“It is not a peaceful time in the Dells.” –Goodreads summary of Fire by Kristin Cashore. Indeed, between strange boys with two different colored eyes and the power to influence minds invading and the rebel lords just waiting for a time to strike, the King has his hands full. Unfortunately for Fire, he also therefore, has need of her supernatural abilities, though her supernatural beauty is also the last thing some people seem to want around the king….
I’ve heard a lot of good things about Graceling, and so when I saw the companion (but not sequel), Fire by Kristin Cashore on audiobook at the library, it seemed a logical choice! I haven’t read Graceling, so there won’t be any spoilers :D. This is also proof that you don’t need to have read Graceling to enjoy Fire.
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Author: Kristin Cashore
Discs: 10 (audiobook)
Genre-ish: Epic fantasy (YA?)
Rating: ★★★★★ – Imaginative world, strong plot
Setting: Fire by Kristin Cashore is set in the same fantasy world as Graceling, but a different part of the world. In the Dells, there are not people with two different colored eyes (for the most part), but instead there are individuals of all species born with coloring of bright and unusual color and extreme beauty. These individuals also have the ability to control unprotected minds and read thoughts. While “monster” insects and other small things are uncommon, but seen fairly frequently, monster humans are so rare, only one is currently known to be alive.
Premise: The Dells were under the rule of a mad king and his cruel monster adviser previously, until that king and adviser both died horrible deaths. Now, the mad king’s children are trying to put the kingdom back together, but two rebel lords are not making that an easy task. What would make it easier, however, is if the monster adviser’s daughter, Fire, who is the last known monster human, would use her mind control power on these strange empty-headed spies that have started cropping up in odd places…. Unfortunately, Fire is nothing like her father, and is determined not to use her powers for evil, though these empty-headed spies are starting to worry and intrigue her as well. The very precocious boy with two differently colored eyes that showed up at the palace and started torturing monster animals is starting to worry and intrigue her as well….
- The narrator! I looooooved Xanthe Elbrick‘s narration. The voices that she used for the different characters were marvelous and unique, and really added another dimension to an already wonderful story.
- Fire! While Fire had moments where she didn’t make the best decisions, she had strong morals and a dedication to friends and strangers that was just so moving. She’s a character that I’d really like to meet in real life, since I really ended up wanting to be friends with her.
- I loved the feel of the world and the powers that monsters had. This came from a combination of the fantasy writing style and the idea of all animals being able to be born multi-colored and with mind-control powers! It was really fun to see how Cashore worked this into the society with the poor using monster rat pelts as decorations and the rich having monster cats which used mind-control to catch rats. Cashore was very creative in her use of such a cool idea :D.
- Why is there so much need to talk about periods all the time?? I swear, we heard about every single time that Fire had her period, and it just wasn’t necessary!
- There were some strange inconsistencies and random things that didn’t end up actually mattering, which annoyed me. The rest of this line could be seen as a minor spoiler, though again, didn’t actually matter for the plot, but just to warn you. At one point, Fire makes herself infertile for a while, which generally (at least with our modern science) means that she shouldn’t get her period anymore, but she still does (which we know, because we hear about every time!). This didn’t work for me. It also didn’t end up mattering at all, so I didn’t see the point in Cashore writing about it to begin with….
- Archer and Fire’s relationship is a bit “loose” at times? And apparently this bothers people, not me in particular, but other people, and maybe you. But it also doesn’t end up mattering in the end.
I really enjoyed listening to Fire by Kristin Cashore on audio, and definitely recommend you grab the audiobook version if you are in the need of an audiobook! I found the world and characters to be fun and compelling, and am really looking forward to reading Graceling and Bitterblue! While there were a couple things that through me off about the book, for the most part I found myself super looking forward to driving just so that I could go back to the Dells and hang out with Fire some more. Cashore did a wonderful job portraying a vibrant character and story, since the way I keep wanting to describe this book is with color, and my memories of the scenes are all with bright colors!
Have you been reading the Graceling books? What order are you reading them in? What did you think?
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Fire by Kristin Cashore
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