Fire by Kristin Cashore

(Cover picture courtesy of Goodreads.)

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

This is where Fire lives, a girl whose startling appearance is impossibly irresistible and who can control the minds of everyone around her.

Everyone…except Prince Brigan.

Fire is sort of a prequel to Graceling, but it does not connect the two novels until the end.  If you read Fire before reading Graceling, you won’t miss a thing, which is the beauty of Kristin Cashore’s series.

As I said in my review of Graceling, Kristin Cashore has a wonderful way with world-building.  Aspiring writers of all types (and some professionally published authors) need to reader her work and take notes on it because her fantasy world sits on a pedestal in YA fiction.  The Dells, where the main character Fire lives, is an alien world full of both light and darkness, with strange monsters that are unlike any I’ve seen before.  I would read this book for the world-building alone.

But the world-building is certainly not the only reason to read this novel; the character development is right up there.  Fire is a strong protagonist in the beginning, yet she still changes for the better by the end of the novel in a wonderful character arc.  Her romance with Prince Brigan is unforced and develops slowly, making it all the more authentic.  Fire is probably one of my favourite protagonists in the entire YA genre.

The plot of Fire twists and turns, throwing new and unexpected hurdles at the characters.  It starts out slow, but the tension slowly ratchets up as Fire’s love for Prince Brigan grows.  By the climax, you will be unable to put this book down.

I give this book 5/5 stars.

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