BOOK RATING: 9/10
Hi there! Today we are discussing the prequel/companion novel to Graceling by Kristin Cashore, Fire. You don’t have to have read Graceling to enjoy this novel. Personally I would say you should read Graceling first though just because you get more out of this novel that way. This book is like The Selection where I cannot do a good job of describing it! So just take my word for it, it’s good. Now in my summary here, I’m going to assume that you have read Graceling already, so if you haven’t go do that. Fire is a slower pace than Graceling. In Graceling you are immediately thrown into the action, Fire takes a bit of time to build up. In this novel we are in an entirely new country that is not a part of the Seven Kingdoms from Graceling (that took me a few chapters to realize. At first I thought it was just before the Seven Kingdoms or something. Yes, I know it say it’s a different country on the back of the book. Shut up! I’m slow.) Anyway, in this country there are no gracelings but there are monsters that are pretty much multi-coloured animals and they’re described as so beautiful that they mess with people’s ability to think correctly and that’s how they hunt. Fire is the name of our main character and she’s a human-monster. So she is cursed with this terrible beauty and ability to influence people’s thoughts, kind of like a cross between Po and King Leck. This is a really interesting book, a lot happens in it and it says a lot about gender role and the influence of beauty as well as being a fantastic read. So go pick up a copy if you haven’t already. Spoilers past this point and hopefully I can talk somewhat coherently about this novel!
What I loved most about this book was the way Kristin Cashore talked about the influence beauty has in male vs. female. While Fire has to deal with men trying to attack her and use her and just want to do things to her, Fire’s father had people instantly falling at him feet, wanting to do things FOR him. So that was an interesting take on this whole situation. Because everyone (young women especially) are all clamouring for beauty and her beauty is shown in a very negative light in bringing out the worst in people.
It was really cool to have these bits about King Leck as a child mixed in very cleanly with this story. It’s a great testament to Kristin Cashore’s ability that she blended these two storylines so seamlessly even though they seemed unrelated. At the beginning, Leck killing his father and how his father was thinking that it wasn’t stupidity that made him easily deceived, it was love. I thought that was another really powerful message hidden within the story that speaks huge volumes about Leck’s personality and what he would eventually become. Using love almost as a weapon.
Archer. I don’t like him. At all. I can’t say I’m really sorry he died. I just didn’t like his character. And that’s all I’m going to say about him because I want to stab his face. Brigan on the other hand I did love. Fire and Brigan love story wasn’t as well developed as Po and Katsa’s and I would have liked a little bit more on that. But I love Brigan with his daughter, Hanna, and Fire with Hanna. What I found in this book was that the characters were really well developed in themselves, but not really well developed with each other. A lot was lacking in the relationship aspect.
Fire killing Cansrel. Actually I lied. This was the one relationship that was beautifully developed. I love how we get all the background stories like Fire burning Cansrel’s hand and then feeling so terrible about it, and swearing that she would never be like him and then eventually killing her own father. What was so perfect about this relationship was that they did love each other. Fire loved Cansrel, and Cansrel loved Fire so you really have to keep that in mind when reading about them. Fire took absolutely no pride in what she did, she felt awful for it and she mourned her father and although everyone else was grateful, she didn’t want their thanks. Killing her father and then taking the herbs that made it so she could never have children were her way of making sure that no one else would have to deal with what she did. Which broke my heart for her.
That’s all I can say while making sense. Again one of those books I am terrible at discussing, but I tried! Not as good as Graceling, but not a bad book.