Reader reviews for Fire

Beautiful. A human monster. How fabulous was this book? Usually I'm not into heroines described as incredibly beautiful and talented, but Cashore has taken it to the extreme, and made beauty a curse.
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I really enjoyed this one...but not as much as I enjoyed Graceling. I read the first one, rather than listening, and I found that I really wanted to look at the map while listening. (I'm assuming there was a map in the book because there was one in the first book)

I really liked Archer and Fire's friendship in the beginning of the book and I felt like the devolution of their friendship was really disappointing. I rather liked him in the beginning and he became annoying as the book went on.

Another really annoying part for me was when Fire had several chances to just stab Leck. He's evil! You're burning down the houses without a care of who is in them! Who cares if you kill the person who HAS BEEN DRUGGING YOU FOR WEEKS?! Everyone knows that people never die when they "disappear down rock crevices into the unknown" (quotation for the general idea, not actually from the book)Alas, I guess Leck couldn't be in Graceling if he was dead.

Also, I wanted more romance between Fire and Brigan. And less using herbs to prevent pregnancy. That part always creeps me out.
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Recommended For: Everyone, Fans of Fantasy, Readers who love a strong female protagonist.(First Impression: Gorgeous cover. Definitely grabs your attention at first glance)(Reaction after I finished: I don't remember. I might have flailed around a bit, it was just that good.)My Summary:Fire is a monster. Or rather half-human, half-monster. Her viciously bright hair and her flawless appearance make her an outcast in the world she lives in. But her beauty isn't the only thing that keeps her displaced from society. Fire has the ability to read and control people's minds. Unlike her father, she chooses not to inflict her ability on the weak minded. But she soon learns that there is more to her power than she could ever dream.The story takes place in a mountainous and rough world. Separated by the impassible Western mountains and hidden away from the Seven Kingdoms, The Dells is a land filled with treachery, deceit, and a kingdom heading towards impending war. Among the cities of The Dells is King's City - home of the royal family who are plagued by a legacy of a king turned to madness. With the kingdom on a slow descent to ruin, King Nash must right his father's wrongs and prevent the land from falling into the plotting hands of two conniving lords. But the war isn't the only thing threatening to disturb the peace. A young boy with two different colored eyes has plans of his own.A story wrought with tension, despair, hope, and love - it will keep you guessing and on the edge of your seat until you finish.My Review:Taking place at least 30 years before its companion, Graceling, Kristin Cashore delivers such a rich and compelling tale that will hold you in rapture. It reveals a whole new world beyond the lands of the Seven Kingdoms, full of secrets, hidden agendas, and deadly creatures. It's dark, beautiful, and unfolds with a certain elegance that is borderline perfection. The pacing is one of the strong points of the novel and takes the reader completely through the journey and envelopes them in a mixture of emotions. Fire, herself, is a force to be reckoned with. She is such a strong female protagonist and provides so much intensity to the story while also giving the reader a sense of warmth and independence.I loved how easily I got lost within the pages. So mixed with intrigue, love, complexity, morality, and more, that I never wanted it to end.The only thing that is keeping Fire from a 5 star rating in my books, is the ending. I felt it lacked somewhat (I want more, more, more!) but trust me when I say that it does not, in any way, take away from the quality of the book.Notable aspects: * I admire Kristin Cashore's ability to give two distinct voices to two separate heroines in both Graceling and Fire. They are strong, original and both unique in their own way. * The writing itself is just so eloquent and flowing with purpose. I can't recall a time when the novel lost pace or the writing became uninteresting. And the descriptions are so teeming with vivacity and life that it is easy to wrap yourself around the words. * Like Graceling, Fire has a strong plot of romance, but it doesn't overwhelm the feel of the book. It is wonderfully developed and gives to the overall story, rather than taking away from it.For those of you who are wondering, you needn't have read Graceling before Fire in order to enjoy it. Come to think of it, Fire works just fine as a standalone novel. Although, I can pretty much guarantee once you finish it you'll be grabbing for Graceling with hasty hands. Whether you read it before the first, or read it alone, just make sure you READ it, period! A worthy and satisfying sequel (or rather prequel) to its companion, Graceling.
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After Graceling's blandness I hadn't planned to seek this "prequel" out, but we got a used copy in my store so I borrowed it on a whim. I'm glad I did--I liked this book much more than I did the first. Fire suffers from many of the same flaws that Katsa does--both have a genetic gift/curse that ostracizes them and gives them endless fountains of angst; both are annoyingly mature for their ages*, and both are in danger of becoming mouthpieces for the author's idea of feminism rather than actual freestanding characters. Luckily, Fire is less annoying than Katsa on all fronts except for her dubious name--but even that was explained (and thus permissible) in ways that "Po" (grr) and "Bitterblue" (grrrrrr) never were.

Maybe I was just in a more receptive mood--I hardly read any fiction in November so perhaps I was hungry for it--but overall Fire's inner journey was much more interesting to me than Katsa's ever was. I found her transformation, her eventual acceptance of herself and her abilities, utterly convincing and almost moving. Beyond inner-transformation, the plot wasn't great--random, unnecessary characters from the last book, and a mostly off-page jumble of a war weakened it--but the characters had nice chemistry, and the romance was 100% less hideous than the previous book (in part because neither party was named "Po").

In case it isn't obvious, Cashore's naming habits bother me far more than her stance on sex. I still probably won't read "Bitterblue" because the name makes me feel pukey and I don't think I can stand a whole book of it.

*A note on the ages of the characters: I accept that this is a fantasy medieval society and so it doesn't bother me that characters are sexually active or leading armies at their young ages--it's just that the emotional tone and diction of every teen-aged person in everything Cashore writes reads as much older than their stated ages. Like other reviewers, I wish she'd just write an adult book already.
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My thoughts: This is not a series that needs to be read in order, since this book takes place before book 1 Graceling. And this one takes place in Dell, and they do not even know about the seven kingdoms. But there is a young boy here, a graceling, with a terrible power and he was later in Graceling.I really enjoyed this book. Which is funny because I did not like Graceling, which was too YA (yes I know but for me it was too much, too simple and too sweet.) While Fire was the opposite. And it did not feel YA either, it walked that line in between. The language was more YA, but the rest not.And it had such a great heroine, Fire was broken, yet strong, and she did not want to bend people to her will. She would rather be shot (and was) than to stop someone with her mind. And her power was terrible. Some loved the sight of her and wanted to touch her, while other men saw her, knew they could not have her and wanted to kill her. The kingdom of Dell was also well-written. There were animals, and then monsters, people would stop in awe and get eaten. They were as terrible and beautiful as Fire.The book had some wonderful characters, Archer who slept around a lot, Brigan, the prince who leads the armies and who does not trust her. King Nash who wants her the minute he sees her, and more. There was also this tone in the book, like I was there but at the same time not. Like I was hearing a story about the beautiful monster who wanted none of the powers she had.Recommendation and final thoughts:Do read this one, great fantasy, nice world, and a remarkable woman. The book also shows what beauty can do, and it is not always pretty. A rich world, strange magic, a hint of romance and the struggle for a kingdom.Reason for reading:I wanted to give her another go and I am so glad I did.Cover:Stunning!
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Kristin Cashore is now officially in a knock-down, drag-out fight for the title of "Favorite Fantasy Author Ever." I absolutely loved Graceling, and had very high expectations for Fire which were not disappointed. I adored Graceling for Katsa, its strong, capable, independent, vulnerable, and amazing main character. Fire, the prequel/companion's main character, is every bit as strong, vulnerable, amazing, etc. as Katsa, and yet the two characters could not have been more different. The two books feel connected, and you can definitely tell that they were written by the same author, but the plots and characters and settings are wholly new and intriguing. An incredible achievement by Cashore, in my opinion. She's no one-trick pony, and I'm waiting with bated breath for her next installment. In the battle for the title of Favorite Fantasy Author Ever, I can only hope that Kristin Cashore and Suzanne Collins keep sending new work my way so I never actually have to make the final call!
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Ummm.... It was an okay read I liked how kristin tied up on how confused I was on who was whose parents because aparently there was a lot of rapings in the book but I could have gone without knowing.... besides that I really did enjoy fire as a character and I jus wish kristin didn't wait until the end of the book for fire to except who she really is and then still didn't except it...(I know confusing) but overall it had some like omg moments and alittle bit of action and romance...it was a little to bland for me it was like kristin couldn't figure out if she wanted this book to be for adults or teens like graceing was. With all the talk of sex ,rapings ,violence its either you can go there or don't because she was inbetween. I could have done good without reading this book . I had soo high hopes for thisbook because Graceling was soo damn good that I pretty much went against what everyone was telling me about this book and to see for myself..... didn't help too much in the end because I disliked it like everyone els sorry characters were great but couldn't too much connect to thestory line ... love kristin cashore but not a huge fan of Fire but still a die hard fan of Graceling!
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Prequel/companion book to Graceling, this is the story of Fire, the last human monster hybrid with bright reddish gold hair and the ability to control minds around her. Her father, now dead, was an evil monster who took great joy in using his powers to destroy, and Fire is determined not to be like him. Prince Brigan brings her to the capital city of the Dells, where her powers are needed to discover who's behind the plot to kill the king and bring down the royal family. Torn between the prince and her first love, Archer, Fire must tread carefully among the political rivals and plots in order to save her kingdom from a destructive evil presence. Beautiful writing, excellent character development. Some mature content and complicated plot -- for 8th grade and up.
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It would be really long and involved for me to repeat a plot summary for this book, I realized as I began to attempt it, so I don't think I'll take the time this time. However, it is worth it for me to say that I enjoyed Fire very much. I loved Fire. I loved pretty much everyone associated with the Royal family. There was a lot of sadness in this book, but it was worth it. I made time for it and gobbled it up while on a very busy vacation because I enjoyed it so much.
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Fire was a very different type of story from Graceling. Whereas Graceling was more of an adventure story with just a handful of important characters, Fire is much more political and character-driven. There is a host of varied and intriguing characters, and while there is some action, most of the story revolves around unraveling the mysterious political motives and actions of nations on the brink of war.Right off the bat, I liked Fire more than Katsa. My biggest problem with Graceling was that I couldn’t connect to Katsa very well, and therefore had a hard time becoming truly invested in the story. With Fire, although her monster beauty and her semi-telepathic abilities make her even less human than Katsa, I found her spirit and inner struggles much easier to identify with. She definitely had some thoughts and attitudes I disagreed with, but they all fit with her character and you could see why she was the way she was.This book has a large supporting cast, and it took some concentration to keep them all straight. My favorites were Brigan, Brocker and Archer, even though none of them was infallible (it may be weird that I picked Archer, given his cornucopia of character flaws, but seeing him through Fire’s eyes allowed me to like him in spite of them), but I also really enjoyed the female members of Fire’s personal guard, who were a constant presence for most of the book, and the king’s other siblings, Clara and Garan. It was a lot of personalities to keep track of, and Kristin Cashore did a fantastic job of giving each of her characters, supporting or not, their own distinct personality and voice.The plot was complex and at times hard to follow, simply because of the nature of books about political intrigue. I normally tend to speed through books, but I had to pull back and pace myself with this one so as not to miss any of the intricate twists and turns. The pacing was a bit on the slow side, but it worked for me because it allowed the characters to develop more naturally. I felt the ending was a bit more drawn-out than seemed strictly necessary, but it was still largely satisfying, tying up many loose ends. There’s definitely room for more stories set in Fire’s world of monsters and monarchs, but even if this book was a standalone and not a companion, it would be fulfilling.The writing, as in Graceling, is beautiful. Settling into Kristin Cashore’s prose is like curling up by the fire with a cup of hot cocoa. It’s just comfortable and soothing for my brain, and I could actually feel my thoughts relaxing as I sank into the world of Fire. I love the way Kristin Cashore tells a story, and I’ll read anything she writes, simply to experience her lovely storytelling.Fire is a beautiful and fascinating tale, set in a unique fantasy world full of colorful characters that I wanted to immerse myself in completely. Even if you haven’t read Graceling, you could read and enjoy Fire with no trouble, although Graceling would probably enhance the reading experience. I loved it, and look forward to more stories set in this world.
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