Fire by Kristin Cashore + video

Fire, a prequel to Graceling by Kristin Cashore, sends readers on a fantastical journey filled with colorful creatures, characters, and language. Discover what it’s like to be the one monster girl in a world of regular humans.

Fire is a human monster, a beautiful person with the ability to read and control the minds of every living thing around her. She’s afraid of this terrible power, and has always gone to great lengths to avoid using it. But now the Dells are on the brink of war, and Fire’s power could be the difference between winning and losing.

Fire is a very likeable character. Her beauty and her mind powers left her isolated from the moment she entered the world. Mostly because of her monster father, Cansrel. His atrocities and selfishness have left a stain on Fire’s reputation. She’s led a lonely life, full of visions of her father’s past violence. The way she talks reflects her feelings: “She didn’t want to go far, just out of the tress so that she could see the stars. They always eased her lonesomeness. She thought of them as beautiful creatures, burning and cold; each solitary, and bleak, and silent like her.”

The other characters in the novel are just as engaging and distinctive. Archer, Fire’s childhood friend turned possessive lover, is fiery and passionate. Brigan, the prince next in line for the Dellian throne, and leader of the army to boot, is calm and steady. Even Cansrel, the long-dead villain and Fire’s father, draws the reader in.

This book has a plethora of plot twists, which keep the reader engaged and always guessing what will happen next. There’s not just one villain or one hero driving the plot, but a buffet of each.

One of the villains is Leck, the main villain in the first book of the Seven Kingdom’s series. He’s a boy in Fire, but his Grace twisted the child into a selfish, evil person. Leck “liked to play with little [animal] monsters. He liked to tie them down and peel away their claws, or their vividly colored scales, or clumps of their hair and feathers.”

This book differs from Cashore’s Graceling, but it’s just as good. Fire is a story of love, of war, and of sacrifice.

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