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Fire (A Companion to Graceling) by Kristin…
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Fire (A Companion to Graceling) (original 2009; edition 2011)

by Kristin Cashore

MembersReviewsPopularityAverage ratingMentions
3,0192231,885 (4.12)345
Member:EvahLynn
Title:Fire (A Companion to Graceling)
Authors:Kristin Cashore
Info:Firebird (2011), Paperback, 480 pages
Collections:Your library
Rating:*****
Tags:None

Work details

Fire by Kristin Cashore (2009)

  1. 111
    Bitterblue by Kristin Cashore (Anonymous user)
  2. 90
    Alanna: The First Adventure by Tamora Pierce (flemmily)
    flemmily: I would recommend any of Tamora Pierce's books, but Alanna is a great place to start. They're a little more middle-agey than Cashore's works.
  3. 80
    Finnikin of the Rock by Melina Marchetta (OmaRoses)
  4. 30
    Wild Magic by Tamora Pierce (jm501)
  5. 31
    Brightly Woven by Alexandra Bracken (OmaRoses)
  6. 00
    Love Devours: Tales of Monstrous Adoration by Sarah Diemer (sandstone78)
    sandstone78: More monster girls.
  7. 00
    Arrows of the Queen by Mercedes Lackey (SunnySD)
  8. 11
    To Ride Hell's Chasm by Janny Wurts (SunnySD)
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» See also 345 mentions

English (222)  German (1)  All languages (223)
Showing 1-5 of 222 (next | show all)
As far as I can tell, this is a YA fantasy novel about rape culture, and I have no idea how it ever got published, let alone read so widely. It's fascinating, and very well done, though I liked the general environment and tone of the book more than I liked the actual plot with all the political machinations and war and whatnot. ( )
  lexmccall | Sep 3, 2014 |
In the kingdom of the Dells, there are normal creatures, and there are monsters. These monsters are lovely things, rainbow-hued versions of normal animals, but they have a horrifying ability to control the minds of others. Fire is the last human monster. She is determined to be the last, because her father was a true horror, nearly destroying the kingdom with his manipulations of the king. Even now, two years after his death, his legacy lives on in a splintered kingdom that could fall apart at any moment. Fire is not like her father, and she will never have children because she fears the power they could wield. In an attempt to help mend the country, Fire leaves her secluded country home and travels to the king's city. The voyage is perilous, and the city even more so. Fire finds herself caught between the king, who is extremely susceptible to her power, and his brother Brigan, who holds her in distrust because of her father's deeds. Warlords in various parts of the country are threatening attack, and Fire's powers can be useful in spying and interrogation, but she must decide what her limits are, and then hold fast to them even when others disapprove. Into this fraught situation comes a boy, one with strange powers and mismatched eyes. Is he a threat? Fire must find out the truth.

This book is a prequel to Graceling, but stands on its own well enough that I did not feel the need to go back and reread that book either before or after reading Fire. I don't like Fire quite as much as I like Graceling, but I found myself liking it better than I did after this reread. Part of that may be due to a skilled narrator -- I thought the narration in this audiobook was particularly well done -- and part may be due to balanced expectations this time around. The first time, I think I was always wishing for it to be a sequel to Graceling, rather than a companion work. I do think there are some pacing issues, particularly in the second half of the book, and Fire is not as compelling a character as Katsa in my opinion. However, the book's strengths far outweigh those few weaknesses, making it an enjoyable read for fantasy fans. ( )
  foggidawn | Aug 17, 2014 |
Read my full review here.

I was a bit hesitant about Fire, mostly because it isn’t a sequel and I really wanted more Katsa and Po. But Fire is more a prequel than anything, and it revealed a lot about the world of Graceling. Also, the new characters here are just as complex and lovely to read.

Fire is an easy character to be invested in, partly because she’s struggling with how others view her. She struggles against the oppression of her friend and lover, Archer. I was honestly angry with him for trying to control her so much, even though he was trying to protect her from other monsters. So it was such a good thing that she met someone who was protective of her, but who didn’t oppress her. The story is certainly character-driven - since Fire must learn to love and accept herself - but the plot is not flat at all.

That brings us to Brigan. He’s such a compelling character because the fate of the Dells relies heavily upon him and he’s a wonderful father, brother, and romantic partner. I wasn’t sure of him at first, mostly because of the hostility he showed towards Fire, but he grew on me. And they genuinely are equal partners who love each other very much; this sold me on their relationship.

We also learn more about the cruel and psychotic Leck before he is the king who torments everyone, even his family. He is a truly frightening character because even as a child he craved power over others at any cost.

This novel is really such great feminist commentary, and if you’re looking for a book in which the major theme is about treating women with respect, then this is a great option. Cashore exposes the realities that women face through the treatment of female characters, but mostly through one of the side effects of Fire being a monster.

Overall, Fire is a wonderfully written companion (prequel) in the Graceling Realm. The story features strong women dealing with difficult situations, and allows them happiness despite all they’ve been through. It’s also a good fantasy novel, with monsters and graced people making up some of the population. ( )
  CaitlinAC | Aug 10, 2014 |
Fire is set in the same world as Graceling, but in a different place. In the land of Dell there are brightly colored animals, called monsters. They have the ability to bewitch people with their beauty and ensnare people’s minds. Fire is the only human monster, a girl of seventeen with hair the color of living fire. Fire’s father was the adviser to the king and an evil man. Most people hate her because of her father or fear her for her power.

I recommend reading the prologue as an epilogue (or at least after chapter 27) because it really should have been put later in the book. Otherwise it feels like you've read the revelation to a murder mystery and learn how the villain is thwarted first and it spoils the suspense of the book. I imagine it would be a much better book reading it this way.

The love story in Fire is slower to get started than Graceling, yet still felt as though it happened all of a sudden. He hated her, then he spoke to her civilly, now he loves her? The reasoning was explained, (but I would've preferred if she won him over herself.)

Fire was a good character for about the first 70% of the book. She was a tough young woman similar to Katsa, but different enough to still come off as her own person. Then the character I’d been rooting for and liking for the majority of the book turned into a moody, selfish, weakling.


Bad things happened to the girl and I can understand her being sad, but falling into complete despair, and giving up didn't fit her character.
When he finally confesses his love, she’s in a bad mood, so instead of the dramatic kiss I was hoping for, she’s mopy and mean. At that point I was largely reading to find out how their relationship turned out, so it was depressing when this was all I got.
Also, I didn't see the point in her frostbite other than to depress her further and take away her occupation as a musician.


If you’re one of those ‘show’ don’t ‘tell’ people the first two books will annoy you. The author tells a lot and it feels like we’re missing some good stuff that happened. By Bitterblue the author’s figured out how to tell a story, she still tells how time passes, but unlike the first two books the telling flows naturally.

Overall I don’t really recommend the Graceling books. They don’t live up their excellent premise. If you’re curious, I’d say read the first half of Graceling. Literally at 50% on my kindle is when it goes downhill. (Or uphill as they’re climbing a mountain.) Whatever you make up in your head for the rest of the book will be better than what happened in my opinion, though I doubt I could ever read half of a book.

Graceling- 7 Stars (First half 8 stars, second half 6)

Fire- 6 Stars (Same, First half 7 stars, second half 5)

Bitterblue- 6 Stars (whole book consistent) ( )
  mollymortensen | Aug 5, 2014 |
Loved it. I think I enjoyed this more than Graceling, though there are probably many who would disagree with me. I easily connected with Fire, and the love story in this book was done beautifully (maybe my favorite part). Plenty of action and likeable characters. ( )
  Tigerlily12 | Jul 9, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 222 (next | show all)
Cashore is that rare gifted writer who can give a fantasy novel real depth.
 

» Add other authors (6 possible)

Author nameRoleType of authorWork?Status
Kristin Cashoreprimary authorall editionsconfirmed
Elbrick, XantheNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
Elbrick, XantheNarratorsecondary authorsome editionsconfirmed
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Epigraph
Dellian Lament:

"While I was looking the other way your fire went out

Left me with cinders to kick into dust

What a waste of the wonder you were

In my living fire I will keep your scorn and mine

In my living fire I will keep your heartache and mine

At the disgrace of a waste of a life"
Dedication
For my little sister Catherine, the (Corinthian) pillar of my heart
First words
Larch often thought that if it had not been for his newborn son, he never would have survived his wife Mikra's death.
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(Click to show. Warning: May contain spoilers.)
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Haiku summary
Beautiful monster
More feared than loved even by self
Meet your destiny
(Kerian)

No descriptions found.

In a kingdom called the Dells, Fire is the last human-shaped monster, with unimaginable beauty and the ability to control the minds of those around her, but even with these gifts she cannot escape the strife that overcomes her world.

(summary from another edition)

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