Fire by Kristin Cashore

Brigan had been unshaven, in black clothing, his boots spattered with mud. His light eyes standing out standing out in a weary face.
She’s very much come to like his face.
And of course she understood now why her body wanted to run whenever he appeared. It was a correct instinct, for there was nothing to be got from this but sadness.
She wished she hadn’t seen his gentle way with his child (p 215).

fireIn the kingdom of the Dells, there dwell monsters. Not ugly beasts, but animals like mice and cats with vibrant coloring and an ability to mesmerize. Some are dangerous, like the raptor monsters who lure weak-minded humans to their deaths, while others, like monster cats are harmless (unless you are a mouse, of course).

Fire is a human monster. After her father, Cansrel, dies, she is the only human monster left. Imagine Aphrodite and then amplify. Fire is irresistible and she can penetrate your thoughts unless you have a strong mind, like Brigan, the king’s younger brother.

When Fire is summoned to the palace to help identify an archer as a possible threat to the king, Fire is nervous. Her father, the companion and advisor to the previous king, left a legacy of cruelty and indulgence in his wake. Her life has been an apology for that of her father. But not many see a difference when they look upon her and her manipulative beauty.

In small steps, she gains the trust and respect of the king, his brother, and many others at court. When the Kingdom is threatened with invasion, it is through Fire they are saved.

Full of political intrigue and romance, the strength of this novel lies in it’s main character, Fire, and the full-bodied secondary characters like Brigan and his daughter Hanna, Archer, Clara and Cansrel. In fact, while there is a large cast, all the characters come to life effortlessly through Cashore’s pen.

This is not a sequel to Graceling but a companion, as the only character readers will recognize is the future King Leek. I had high hopes for this book and I wasn’t disappointed.

Cashore writes some really excellent dialogue – witty and poignant. I found myself laughing out loud or squealing at points. Those who enjoyed the Twilight series by Stephenie Meyer would LOVE Cashore’s writing. Only Chashore’s much better!

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