Fire (Graceling Realm #2) by Kristin Cashore
Fantasy is a genre that I particularly enjoy but there is a certain beauty to high or epic fantasy that I find much more compelling. Whether its the realms with their kings and queens and political intrigue or the historical eras with the long horse-ridden journeys or even the magical qualities that the land, creatures and people are blessed with. Kristin Cashore has mastered the rare skill of perfecting a incredible world coupled with beautiful characters in one of the best high fantasy I had read this year - topped only by the previous book in the series, Graceling.
Fire is a monster. Intoxicatingly and perfectly beautiful, ordinary people are struck dumb on their first appearance, rendered speechless, incapable, and more often than not, unwillingly in love with her. Most people – mainly jealous women and embarrassed men – despise her for this unnatural beauty, including Fire herself. For coupled with her mind-reading and mind-control powers Fire is a freak of nature and at war with herself in regards to the usage of these powers. In Fire, we see her struggle with her “gifts” and debate their appropriate use – is using her powers for seemingly “good” reasons, okay? Or is it still wrong?
I read this with a bunch of my fellow GR friends and most of them found Fire to be tediously slow paced and a tad uneventful. Unfortunately, even though I quite enjoyed this book, I must agree with the latter.
What I loved most about the second instalment in the Graceling Realm series, was the characters. Katsa and Po in Graceling were the most beautiful characters. I admired their strength, bravery, courage, and though I can see how some readers may be iffy towards Katsa’s attitude towards marriage and feminism, I manage to disregard that. Fire is not Katsa by any shape or form so if that is the only reason you plan on reading Fire, I would not bother. Katsa was kickass, strong and a fighter. Fire is more relatable, she’s real, strong in a different way but she cries, breaks down and complains about the unjustness of her life. This doesn’t make her unbearable though, in fact it made her more of a relatable, beautiful, real character and I loved her for it.
The rest of the characters all had an important part to contribute to the plot and were really just lovely and beautiful and I cannot seem to find the words to describe them. Archer. Brigan. Nash. Hanna. Roen. Clara. Garan. Brocker. Perfect. Perfect. Perfect!
|X-men, Michael Fassbender... I couldn't help|
I just want to note that this book is a prequel to Graceling. It is based in the same realm and contains a few cross-over characters, but is mostly a separate novel. It may be read as a standalone but I would recommend reading Graceling first. It will give this some extra information that will be beneficial when reading.