Fire by Kristin Cashore

Graceling Realm, Book 2

Synopsis: 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.

Review: This is a really cool read.

I liked the idea of monster versions of normal animals: unnaturally colored and vicious. Fire is a human monster, but she hates her powers, and what she can do with them. Her way of trying to deal with what she is, made for a compelling story.

There was also a lot going on with feuding lords, conspiracies, and what not, but that was just a backdrop for the story of Fire’s personal growth in my opinion. Reading about her, about how she tries to bloom after years of hiding away was what made this an interesting story. I will confess though that I love stories where characters are faced with moral dilemmas. What makes a person turn to doing evil? What makes another decide differently?

Although this is the second book in the series, it is chronologically set before Graceling.

This is probably done because a character from Graceling is in this book, and knowing some events in this book might have spoiled some things in Graceling

Even so: I will confess that the events linking this book to Gracelingfelt unnecessary, and they didn’t really add to the story in my opinion. I do wonder however if maybe Fire’s story will have an impact on the next book in this series, and if maybe the linking events in this book will make sense to me once I’ve read Bitterblue.

Luckily I have Bitterblue in my TBR pile, so I will soon find out.


Sullivan McPig


Graceling by Kristin Cashore

Graceling Realm, Book 1

Synopsis: Katsa has been able to kill a man with her bare hands since she was eight – she’s a Graceling, one of the rare people in her land born with an extreme skill. As niece of the king, she should be able to live a life of privilege, but Graced as she is with killing, she is forced to work as the king’s thug.

When she first meets Prince Po, Graced with combat skills, Katsa has no hint of how her life is about to change.
She never expects to become Po’s friend.
She never expects to learn a new truth about her own Grace – or about a terrible secret that lies hidden far away…

Review: This is a really cool read.

I wasn’t so sure about Katsa at first, she seemed to act a bit too much as a victim when I thought that wasn’t necessary. But it turned out that her behavior and the role she lets herself be put into were big parts of the story, which is as much about the mystery Katsa and Po try to solve, as it is about Katsa’s transformation.

And Katsa’s transformation is a really beautiful story to read. I liked how Cashore doesn’t shy away from touchy subjects like premarital sex, and a woman’s place in a medieval/fantasy marriage without it taking away from the flow of the story. She doesn’t treat her YA readers as if they’re too fragile to handle these issues.

The mystery Katsa and Po have to solve, and the journey they take is also very intriguing. I liked how they became friends along the way and how they interacted. There was heartache, cool action, intrigue and more. Everything I could wish for in a good Fantasy adventure. There were some things you could see coming from miles and miles away, but that didn’t spoil my enjoyment.

The world building fell a bit short at times. There’s all these people with graces, skills that are so advanced and better than in normal people, but I felt that they weren’t explained enough. How common or uncommon are they exactly? Are some graces more common than others? I think they were supposed to be very uncommon, but Katsa keeps running into graced people once she leaves the castle she grew up in. I wanted to know more than was told.

But that one grumbling aside I really liked this book, and I will most certainly read the other books in this series as well.


4Sullivan McPig