After reading Graceling, I was super excited to pick up anything with Kristin Cashore's name on it. I went to Amazon in search of her next masterpiece, only to find her next book didn't involve any characters from Graceling. In fact, it was termed "a companion". The word companion usually means nothing good in the world of a reader, and I didn't buy it. If I were honest, I flat out refused. But shopping at McKay's used bookstore here in Nashville, I came across a beautiful, pristine copy and picked it up for almost 75% off. I wasn't disappointed.
Where I thought that Kristin Cashore couldn't match the characters in Graceling, she most definitely did. Fire is lyrical, witty, funny, and lovable. She is so different from Katsa, an entirely different species in fact, yet I found myself loving her just as I had done with Katsa. The characters are beautifully woven, like fine silk and rubbed to perfection. Fire has weaknesses, but she's not weak. She's complicated, ashamed of herself, but so utterly and undeniably human at heart you can't help but want her to come out on top.
Of course there's a romance, no novel from Kristin Cashore could be complete without one, and it's fairly obvious who is going to hook up with whom. However, in another typical Kristin Cashore plot thread, you never can quite predict much else. Fire had me entranced, where no chapter was boring and I only skipped ahead once just to make sure nothing horrible (such as the world ending) was about to happen before I turned in for the night. This is a rare feat for me, since I have little control over my eyes and brain impulses with books.
Pick it up. If you didn't want to because there was no Katsa, do it anyways. You will love Fire and you will adore the complicated Archer and the elusive prince and his brother the king. You will not go wrong and it will be money well spent.