Fire by Kristen Cashore
The Skinny: In the Dells, war is inevitable. The young King Nash is struggling to hold onto his throne and keep warlords from invading. The hills are filled with spies and thieves, and monster beasts roam the lands. Fire is one of these monsters, the last human monster. She is called by the king to use her powers, powers of mind reading and control, to help discover traitors and secrets. But Fire has always tried to deny her powers, scared she might become as dangerous as her father was, scared that she might bring about similar destruction to her world.
BFF?: While I didn’t really want to be friends with Katsa from Graceling, I would LOOOOVVVVEEE to be friends with Fire! I loved who she was, how she was insecure with some parts of herself while totally secure with other parts. She was scared to let one part of herself go and struggled with that part. I think we can all relate to this in some form or fashion, and I think that’s what I was so drawn to, the fact that Fire was relateable (seriously, this is a word? it keeps getting red “you spelled this wrong” squigglies under it). She also had awesomepants red hair, could read minds, and had a hot friend named Archer. We totally would have hit it off.
Readability: While Graceling started out by dragging its feet (for me, I’ve heard otherwise) I jumped right into Fire and hated every second I had to put it down. The story flowed, giving enough action and dialogue so that it didn’t seem like reading facts. The plot was thick, but not too thick that you couldn’t breath and became overwhelmed. Sometimes with fantasy I get a little lost with the different names and places; Fire seemed to present everything in an easily understood fashion without boggling my mind with words – and yes, I realize how simpleton that sounds.
Crush Level: Bazam! Or, 9 and 8
There were two crushes for me in this book, Archer and Brigan. Lemme start with Archer because I totally was into him and am giving him a 9. I know, I know… he’s a total playboy and sleeps around. Whatever. He’s hot. And it’s just a crush. Not like I’m gonna go and marry the guy, amiright? But then Brigan… Brigan gets an 8, not because he was less hot than Archer, but because there wasn’t enough of him to suit my girlish needs. I mean, once he was in the picture clearly there was no contest between him and Archer. But I did need some more hot Brigan action… maybe if he didn’t keep running off to war and had stayed and played some more he might have met or even surpassed Archer’s 9.
This may be the first time that a character gets to be a bonus point. I’m sure it’s just her monster blood that’s making me so into this character, but Fire in herself made this book all the more awesome for me. AND the entire time I might have been picturing her as Brave, from that new Disney movie.
I know they’re supposed to be scary or whatever, but I thought the monster versions of ordinary animals was such a fun aspect and loved imagining what the monster versions looked like.
Feminist Sexy Times
I’m not all for cavalierness when it comes to sex, but I loved that Fire understood the difference between sex and love, as well as understood her primal need for sex and didn’t let it cloud her judgement when it came to love. While I’m a firm believer that these two things SHOULD go hand in hand, I’m realistic enough to know that they don’t always. Fire is a girl who knows what she wants between the sheets and developed enough to understand when it’s gone too far.
Commencement Speech: When I finished reading Fire I literally laid in my bed hugging the book to my chest for a full minute. I was expecting to enjoy it as much as I did Graceling. I was expecting there to be a great main character. I was expecting a sexy love interest and major sexy times. All those expectations though? BLOWN OUT OF THE FREAKING WATER! Unlike in Graceling I was already pulled into this world and was ready to hit the ground running. I was worried that I would have a hard time adjusting to new characters, but the characters in Fire were so full of life and developed that I was like Katsa-who? (not really, I still heart Katsa)
What struck me as kind of fantastic was the forward-thinking world in which Fire lived. I thought it was amazing that there were not only women in the army, but they were well-respected. This added so much depth to an already deep plot by allowing all “traditional” gender roles to be thrown out the window. I thought all the female characters were such strong characters, regardless of their actions, and showed a different side of being female through their reactions to varying situations. Overall, this is a great female-forward-fantasy novel, with lots of action and heart, that left me stunned, breathless, and amazed.
Yearbook Quote: “Living is too hard right now. Dying is easy. Let me die.”
Superlatives – Most likely to light a fire inside you
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