Review: Fire

Fire (Graceling Realm #2) by Kristin Cashore
Release Date ~ October 5, 2009
Dial ~ Penguin
ISBN13:  9780803734616
Hardcover personally purchased
Goodreads Synopsis:
She is the last of her kind...

It is not a peaceful time in the Dells. In King City, the young King Nash is clinging to the throne, while rebel lords in the north and south build armies to unseat him. War is coming. And the mountains and forest are filled with spies and thieves. This is where Fire lives, a girl whose beauty is impossibly irresistible and who can control the minds of everyone around her.

Exquisitely romantic, this companion to the highly praised Graceling has an entirely new cast of characters, save for one person who plays a pivotal role in both books. You don’t need to have read Graceling to love Fire. But if you haven’t, you’ll be dying to read it next.

After finishing Graceling, I immediatley jumped into Fire although I was curious to see how I would find it; I knew it was a companion novel and thus doesn't direclty deal with the same characters and events in Graeling, but I was optimistic that Kristin Cashore could lure me in to this new story!

Thankfully, I wasn't wrong about that- and I don't think I could pick a favourite out of Fire or Graceling. I adored them both, but for very different reasons :) But Fire clearly establishes Kristin as an author to be watched and one of the best found in modern YA.

  1. A book that stands all on its own:
    Fire doesn't rely on anything from Graceling to make it a great book; it easily stands all on its own as a new favourite, with diverse & fascinating characters and an equally intriguing storyline. Moreover, I was impressed that Fire stood out as a completely separate story from Graceling. I was wary that the storylines and characters would be eerily similar to those found in Graceling and was pleased when I discovered that they weren't! There is one thread that remains familiar between the two, but ultimately the pair give us a fuller sense of the world Fire and Katsa live in. And even the Dells is such a different world from the one encountered in Seven Kingdoms.
  2. But it keeps the good elements of Graceling:
    Books like this can also turn out another way, when they strike gold once and then try so hard to be different in the second book that they completely miss what made them so enjoyable in the first place. This isn't the case with Fire. You still have contemporary issues being discussed in a fantasy world, plenty of action, romance, and an high stakes. ALSO: I need to add here that I'm a HUGE fan of natural, slow-building, gradual romances. I found that (and loved it) in Graceling and Fire has that as well, so that's a HUGE win in my books! :)
  3. A focus on relationships:
    Fire features a large number of extraordinarly complex and interwoven relationships, something that I found particularly interesting to read about and seems to be a partial focus of the story. It's fascinating seeing how these characters interact with one another and how they react differently towards others, and it's these relationships that truly set the stage for the rest of the novel. It's truly a remarkable feat to capture such realistic portrayals of relationships and interactions between people in writing.
  4. Fire & Brigan are NOT Katsa & Po:
    It's understandable that a comparison between these four would be made, but I was relieved to find out that they are completely different types of people with rather opposite personalities. Marriage makes Katsa nervous and she's more focused on her actions and what she can actively accomplish; Fire desires commitment and a family more than anything, but she fears it as well and puts a lot of time into thinking things through. Similarily, Po and Brigan are different types of men as well.
But there are a couple of similarities: Katsa and Fire are both unique, and fear this uniqueness they hold more than anything. Po and Brigan show their love by being supportive and encouraging rather than trying to control.

Kristin Cashore's books are so rich in detail and familiarities that it's hard to believe aren't real, and that this is a fantasy world. But the issues she raises (love, relationships, sex, female empowerment, etc.) aren't foreign to us and I think this is where their true impact lies.

Purchase Links
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Anna @ Literary Exploration said...

Gah, I LOVED FIRE!!! :D I think Fire is my favorite out of them all by far. Okay, now that you've read these stop here and don't read Bitterblue LOL!!!

Anna @ Literary Exploration

Tanya Patrice said...

I loved Fire too! I know a lot of people were hoping for a sort of follow up to Graceling, and I am too happy that Cashore did this as a stand-alone. Her writing is amazing and I'm looking forward to Bitterblue even more now.

Kristin Feliz said...

I still haven't read this one! Despite the fact that it's been sitting on my shelf for YEARS!!!

GAH! Everyone always talks about how amazing this book is. I just feel like I have to re-read Graceling first. And of course, now we have Bitterblue!


Anyhoo, dramatic aside, FABULOUS review :D You're making me want to read this ASAP!

Kristin @ growingupya.blogspot.com

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