Fire by Kristin Cashore
My rating: 4 of 5 stars
I really enjoyed this book! I didn't want to put it down and ultimately spent most of the day, curled up, reading it. It's a fantastic, compelling read.
I think that I ultimately liked this book a tiny bit more than the first although they felt quite different to me so its difficult to compare. Well, they are different and they aren't different. Let's face it, Kristin Cashore has used basically the same plot for each book, just changing up the characters and the details. Her formula apparently works because I really enjoyed BOTH of the books. But, the primary reason that I didn't give this one a 4 is that its pretty much identical in scope to the first book, with different details.
I really liked the character of Fire. Even more than Katsa from the first book. I found Fire to be very interesting and complex - Cashore has a way with writing strong yet vulnerable women characters. I enjoyed watching her develop her relationship with Brigan and seeing her journey throughout the novel. I was happy that the Fire/Brigan relationship developed slowly and that each of them had to find themselves & their own journey's before coming together as a couple. It was nice that Cashore didn't fall back on the whole 'love will make it all OK' storyline. I liked that they had their own journeys to take and their own things to work out before they were ready to come together.
I was surprised that this book, although technically part of a series, was not tightly connected to the first book. Since its more of a prequel, I was disappointed that I didn't get to revisit any of the characters that I liked so much in Graceling. There are certainly connections to Graceling but they were not tied in the way that I expected. Perhaps that wouldn't have been disappointing, had I realized before reading it that it would be a prequel.
All in all, the world that Cashore has created is rich and detailed. I really think her character development is stellar. I really thought the ideas around monsters created in this world (particularly the specifics such as the vibrancy of color and intensity of appetite) was unique and compelling. These things literally jumped off of the page for me, conveying a complex and interesting world.
Although technically Young Adult, I'm not sure that its easily categorized as YA. It's much more than YA. It's just good fiction - with fantastic world and character building! I definitely recommend this one!
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