book 3 for the Once Upon a Time III Challenge
genre: young adult fantasy
In Fire, our story takes us beyond the seven kingdoms of Graceling, to an eastern land that is teetering on the edge of war. The connections between Fire and Graceling are very few and center upon one character in particular, who is a crucial element to both plots.
The book Fire centers on the character of Fire - a girl who is born compellingly beautiful and with the ability to read and mold the minds of those around her. The beauty that makes her irresistible is both a danger and an asset and the imminent war becomes of the utmost importance to Fire as secrets are revealed and her abilities give her a crucial role among the King and his family.
Could I put this book down? Of course not. I think Cashore's writing is even tighter this time around, especially the dialogue. The plot is more political, more militarily focused with as much intrigue as Graceling and with characters just as conflicted and multidimensional. What especially kept me going was the romantic interplay between characters that I think Cashore does so well. Really, I loved the romantic plot line. Fire had to work through a lot of emotions and her occasional, seemingly random outbursts of emotion seemed to fit her as a character who has spent her entire life overflowing with everyone else's feelings. As in Graceling, I think that there are some moral and ethical issues that could provoke some interesting discussion, especially among teens.
An excellent fantasy, full of all the good stuff: magical creatures, magical abilities, battles with handsome soldiers and enough of a gray area between "right" and "wrong" to keep it from being trite. You don't need to have read Graceling first to appreciate this book, although I'm glad I read them in this order. If you HAVE read and loved Graceling, put this one on your list RIGHT NOW!