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Fire (A Companion to Graceling) by Kristin…

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

by Kristin Cashore

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2,9552191,943 (4.13)342
Title:Fire (A Companion to Graceling)
Authors:Kristin Cashore
Info:Firebird (2011), Paperback, 480 pages
Collections:Your library

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Fire by Kristin Cashore (2009)

2009 (24) 2010 (22) 2012 (16) adventure (77) ARC (22) audiobook (15) ebook (22) fantasy (578) favorites (16) fiction (171) friendship (15) Graceling (36) heroine (16) kristin cashore (16) love (22) magic (67) mind control (46) monsters (66) read (34) read in 2009 (18) romance (131) series (64) sff (17) teen (32) telepathy (15) to-read (61) war (62) YA (182) young adult (211) young adult fiction (28)
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    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.
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» See also 342 mentions

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Showing 1-5 of 218 (next | show all)
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 |
Although written second, Fire is actually a prequel to Graceling with only one character in common between the two books. Like Graceling, Fire is the story of a young woman coming to terms with her own power, in this case the power to control the minds of others. Known as “monsters” people with such powers are feared more than respected and Fire (our protagonist) has to decide whether she is willing to use her powers to help prevent the overthrow of the king by rebel lords.

Read more here... ( )
  DoingDewey | Jun 29, 2014 |
I found this book to be quite good up until the scenes where they went to war. They dealt well with how someone deals with being different (although, I'm sorry... I didn't feel as "sorry" as I should have for how gorgeous she was.) I enjoyed the bits with the royal family, and the Prince's child. I didn't really understand the need to have everyone be inter-related, but.. whatever.

Anyway, then we get to the bit where I had a mental disconnect with the military strategy to such a point to wonder how the author came up with this strategy--- did she overlook this plot hole? Or deliberately choose not to see it? Either way, if this was a real battle with real loss of life it should have been completely unacceptable and the logic really bothered me.

So, since this is a major spoiler--consider yourself warned before if you choose to continue reading. If you read it, it's on you. I've done my due diligence. Don't complain if you keep reading.

Fire is this incredible "monster" who while, even being called a "monster" just happens to be incredibly beautiful and is so psychically powerful she can read and control all the minds of every person who is inside an entire castle. They make this point during the scenes where she is assisting with the plot to assassinate the two people who came to assassinate the princes on her side at the "gala".

Ok... now, fast forward to the "war." The wonderful use they find for this "weapon" they have in Fire is... to have her work in the infirmary and take pain away from the sick and dying, and to pull the dying back from the brink of death... she is this powerful.

So.. why the living hell don't they just take her to the actual battlefield, have her use her mind to tell the other side "Dudes, you don't want to fight. Fighting is bad, boring. You want to put down your swords. Turn around and walk away." Or, even just sit down and have the next guy tie you up.

Seriously? They wait till everyone gets sliced and diced, and THEN she can help them? I understand this is more dramatic, but it doesn't make any sense considering how strong the author has purported this woman to be. If she is on the battlefield, and there is a threat, she should sense it. and if not, she could save them all. And if they don't use her for that, it's just bad tactics.

So, I may just not finish this series. The common sense error here just really annoyed me a LOT. Have to decide if I can continue or not.

Clare ( )
  Clare_M | May 25, 2014 |
Note: Though this is book two in the Graceling Realm series, it isn't the sequel to book one, Graceling. Instead, it is a companion to book three, Bitterblue, which is the sequel to the first book in the series.

Goodreads Blurb:
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.

A story of learning to accept yourself, and learning to love yourself as you love others. A tale filled with lessons of self-forgiveness and forgiveness for others. Fire grew up fairly isolated, only child of the last male human monster; for a time the two were the only human monsters in existence, all others having been hunted to the very brink of extinction. Many were killed because they were dangerous, and the rest simply because they were feared.

Yet before we meet Fire and learn her story, which is also a story of the Dells and its rainbow colored monsters, we learn a previously unknown story; the story of who the boy was that eventually became the murderous King Leck. His story began in a fairly remote region of Monsea. When Immiker was born his father, Larch, loved him dearly even though his beloved wife had died in childbirth, for his son had his wife's deep brown eyes, and was such a calm, quiet baby. However the hired nurse was not nearly as fond of the child, for he developed far, far to quickly. He was speaking in complete sentences will still nursing, able to let those around him know if he was hungry, or had soiled his cloth and needed a fresh one. It unnerved the woman, and she watched anxiously to see if his eyes would change, or if they would settle ay the brown. For a time it seemed that he could not be a Graceling, for his eyes didn't change. But it was simply that this was the one thing that was late in developing on him, for one day he awoke and had one gray eye, and the other was red.

Immiker immediately told his father that he could not give him over to the King, but had to protect him instead. Larch started to say that they couldn't afford the fine, or the risk, but Immiker spoke again and suddenly Larch was frantically packing for them. Having been a forest ranger for the King, Immiker's father knew what they needed to stay alive in the wilderness. However eventually they climbed too high and fell through a crack in the mountain. It was all Larch could do to remember to protect Immiker when they finally landed. But Larch had been grievously wounded, and had it not been for his son, a toddler now, they'd have died in that mountain. But young Immiker roused his father, telling him they were in some sort of tunnel, but he didn't know which way to go. The only thing keeping his father moving were Immiker's verbal commands. And thus they made their way to the Dells.

Immiker's father had moments of semi-lucidity, and after several years he told him he thought he'd figured out his Grace. This was when he noticed that his son was torturing a monster rabbit - the same as a regular rabbit but with turquoise fur, as monsters could have fur/hair any color of the rainbow. Immiker told him it didn't hurt the rabbit at all, which confused poor Larch again, but then the poor rabbit made an almost inhuman noise filled with pain and terror and Larch was able to say that he thought his son's Grace was to influence people with his voice. Immiker's response was very telling of the man he'd eventually grow into. It was about this time that the boy decided to take a new name, shedding any and all sentimental holds for his past. He chose Leck, for that was the closest the people in the Dells even got to pronouncing Immiker.

We leave the Leck for a time and meet the exquisite Fire, named for her glorious mane of hair, which held every shade of red, gold, orange, and pink. Other than her coloring, incomparable beauty, and the ability to mentally manipulate most people, she was the same as her counterpart, in her case a regular human. For monsters used their stunning beauty and mental powers to ensnare their victims. And for some reason monster predators desired human monsters over any other prey, to the point where they would abandon much easier prey for a chance at a human monster.

Fire's father Cansrel was the worst example of a human monster, for he delighted in excess and in his power over others. He always killed any of his human sexual partners if he learned they were pregnant, but somehow he missed Fire's mother. When he heard of her birth he went to see her with the intention of killing her, but after one look at her he was overwhelmingly in love. Or as in love as he was capable of being. Cansrel was friends with the King of the Dells and got King Nax into all sorts of trouble, driving the country toward destruction, which of course entertained him to no end. He was utterly fearless, and with the exception of Fire, had no conscience.

King Nax died, and his young son Nash became King of the foundering country. Cansrel fell into depression, but when he wasn't sunk into his depression he focused on plans to have the new King's younger brother, Brigandell, killed. Ultimately he failed and died of suicide, right in front of Fire.

But while Fire was a monster, with all the same inhuman beauty, she was the opposite of her father. She hated what he did, and would only ever used her mental powers to protect herself, or on occasion to bring her father a sensation of peace and contentment. Fire was the only being Cansrel ever trusted enough to allow into his mind. Yet he was he father, and some small part of her loved him - the good version of him, which she only very rarely glimpsed, making those memories both that much more precious and that much confusing. For what did it say about her if she could love such a horrible person?

Mostly Fire was raised by King Nax's former military strategist, Lord Brocker. Brocker treated her as a daughter, and raised her with his son Lord Archer. Although Archer was about 12 years older than Fire, he was her only young friend, and subsequently taught her all kinds of skills. They were unusual skills, such as hunting, fighting, and woodcraft - not exactly the kind of skill a young lady should be learning. But they suited Fire just fine. Shortly after the death of her father their relationship became physical. However it was an open relationship; Fire never felt the need to explore the "open" aspect, whereas Archer seemed to feel the need to sleep with any pretty, and willing, female.

With the country on the brink of war, two different lords at far ends of the country both plotting to overthrow the King, the head of the army, Prince Brigand, went to Fire to ask that she travel to King City to help interrogate a prisoner. She reluctantly agrees, and while in the city finds herself mentally overwhelmed by all the noise - both inside and outside her head. Eventually, with great trepidation, Fire helps with all the interrogations, for she is loyal to the crown. But she is terrified of becoming her father, and on top of that she's constantly having to prove her loyalty to everyone. It is overwhelming.

Prior to traveling to the City several poachers had been caught on a Lord Brocker's land, and she'd been shot by at least one. But she can't ever figure out who is behind sending them, for they all have the same mental 'fog'. So in addition to helping with interrogations she is trying to find the source of the 'foggy' minds she encounters in the City. She finally pinpoints the source as a young boy with two differently colored eyes - one gray and one red. The fact that he is traveling with Cutter, a friend of her deceased father who is a black market trader in mostly monsters, is disturbing. She tells the royal family to get rid of them, and by the time she puts the pieces together they are long gone.

Fire undergoes several more trials, each one tempering her a bit more. She is forced to grow up, to forgive herself for what she isn't responsible for, can't change, or did for the right reasons. As well she must learn to be open to love, the real kind, which means risking obsession by those who are overwhelmed by her beauty and calling it love. Nor is she alone in having lessons to learn. Almost all the main characters have lessons to learn, or are used as a lesson for someone(s) to learn. This is an intriguing book with many twists and turns, and you never quite know where things are going to end up. The only given is change, something Fire is not alone in finally learning to accept, and eventually embrace.

For all that this is book two in the Graceling Realm series, and a companion book to book three (which is actually the sequel to book one - confusing, I know!), it doesn't feel as well placed as it could. I'm not sure how to fix the problem, I just sense one. This book could easily be a stand-alone book, although it does contain important information for the sequel. I almost wonder if the sequel couldn't have gone ahead of this book in reading order, and had the answers explained later, once the readers got theirs hands on this, as book three? I guess we'll never know, and it shall forever remain as one of those infinitesimal questions that plague me in the middle of the night. ( )
  Isisunit | May 20, 2014 |
Love this book! I think it was better than the first, Graceling. After having read some of the other reviews of this book, I am left feeling like we did not even read the same book.

Some complained about periods, rape, incest, illegitimate children, sex outside of marriage like those things don't happen in today's society quite often & that the young readers this series is aimed at wouldn't normally be exposed to them. Really? First, those things weren't even a large part of the story, if you think they are, you've missed the point! Second, I felt this book spoke about & dealt with those "unpleasant" issues in a clear, precise, adult like way that made them less shameful. This is how young adults should be told & communicated with, particularly when those issues can be a powder keg of guilt & shame to the adult doing the talking.

Which just highlights two of the important themes in this book & ones that I really liked. One, that we don't have to be ashamed of what we are or what made us who we are, we just are & there is joy & value in that. Love the quote, "..your unnatural beauty is natural. Nature is horrifying." Two, that women are in charge of their own sexuality. They are empowered to love who they want, refuse who they don't want, be proactive in using birth control or debating whether to be sterilized & never have children, or raise those children on their own. I think the most valuable lesson here is that women are in charge of their own sexuality regardless of what may have happened in the past, it does not negate their autonomy now.

But the thing I loved most about this book? The slow (read whole book) build up of the romance between the two characters. They truly took their time getting to know each other, building a friendship, & then start to explore a possible romance. And in that time both characters change, grow, & learn more about themselves, thus making the final step all that much sweeter. This strikes me as so much more realistic & healthy than other y-a & romance type stories where the h/H fall into immediately lust, have sex quickly, & then are declaring their undying love all within days of meeting each other. In this book their relationships develops over months & almost a whole year. For a y-a book this seems a much more healthy & responsible way to show how to build a successful marriage & relationship. And it allowed me, the reader, to fall in love right along with them. ( )
  CMBlaker | May 6, 2014 |
Showing 1-5 of 218 (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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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"
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.
Last words
(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

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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