated even without intentionally causing harm. Everywhere she walks she is loathed, revered, envied, and adored so much so that beauty is an outright curse. How can she know all the love and affection she craves without it being an extension of the reactions to her face and body? It’s heartbreaking to see why she can keep close only so few in a circle and never reach out beyond that, for so many minds remain weak and tainted by something far out of her control. Her capacity to help and do good is stunning when so few have given her a reason against wreaking the havoc she could undoubtedly unleash on a whim.
Her sacrifices and harsh decisions, her scarred heart which matches her body, her past which constantly bleeds pain into her present, make Fire a truly beautiful and accessible character where Katsa is not. The characters already a part of her life and the ones she comes to know each realize this in their own way, and, in giving her a chance, they become things of beauty as well. Her eventual slow-simmering romance with a brooding, stoic, and unfriendly Prince Brigan feels like reward and relief, even as it brings along tension, confusion, and many misunderstandings. What starts out as a one-way loathing acquaintance—as Fire has irritation but no hate for the outstandingly brutal prince—unravels to something tender, friendly, and unavoidable. Fire and Brigan are so similar in so many ways even as certain aspects of their personalities veer away from the other. They balance and fit at the same time, and it’s cause to yearn for more moments between them in Fire by Kristin Cashore.
The plot is so inherently layered and overlaps in all the right places—threads dangling to be pulled only when Cashore feels the story is ready. The intensity, the action, the mysteriousness and the wondering all make this story so interesting and engrossing. War politics, courtly intrigue, and a few gorgeous handfuls of battles—WHICH I LIVE FOR—put all those aforementioned elements to use until we’re spinning in uncertainty with every suspicious character that surfaces and secret that’s discovered. Villains tangle and interchange, constantly shifting, so that the characters are cornered from all sides and are never quite safe, quite able to go unguarded. And all the hardwork clears the way for an exciting and satisfying closing.
Fire by Kristen Cashore is bitterness, despair, tentative sweetness, profound prose, richness, and full of invention. Each memory, hardship, and emotion are well-written gifts laid in every page. Although I’m unsurprised by the skill woven into the story, it’s brilliance as a story, I am a little astonished by the depth of feeling I have for this second novel.
Characters first. Fire, as the protagonist, has lived a pampered, sheltered life—she even admits this to herself at one point in the novel. She is very afraid of her power because she has seen the destruction it can bring, and therefore, she is timid. But she has also shown moments of bravery and courage, moments she does not recognize well enough, so she continues to doubt herself. Don’t worry—she doesn’t spend the entire novel moping about how awful her power is, and how she could never use it. One aspect Cashore improves a million fold in this novel compared to her last is the development of more minor characters. There’s Brigan, Nash, Clara, Garan, Roen, Archer, Hanna, Brocker, Small, Mila, Cutter, Leck, and a random, unnamed river mare, and yet, despite the huge cast of characters, it’s so easy to know and understand and empathize with each and every one of these characters because they are all somehow so unique in their personalities. Oh, and the best one wasn’t even alive during the course of the novel—Cansrel, Fire’s father, who is cruel, but passionate and loving, and who is met only through Fire’s memories.
I hate using dog-earring pages in my books…but with this book, I just couldn’t help myself. I find myself constantly going back to reread my favorite parts, and very often, I end up rereading the entire thing because I have that many favorite parts.
Fire is darker than Graceling, with some more serious issues, like war and rape, but that’s part of the reason I preferred Fire; instead of focusing so much on creating a plot driven by characters, there are also more worldly and wide-scoped themes. There was not one annoyingly flawless character in the book (though I suppose you could make an argument that Fire comes somewhat close to it), I felt that the romance in the book was well-paced (well, the course of the novel takes place over more than a year), and overall, it was just an excellently written book, with those deep moments that just make your heart melt and all those light moments.
And the epilogue was so perfect with just the right tone to it, especially one particular line, that I don’t want to give away, though it might not actually spoil any of the plot.
Recommended for: people who have read Graceling, people who want to try something new/different, people who like/can deal with slightly darker themes, etc.
As compelling as this book was to me at first, it didn't follow through. I was deeply impressed with her last book but Fire was drab and at times characterless. It wasn't clique though which i give cudos to. It ended up with the not so handsome man at least. The dramatic overlook of beauty gave a compelling touch but Fire herself was well fireless. She was constantly protected by men. It seemed she had no spirit of her own and though there were many heroic points on her part there was nothing that made me fall in love with her. With so much beauty and so little action on her part. Archer's control over her and her lack of independence was irritating and she in a way seemed 2 dimensional, while she was trying to 'find' herself i sat there wondering when she was finally going ro reveal her personality which i found was layered.
Overall i give a three because i'm very impersonal and demand to catch a character in the first couple of chapters. Not biased just strict.
To the east of the lands in Graceling resides a kingdom called the Dells, a place where colorful monster animals roam among the normal ones. Monster animals can be distinguished by their vivid, dazzling colors; "A dappled gray horse in the Dells was a horse. A sunset orange horse was a monster." Though gifted with a terrible beauty, monsters are vicious and crave the flesh of both humans and other monsters, making them dangerous, feared foes of the citizens. Seventeen-year-old Fire, who has the ability to control minds and shock others with her impossible beauty, is the last human monster in the Dells. Easily identified by her flaming red hair, Fire experiences a tough childhood as a monster; she is equally loved and hated by the people, and her abilities terrify everyone.
Meanwhile, King Nash attempts to maintain his rickety rule over the Dells, while furtive rebel lords raise personal armies to unseat him and claim the throne. The land is teeming with bands of robbers and mysterious thieves, and nobody is safe. With war looming on the horizon, the royal family bestows Fire with the duty of uncovering a conspiracy to kill the king, by using her mental abilities to their advantage. Along the way, Fire must face additional challenges including the quest for the approval and then heart of the prince, the problems that come with loving her late father, who was once the most hated man in the Dells, and facing the numerous people who believe that she is as cruel as he was.
Though this book is often called the prequel of Graceling, it's more of a companion novel, taking place in the same world though in a different land. Save for one important villain, Fire has an entirely different ensemble of characters than Graceling. When I picked it up at the library, I expected to read some half-thought out prequel that would feed off the success and popularity of Graceling. However, instead of being a weak and watery novel, Fire is something else entirely; it would be extraordinary even if Graceling never existed. After a slow beginning, the pace speeds up as Cashore hurls readers into a fantastical world, where she spins an intricate story riddled with side plots. This book is marinated with medieval politics, and Cashore manages to portray the darker side of the court in an engaging manner. It seems as though Cashore's writing has improved since Graceling, though she still successfully manages to add tasteful details to the plot without tripping the fast-paced momentum.
A vast array of characters, Cashore forgets about no one, giving personalities to a variety of people including the guards, maids, princes, soldiers, and even the horses. Fire, the protagonist with crimson hair, is extremely likeable; she is gentle, tough, independent, has good morals, and would never to flaunt her unwanted beauty. However, she seems ruled by her situations and her reactions rather than by her true personality; Cashore could have elaborated on her character a lot further. One of the most intriguing parts of this book was the relationship between Fire and her monster father Cansrel, who was once the most heartless person in the Dells before his death. Though Cansrel was a cruel, rabid murderer and rapist who basked in destruction, he truly loved his daughter. Fire loved and hated him at the same time, and her conflicting emotions fuel part of the story. Cashore exquisitely executes Fire's haunting memories, using them to tell the tale of Cansrel, and though he is dead before the book begins, he is an artfully developed character. Later in the novel, a shocking secret about their relationship is revealed, thrusting Fire's character and the reason for her motives into an entirely different light.
Leck, the only character also starring in Graceling, is an unnervingly creepy child, and as disturbed as I imagined him to be, complete with his two eerily different Graceling eyes. Fans of his role as king in Graceling may be disappointed to learn that he is not the main villain, though he does serve as a pivotal character for the plot. With such a cold demeanor, he mirrors a young Cansrel.
I was not partial to the romance between Fire and prince Brigan, since their relationship unfurled too quickly; they abruptly go from mortal enemies, to awkward, tentative friends, to lovers, without time to develop in between the stages. Prince Brigan was absent from the palace and the plot for the majority of the time, and I wish he could extended his stay in the pages.
Fire, though an individually strong novel, shares many aspects to its companion novel Graceling. For example, both books have similar female protagonists who yield an enormous amount of power; for Graceling's Katsa, it is the ability to kill, and for Fire, it is ability to control minds. I often wonder which heroine would be victorious if the two ever battled, because they are both equally powerful in different ways and are weak where the other is strong. These two novels also focus on the humanizing of the protagonist and her inner journey on coming to terms with her own power, a hazardous journey, and a royal romance. Despite being similar, these books are very solid novels that will immerse you in their separate fantastical worlds. It should be kept in mind, that Fire is a lot darker than Graceling; it is full of rape, violence, and lust. Since these two novels are two similar, in my head, I can almost hear them demanding to be compared. Overall, though Fire is sensational, I prefer Graceling because its backbone consists of a strong, more character-driven plot, and it contains more action. I yearn for this duo on my bookshelf, along with Bitterblue, which is due in 2011.
Overall, Fire is an astoundingly brilliant novel that is a seven course meal, since it consists of everything a book lover's heart could desire: vexing mystery, romance, action, violence, intriguing characters, mythical places, and a layered plot that meanders into unexpected places. I would recommend reading Graceling first, since that is the order it was published.
I, a great fan of Kristin Cashore's Gracling, was very much in doubt with this book. The description of the book held me off for a couple of months, reading other good books, and when I found a copy of Fire in my local library, I thought to give it a try. And I'm glad I did.
Fire is a destructive force unto herself, and she knows it, too- she is the monster daughter of a monster man. Though Fire loved her father, Cansrel, after a fashion, she understands that he is wicked and fears that, if she comes to rely too heavily on the monster powers that are her birthright, she will become just like him. Fire's country is falling apart at its seams, however, and Prince Brigan believes that her ability to tap into other people's minds might be the only thing that could pull it back together again.
I read Graceling only a few months ago, but I got a copy of Fire as soon as it came out, and I almost wish I hadn't- it would have been fun to spend a bit more time anticipating a return to the world that Kristen Cashore has created. Anyway, the long and short of it is that I loved Fire as much as I loved Graceling- at first I did not think it would be as good, but it was. Everything that Graceling has going for it, Fire has in greater quantities- this time, our heroine may not be a Graced killer, but she is still someone that the reader can cheer for.
The main way in which Fire defers from Graceling is that it is far more cynical in tone, making it even less of a wholesome YA book than Graceling was; I would recommend this book for older teens.
This book is about a girl that fell in love with a devil and ended up being forever with him, I would recommend this book to anyone that likes drama filled lives that come together as your own life.
This book keeps you on the seat the whole time and it makes you never want to put the book down and always read. It is the best book I have ever read.
I liked when she thought she was falling for him and she ended up knowing it was him and he was the one.
Release Date: October 2009
Publisher: Dial Books
Rating: 5 stars
Fire, Graceling's prequel-ish companion book, takes place across the mountains to the east of the seven kingdoms, in a rocky, war-torn land called the Dells.
Beautiful creatures called monsters live in the Dells. Monsters have the shape of normal animals: mountain lions, dragonflies, horses, fish. But the hair or scales or feathers of monsters are gorgeously colored-- fuchsia, turquoise, sparkly bronze, iridescent green-- and their minds have the power to control the minds of humans.
Seventeen-year-old Fire is the last remaining human-shaped monster in the Dells. Gorgeously monstrous in body and mind but with a human appreciation of right and wrong, she is hated and mistrusted by just about everyone, and this book is her story.
Wondering what makes it a companion book/prequel? Fire takes place 30-some years before Graceling and has one cross-over character with Graceling, a small boy with strange two-colored eyes who comes from no-one-knows-where, and who has a peculiar ability that Graceling readers will find familiar and disturbing...
Fire was phenomonal, there's no other way to put it! Starting with page 1, it drew you in, leaving you entranced with Fire's world. Once again, Kristin Cashore draws up an outstanding world, just outside of the one we encounter in Graceling. Graceling was outstanding, and when reading Fire I wasn't sure what to expect. Fire surpassed all my expectations and then some.
All the characters were very 3-D, which added a lot to the novel. Fire was such a great character, her past was revealed as part of the story. So you not only got what was going on now, but also what happened in the past. All the characters really draw you in with their emotions, and that's a big part of the novel. I loved the romance between Fire and Brigan, it was slow building, but it stuck out at readers like a red hot poker.
The fact with the "monsters" that was really great was that monsters had the same effect on everyone and the effect wasn't gender specific. In most novels, it's the female character that gets people to do their bidding, but in Fire Fire's father had people groveling to do his will.
Definately a must read! (Though make sure to read Graceling before you read Fire, or you ruin Graceling.)