Monday, December 21, 2009

"Fire" Book Review

"Fire", by Kristin Cashore, is a fantasy-adventure-romance novel. It takes place in what appears to be medieval times, in a land known as "The Dells". In relation to the previous book of Cashore, "Graceling", "Fire" takes place about 30 or 40 years before Katsa debuts in "Graceling". They have no real connection to each other, though they share the same antagonist, in "Graceling" as a corrupting king and in "Fire" as an evil little child. Like its predecessor, "Fire" has a female protagonist dealing with a self conflicting attribute they were born with.

In "Fire", the Dells are teaming with mutant animals known as monsters. They are basically the same as normal animals, except that they are born with fur and scales and feathers of marvelous colors, such as indigo and scarlet and fuchsia. Humans are often hypnotized by the beauty of the strange animals. Carnivorous monsters are also born with a blood lust of other monsters. Here lives Fire, a human monster. No one can resist her stunning figure, with a head of hair blazing with shades of red, orange, yellow, and some pink. Like all monsters, Fire can control the minds of anyone she wants, simply by thinking. Everyone except Prince Brigan, the brother of the king of the Dells. What started out as a hatred for one another would turn into a friendship and eventually love between Brigan and Fire. However, the kingdom is caught in a three way civil war, and though she may not want to, Fire will end up saving the whole kingdom. Her abilities don't go unnoticed, though as a young Leck (evil king of Monsea on the other side of the mountains that separate the Dells and the Seven Kingdoms where Katsa lives) kidnaps and attempts to control Fire. Fire will have to make some intense choices to escape her captor, who has a Grace similar to hers: the ability to control minds.

I thought "Fire" was an excellent read. Cashore writes descriptively about the settings, emotions, thoughts and dialogue throughout both books I have read by her. The lingering thought of "what's gonna happen next" kept me sad and needy every time I set down the advance copy I was fortunate to read. Not quite as feminine as Sarah Dessen's works and not quite as complicated as Stephen King's works, "Fire" is a great stimulating balance of human error, human love, and inhuman abilities.