book review: fire by kristin cashore



Fire by Kristin Cashore is a companion book in the Graceling Realm, the second to be published after Graceling. I have read Graceling and really enjoyed it, and decided to listen to the audiobook for Fire. I love this book a bit more than i loved the first one, and am rating it 4.5 out of 5 stars!

Synopsis from Goodreads:

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.

The story and plot

Unlike the first book, this one had quite a good start and made me dive into the story right away. At first, i was a bit disappointed to find out that the characters in Fire aren't actually in the kingdoms we are familiar with from Graceling. I already loved the whole concept from the first book, and it turns out that the second book is set in a kingdom on the other side of the land and mountains. My disappointment didn't last long though, because it turns out that i really enjoyed what Kristin Cashore had created in Fire.

The plot was decent but i found myself not really caring much about the plot, because i was honestly more interested in the characters. Admittedly though, i was really impressed with all the politics and spying and all those things, and am glad that the author had given it good attention rather than just making the politics a minor side thing. It had an interesting Game of Thrones vibe to it, which i found really interesting to read about in a YA high fantasy. Since i was listening to the audiobook, it was a little difficult for me to remember the names of the enemy and who was who but it didn't really effect my "reading" experience, which was good.

The book was divided into four parts(to be honest i don't really see the point of having the parts though), and the first two parts were just so, so good. The ending of part 2 was so full of suspense that i had to brace myself and get emotionally ready for part 3. Part three wasn't as exciting as part two, but still enjoyable to read nevertheless. Part four was mostly about wrapping up the politics and the characters and giving the readers proper closure for the end of the story. I really appreciated how the author ended the book at a heartwarming tone, rather than just leaving it vague.

I also found it interesting to discover that the story had taken place a few decades before the events in Graceling had taken place. Honestly, i should have realised it from the prologue itself(which was really good, if you've read Graceling), and it was amusing to know what will happen to one of the characters in this book in Graceling.

The writing

I loved the writing. It wasn't exactly unique or anything, but it had a lot of emotion in its descriptions and thoughts that i really loved. Perhaps it was because the narrator was just really good at narrating, but i just loved how nice the sentences sounded. It was a bit cheesy at some point, but the circumstances that the characters were under made the cheesiness somewhat romantic instead. Ah, the romance! It was slow, but it was lovely. I love how it took its time and how it develops. It was a bit confusing at first because all the characters were so complex with their feelings and history, but in the end i liked how it played out. It was realistic in the sense that it didn't ignore past love and was just so honest. My only disappointment would be that there wasn't enough romantic moments between the two characters.

I don't feel like it's a Young Adult high fantasy though. Fire was just so mentally mature most of the time and she hardly ever acted like a teenager. No one really ever did. That made it feel more like an adult high fantasy, but i guess it's still counted as YA because Fire was still 17. Everybody else was at least three to five years older than her though, so maybe that's why it didn't feel much like YA. But i love it! I love that it wasn't innocent. Although kind of creepy, i love that we saw what the social norms were like in that kind of world. It was mild compared to Game of Thrones, but it's quite similar.

The characters

I still adore Katsa from Graceling more than Fire, but i found Fire's character extremely interesting. The way she had to guard her beauty from men(and even women sometimes) and even resulted to covering her hair was very synonymous to the lives of Muslim women in certain societies. It was greatly more exaggerated in the book of course, with Fire being the only one of her kind to be able to enchant people with her beauty like that. Like Katsa in Graceling, Fire also has feminist principles, and i really enjoyed reading from that perspective.

I loved most of the characters! Most of them had secrets that were revealed in time, and i love how complex but wonderful they are. I especially love the bond between the royal family, and my favourite moments were when they and Fire are together.

I love Brigan! I love Hanna! I love Clara, i even love Archer and Nash and Fire's guards! I'm not gonna elaborate on this, i just love how much they all care about each other.


I definitely want to read Bitterblue now, but i'm kind of sad that we won't be seeing this kingdom any longer. I hope that somehow, the Dells and the seven kingdoms would meet up, and we can see the characters from this kingdom again. A book for little Hanna would be just perfect, i would enjoy that a lot.

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Kamalia has read 15 books toward her goal of 50 books.
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