Wednesday, January 13, 2010

Fire, the monster you can't help but love.

Billed as the companion book or the prequel to Graceling, Kristin Cashore's second novel was a bit of a surprise. Although the devious King Leck makes an appearence as a peripheral story line, this book takes place in a land adjacent but inaccessible from the lands Katsa knows and travels. So in otherwords a whole new world, the Dells. Nothing is the same here, and this story has nothing to do with Gracelings outside of Leck's small story.

Oh but what a world! Filled with monsters, evil predators who have unsurpassing beauty, who can compell people with that beauty. Glistening turquoise tigers, firey orange raptors and even monster bugs and kittens (see now I want one!), all of them so beautiful most people can't resist them despite their fearsome natures. And one human Monster, Fire.

Indescribably beautiful, with the ability to control the minds of the humans around her, Fire is the only child of the only other human monster Cansrel. Cansrel has left her a fearfull legacy of terror and destruction and Fire, although as powerful as him, fights a personal battle to be as unlike him as possible. Add to that the fact that her beauty makes people both violent as well as ridiculously amorous against their control and you quickly realise her life is not one to envy.

But this is a time of War in the Dells, and Fire will be called upon to play her part. She must decide if she can overcome her fear of her powers and help the realm or go back to her home to hide her existence from the world as she has done for her 17 years of life so far.

This is one of those stories with a million story threads all intertwining to make the whole; and I like that Kristin Cashore delves into something more complicated for her second novel. The cast of charecters is considerable, and they're all very interesting in their own right, which is impressive when your main charecter is a monster who's looks alone whip people into a frenzy. I have to say I read this book during my flight back from saskatoon (so a three and half hour commitment) and found it pretty engrossing, but once I was about 1/3 into it I was starting to find it hard to put down. It's fast paced and full of surprises and twists; but most of all you'll love Fire, a compelling and complex charecter who can't help but win you over with her determination to be a better person then she was meant to be.

Fire, by Kristin Cashore.
Published by Dial Books Young Readers, October 2009.

For more reviews of this book, see:
Persnickety Snark
Books By Their Cover

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