This review was originally posted in April, but to celebrate the upcoming release of FIRE, we have decided to repost it!
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!!!
Overall Enjoyment: 12/10!!! (Not joking. If I could, I would give it a 324/10)
Total Score: 61/60
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.
Review: 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.
FIRE is the prequel to GRACELING, both are equally magnificent and can be read in either order.
Katsa has been able to kill a man with her bare hands since she was eight—she’s a Graceling, one of the rare people in her land born with an extreme skill. As niece of the king, she should be able to live a life of privilege, but Graced as she is with killing, she is forced to work as the king’s thug.
She never expects to fall in love with beautiful Prince Po.
She never expects to learn the truth behind her Grace—or the terrible secret that lies hidden far away . . . a secret that could destroy all seven kingdoms with words alone.
With elegant, evocative prose and a cast of unforgettable characters, debut author Kristin Cashore creates a mesmerizing world, a death-defying adventure, and a heart-racing romance that will consume you, hold you captive, and leave you wanting more.
Here is the book trailer for GRACELING:
There is also a sequel to GRACELING in writing called BITTERBLUE. It takes place 6 years after GRACELING, and yes, Bitterblue is the protagonist.
You can visit Kristin Cashore's blog here.