Fire by Kristin Cashore is a fast-paced YA novel filled with political intrigue, adventure, and romance. It is the second book in the Graceling Realm Trilogy. According to the author, while Fire is a prequel that takes place 30 years before the events of the first book in the trilogy (Graceling), it can act as a stand-alone novel in its own right. It works to read the books in trilogy or chronological order; that’s up to the individual.
Fire is a monster; she can read and control minds. Fire is a human monster with the power to read and control minds, but she doesn’t want this power; she never asked for it and only at the urging of her loved ones will she use it for self-defense. When intruders are found near her home and inside the King’s City, Fire has no choice but to claim her power, at the risk of potentially becoming like her cruel and tyrannical father, in order to protect herself and save the Dells from impending war.
Archer is Fire’s best friend and they’ve known each other since childhood, and have a romantic history together, even though they aren’t together. Queen Roen calls it “the strangest relationship in the Dells.” Brocker is Archer’s father and is Fire’s chosen paternal figure. He was the Commander of the King’s Army until a terrible accident occured and is very close friends with Queen Roen.
Queen Roen rules the Dells behind her son Nash by offering kind and strong advice. She has four children: Nash, Brigan, and the twins Clara and Garan. She’s been close friends with Brocker, Archer, and Fire for a long time.
Brigan is the fierce Commander of the King’s Army, brother of King Nash, and son of Queen Roen and the late King Nax. He detests Fire the moment he meets her because her father, Cansrel, destroyed his father and the Dells.
(For those of you who read Graceling first, you will learn the origin of King Leck—spoiler alert: he was always a jerk).
The compelling story of Fire’s journey of self-discovery quickly captivates readers and keeps them engaged for the duration of the book. Kristin Cashore is among the few, gifted authors who is as talented at creating an elaborate world as she is at crafting a complex story. The Dells are both beautiful and rich in history, populated with a host of unique characters and creatures. The author’s intricate description of The Dells allows the reader to easily visualize Fire’s world.
Cashore’s depiction of Fire’s inner turmoil endears the reader to her; one can easily sympathize with her struggle to define herself independent of her father’s legacy. This book is particularly good for fans of fantasy, action, and romance because it has all three; think Lord of the Rings meets Harry Potter. I highly recommend this book.