Review: Fire by Kristin Cashore

Wednesday, December 25, 2013
Why I chose this book:

After reading and thoroughly enjoying Graceling, I couldn’t say no to this book’s enticing cover and entrancing heroine.

Publisher: Firebird
Publish Date: October 5th, 2009
Format: Paperback 
Genre: Young Adult, Fantasy 
Buy: B&N || Amazon || Indiebound










Summary:

It is not a peaceful time in the Dells. The young King Nash clings to his throne while rebel lords in the north and south build armies to unseat him. The mountains and forests are filled with spies and thieves and lawless men.

This is where Fire lives. With a wild, irresistible appearance and hair the color of flame, Fire is the last remaining human monster. Equally hated and adored, she had the unique ability to control minds, but she guards her power, unwilling to steal the secrets of innocent people. Especially when she has so many of her own.

Then Prince Brigan comes to bring her to King City, The royal family needs her help to uncover the plot against the king. Far away from home, Fire begins to realize there's more to her power than she ever dreamed. Her power could save the kingdom.

If only she weren't afraid of becoming the monster her father was.
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3 things you need to know about this book:
   1. Plot
   Fire held an exceptional plot. I expected a similar plot line to that of Graceling, but Fire, with her less distant protagonist, took on a life all its own. It had very little similarities plot-wise to Graceling. Again, I was not a raving fan over Graceling because of its subliminal anti-marriage message, but I felt like this held something completely different. Yes, it still held a message of women empowerment, but Fire was not weak for loving Brigan like Katsa felt weak for loving Po. 
On a different note, this plot held less of an adventure/traveling plot. Yes, Fire is in a few different places, but it is not a constant journey. Sometimes, adventure writers get used to the traveling pace of a novel, but Cashore tackled this new setting with finesse.  

   2. Writing:
   Overall, this book’s writing was much better than Graceling. I was very impressed with the progress she made, both in plot writing and character writing. But there is one small thing I noticed.
   I noticed this in Graceling too, but Cashore likes to use large and clunky words at times. She doesn’t use them out of context, but she uses a handful of words that I didn’t know the meaning. I am all for putting big words in a book and expanding a reader’s vocabulary, but if it completely brings them out of the story, then something is wrong; writers should not use that word. Breaking a reader’s experience with a book is one of the biggest rules in writing. It almost seemed like she used a thesaurus to figure out what words she should use in replacement of another word. As a writer, I can’t condone that. Even Stephen King warns against this. Again, this wasn’t a big issue, but there were a number of words that completely took me out of reading in order to grab a dictionary.

   3. Characters:
   First off, this book had way more dynamic characters and good description of thought processes, which made this book much easier to get through and identify with characters.
   A) Fire: She is by far my favorite female protagonist Cashore has ever written. She’s strong but still hold onto her strong emotional side, which allows readers to identify with her easily (rather than Katsa’s isolated character). Fire, like most people puts on this hard exterior as if nothing phases her, but you can see the cracks in her carefully placed mask, and she soon becomes easy to love. I feel like her character is an embodiment of YA lit. She’s an outcast, and all young adults can identify with that in some way or another. Fire has a tenacity and liveliness to her that makes us wish we would exhibit more often. 
   B) Brigan: He is probably my favorite male protagonist I’ve read in any of her books. He is a round character, and has this archaic bravery characteristic to him; you see this characteristic in historical fiction or the classics. It’s that romantic chivalric bravery that you read about in medieval literature. Quite interesting, and very endearing.

   Final Notes:
   Overall, I think this is the best book Cashore has written (Graceling and Bitterblue pales in comparison to this book in my opinion). I still have issues with it because it holds a few themes that I don’t agree with, but it was a pretty good book.

I gave this book 4 stars on my Goodreads.


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