Sunday, April 19, 2009

Fire by Kristin Cashore



It is not a perfect time in the Dells.

Young King Nash clings to the throne, while rebel lords, in the north and south, build armies to unseat him. War is coming. The mountains and forests are filled with spies and thieves.

This is where Fire lives, a girl whose startling appearance is impossibly irresistible and who can control the minds of everyone around her.

Everyone...except Prince Brigan.


Character Development: 10/10!!!
Originality: 10/10!!!
Overall Enjoyment: 12/10!!! (Not joking. If I could, I would give it a 324/10)
Voice: 10/10!!!
Ending: 10/10!
Recommendation: 10/10!!!!!!
Total Score: 61/60
Grade: A++

Age Apropriate?
Cussing: No
Drugs, Alcohol, etc: Some drug references, nothing too severe, and there is drinking, but not offensively
Sexual Content: Yes. Several scenes. Nothing too graphic. Very mature. And many mentions of rape.
Aimed at ages 14+.

This book is a prequel to one of my favorite books of all time--Cashore's Graceling. I had high expectations for this book from the moment I first discovered it, and let me say this: my expectations have never been so wildly surpassed.

Fire evoked such raw emotion in me that I was astonished at myself. I have never been so empathetic to a character as I was to Fire, the beautiful and cursed girl whose story is thought-provoking and deeply moving. Cashore's writing is natural and hypnotic, with the kind of perfect, earthly voice that I find myself unconsciously using for days afterward. Her imagery is clear and easy to create mentally, thus making the story as a whole more intimate and believable.

The Dells, for me, are as real as the Seven Kingdoms of Graceling, or the factual countries of today. All of them have cruelty, corruption, politics, and war as well as beauty, peace, and humanity.

In both of Cashore's books, she explores the complications, joys, and pains of love, providing situations and feelings that are far from perfect, and so heartfelt and human. Fire is a welcome contrast to Graceling in this way, although the raw passion and purity of love is equal in both novels. Also in Fire, Cashore furthers her exploration of the human mind and its strength that she began in Graceling, giving the reader an amazing insight into humanity as a whole. She also repeats the theme of the exploitation of women, magnified in Fire to a major point of focus.

But aside from these more academic aspects, Fire is truly an amazing piece of literature. A happy, welcome addiction that I hardly realized I had refused to let go of until long after I had finished. It was an experience that both traumatized and refreshed me, and I will not soon forget it. Trust me on this, readers--Kristin Cashore is an artist of a higher caliber.

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