Fire by Kristin Cashore

FIRE by Kristin Cashore

Fire, Graceling's stand-alone prequel-ish companion book, takes place across the mountains to the east of the seven kingdoms, in a rocky, war-torn land called the Dells.
Beautiful creatures called monsters live in the Dells. Monsters have the shape of normal animals: mountain lions, dragonflies, horses, fish. But the hair or scales or feathers of monsters are gorgeously colored-- fuchsia, turquoise, sparkly bronze, iridescent green-- and their minds have the power to control the minds of humans.
Seventeen-year-old Fire is the last remaining human-shaped monster in the Dells. Gorgeously monstrous in body and mind but with a human appreciation of right and wrong, she is hated and mistrusted by just about everyone, and this book is her story.
Wondering what makes it a companion book/prequel? Fire takes place 30-some years before Graceling and has one cross-over character with Graceling, a small boy with strange two-colored eyes who comes from no-one-knows-where, and who has a peculiar ability that Graceling readers will find familiar and disturbing...

I just finished reading Fire and I'm torn. I don't think it was better than Graceling, the companion novel to Fire. First of all, it starts extremely slow. It took about 300 pages for me to really get into it. Normally, I would have quit on a novel that takes that long for me to like it, but I really enjoy Kristin Cashore's writing style. So I got pulled along. It is also easier to give an author you've already read a chance, since they've impressed you the first time.

Fire's character is complex, so she wasn't a problem. And I also liked Brigan, especially their scenes together. The development of their relationship is well done, so much so, I wished there was more. It was the scenes where Fire was in the castle and nothing really was happening that I wished would speed up. And also, there are quite a few beginnings of chapters where Fire reflects on her dad...I got the idea pretty early that he was horrible and she was conflicted by her love and hate of him, so many of these scenes felt redundant.

Like I said, it really picks up by the end. Cashore likes to throw in a lot of twists and I definitely didn't see them coming, which made me enjoy the end all the more. The only thing that drove me crazy was there was a certain element that made me feel like I was reading something akin to a Middle Earth soap opera. There was a bit too much of that kind of drama and less of the intense fighting and warrior skill I had enjoyed reading about in Graceling.

So, would I read it again? No.

But, would I read more from Kristin Cashore? Absolutely.