Immediately after I finished reading Graceling, I picked up Kristin Cashore’s second novel, Fire. This is a companion novel to Graceling and is set several years before the events which occurred in that novel. One of the characters from Graceling does appear in this book, however the stories are not that closely linked that you would need to read them in their release order.
Fire is set in the same world as that of Graceling and follows the journey of a young girl named Fire, who is not quite as human as you and I – in her world she is known as a monster. Born with extremely alluring beauty and the ability to control minds. She has attributes similar to those of a Graceling, but her particular skill set puts herself in far more danger.
After reading her first novel, I had high hopes for Cashore’s second, and I have to say that my expectations were met. It seems that she has really eased into her story telling. I found the characters had a little more depth, the main character in particular. Although similar to Katsa in Graceling, Fire has many more sides to her and is slightly more complex. One example is the lack of a relationship between Katsa and her parents, in comparison to the relationship that Fire had with her father, which has truly shaped her into the person she has become.
It also seems that Cashore has allowed herself a little more descriptive writing, without allowing it to over run the rest of the story. The description of the vivid colouring of the monster animals in particular stands out in my mind, although many of them deadly, they seem to be truly beautiful.
Overall, I would say that I enjoyed this a little more than Graceling. I found Fire to be slightly less predictable – particularly when it comes to the major plot twist. I pretty much guessed it right away in Graceling, but with this book just about everything was a surprise. The storyline was a little more varied as well, not pages and pages of the characters doing the same thing. I think that the use of more characters with larger roles also made it a little more interesting as well. All in all, another great book from this author and I can not wait until her next is released (Bitterblue, released in the next couple of weeks I believe).
RATING – 9 out of 10.
WHO SHOULD READ IT – Those who read and enjoyed Graceling.
WHO YOU’LL LOVE – I actually really loved Fire’s horse, Small. He had no speaking parts, but he really seemed to be a kind little soul who loved his owner.