PurplyCookie's Reviews > Fire

Fire by Kristin Cashore
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's review
Jan 13, 2013

really liked it
bookshelves: book-series, fantasy, young-adult, fave-series, assassins
Read from November 18 to 29, 2010 — I own a copy , read count: 1

This fantasy, shot through with romance and suspense, is set in the same world as ”Graceling” but on the far side of the mountain barrier in the kingdom of the Dells. Here there are monsters, enhanced and exceptionally beautiful versions of various animal species. Monster horses, monster mice, monster leopards, monster versions of every species--including people. The monsters are identified by their vivid coloring: "A dappled grey horse in the Dells was a horse. A sunset orange horse was a monster." They are so beautiful that onlookers, mesmerized, simply offer themselves up as prey. Mesmerizing beauty is a dangerous enough quality in a predatory animal--in a monster person, it is inevitably wedded to powers of mind control. Fire is a human monster, the last of her kind; so beautiful that she has to hide her hair for fear of attack by both raptor monsters and human men. She is able to enter other people's minds and exert power over them.

Meanwhile, King Nash attempts to maintain his rickety rule over the Dells, while furtive rebel lords raise personal armies to unseat him and claim the throne. The land is teeming with bands of robbers and mysterious thieves, and nobody is safe. With war looming on the horizon, the royal family bestows Fire with the duty of uncovering a conspiracy to kill the king, by using her mental abilities to their advantage. Along the way, Fire must face additional challenges including the quest for the approval and then heart of the prince, the problems that come with loving her late father, who was once the most hated man in the Dells, and facing the numerous people who believe that she is as cruel as he was.

With a larger cast and a more complex canvas than ”Graceling”, the story begins quite slowly and takes its time establishing itself. Fire's path is not immediately clear, and although full of action, her quest is largely internal. This is Fire's story, and readers will feel for her as she struggles with her pivotal role in the war effort as well as her complex relationships with her oldest friend and lover, Archer; with Prince Brigan, whose mind is closed to her and who becomes central to her life; and with her monster father's fearsome legacy.

There were some unexplained plot holes (such as why monsters prefer to eat each other) that weakened the story but overall this book is an accomplishment. I was not partial to the romance between Fire and Prince Brigan, since their relationship unfurled too quickly; they abruptly go from mortal enemies, to awkward, tentative friends, to lovers, without time to develop in between the stages. Prince Brigan was absent from the palace and the plot for the majority of the time, and I wish he could extended his stay in the pages. My biggest complaint is in regard to the execution of the story. It takes far too long for anything meaningful to happen, and then after thirty or so pages of meaningful stuff happening, it retreats to meaninglessness again.

Leck, the only character also starring in ”Graceling”, is an unnervingly creepy child, and as disturbed as I imagined him to be, complete with his two eerily different Graceling eyes. Fans of his role as king in ”Graceling” may be disappointed to learn that he is not the main villain, though he does serve as a pivotal character for the plot.

Self-sacrifice and just plain old sacrifice play big roles in ”Fire”--something else that was bothersome about the story. There is a line between creating conflict or tension in a story and creating needless suffering in a story. ”Fire” crossed that line several times. There's some effective character work and vivid moral debates given, but the book turned increasingly to what seemed an overly routine nuts and bolts establishment of the fantasy story.

Though ”Fire” is not a happy, warm book all of the time--it deals with death and violence and life's cruelties, but in a sensitive and optimistic manner, it has its moments of humor and romance.

More of Purplycookie’s Reviews @: http://www.goodreads.com/purplycookie

Book Details:

Title Fire (The Seven Kingdoms #2)
Author Kristin Cashore
Reviewed By Purplycookie
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11/17/2010 page 58
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Comments (showing 1-4 of 4) (4 new)

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Joyzi Very nice review^^

PurplyCookie Thanks Joyzi! :)

Joyzi wrote: "Very nice review^^"

Yusra Great review, and I agree with you comment about the violence in the books. Not many young adult books delve into the violence as much as this one did, but I thought it made the events better told.

PurplyCookie Thanks for liking my book review, Yura! :)

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