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Fire (The Seven Kingdoms #2)
by Kristin Cashore
461 pages
Published September 24th 2009 
Buy at Amazon

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 has 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.

Review

Kristin Cashore is absolutely brilliant and my new favourite author.

In Fire, we meet whole new cast of characters (excluding Leck, that is, which is where the ties to Graceling comes in), just as lovely as the first- I know before I said I was disappointed, but that was before I met them! I think this time around, I felt a bigger connection to the characters than I did in Graceling.
Especially Fire and her struggle against what she is. She has problems with her beauty, constantly has to cover her hair in order to fend off men, women, and monsters- think of a moth and a candle it’ll get so close it’ll kill itself because it’s attracted to the light. Her period also puts her in danger, from what I understood, it was the scent of her blood that drove monsters wild, not totally with desire, but because she was monster prey. Her journey is full of heartache and she really pulled my heart strings. I like how fearless she is, even when faced with something dire, she kept pushing.

Archer, Fires friend (and lover at times), was one I really liked up until he got the dreaded jealous lover syndrome. Otherwise, I liked his hothead and how cocky he could be. Really, I pretty much liked every character, the bad guys, the royal family (our grey eyed prince, Brigan), the guards, I can’t find a lot of fault in them.

Personally, I think Fire was even better than Graceling. The story itself is enough to make you keep reading. I teared up a bunch of times, because there are times that are just so heartbreaking and it was all I could do but sniff. Not that the story is incredibly sad and dreary, most of the time it’s fast paced and you’re glued to your seat just begging to find out what’s next. You get a lot of questions by the time the book has ended, but you’re left with even more questions that have been answered.
What I really liked though was the monsters throughout the story. Monster leopards, monster cats, monster mice, monster raptors, all with different colours. Reds, golds, greens, just weird looking monster animals. I loved reading about them and I think having Fire as a monster made me even more fascinated.

I want to comment on the debate of sexuality in Fire. For some reason, it’s getting people riled up. The writing alludes to sex, and gives no descriptions, but it seems that a casual attitude for sex is just unforgivable. Fire stated she does not want children, therefore she takes a medicine after having sex to stop pregnancy from happening- a birth control. If Fire has a casual attitude toward sex, I don’t see it. She was having a relationship with her best friend -a person she loved-, a relationship that gradually became more. If having sex with one person counts as casual sex, then off with their heads and everyone elses who has had sex at seventeen!
While, yes, people are having sex, getting pregnant without meaning to, producing illegitimate children, but doesn’t this happen in real life? Don’t people cheat in real life?

Again, Fire is better than Graceling, just as good, but it surpasses it when it comes to the characters. If you loved Graceling, you’ll love Fire even more.

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