My first thoughts on finishing Fire by Kristin Cashore: THIS BOOK IS GREAT. I liked Graceling fine (see my review and Crazy Camper's addendum), but Fire blew me away. Its waring nations and sad observations about war remind me of Finnikin of the Rock by Melissa Marchetta (my review), but I have to say I liked Fire better. Because Fire is an awesome girl.
It is not a peaceful
time in the Dells. The young King Nash clings to his throne while rebel
lords in the north and south build armies to unseat him. The mountains
and forests are filled with spies and thieves and lawless men. This
is where Fire lives. With a wild, irresistible appearance and hair the
color of flame, Fire is the last remaining human monster. Equally hated
and adored, she had the unique ability to control minds, but she guards
her power, unwilling to steal the secrets of innocent people. Especially
when she has so many of her own.
Then Prince Brigan comes to
bring her to King City, The royal family needs her help to uncover the
plot against the king. Far away from home, Fire begins to realize
there's more to her power than she ever dreamed. Her power could save
the kingdom. If only she weren't afraid of becoming the monster her father was. (GoodReads).
Originality: 8. This monster stuff is cool. I like the neon color of the monsters (which can be anything from tigers to humans to mice) and how they were irresistible to humans but also wanted to eat each other more than anything else.
Absurdity: 7. The politics in this story are super intense and I rolled my eyes at least once and thought "gah, fantasy books, why must you build such insane political allegiances." And do not get my started on the uber-insane web of family reveals. There were literally 3+ bombs about who was whose parent and who killed their respective parent/child.
Level of Paranormal Romance: 10. Fire is desperately attractive to everyone she meets, which inspires constant feelings. And all the main characters are attractive men. Apparently no ugly people are allowed to be princes, although I personally loved her best friend and non-prince named Archer best. Overall I was pleased with how the romance played out, and found the relationships moving.
Level of Harry-Potterness: 8. I did not know it before, but I am a fan of companion novels. Rather than falling into doldrums, this story expanded the world of Graceling (and made me fear the first book's bad guy even more--boy is he scary) and makes me want to know if/how these two places will combine in Bitterblue. The writing here is also often moving, and I might just have to read this book again, Harry Potter style!
(My only complaint is if you are a character in a fantasy book being
guarded for your safety, can you PLEASE stop sneaking out at night for
introspective paragraphs? SHEESH.)