Book Review: Fire by Kristin Cashore

fireTitle: Fire
Author: Kristin Cashore
Genre: YA fantasy
Publisher: Dial Books
Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
Source: ARC from author’s publicist
First line: Larch often thought that if it had not been for his newborn son, he never would have survived his wife Mikra’s death.

When I finished Graceling earlier this year, I was disappointed to learn that Cashore’s next book would be a prequel, rather than a sequel continuing Katsa’s story. I have this obsessive thing about reading stories in order. However, I loved the world Kristin Cashore created in Graceling so much that when I was offered an ARC of the prequel, Fire, I happily agreed. I received the book very quickly, and I loved the cover. I put it in my TBR stack and there it sat. And sat. And sat. I read rave reviews, and still it sat. For some reason, I hesitated to pick it up. Would it really be as good as Graceling? Could I get past the fact that it was a (shudder) prequel?

Well, the release date for Fire came and went a couple weeks ago, and I started to feel guilty. After all, I’d had the book for months! So, I picked it up a little over a week ago, and believe me when I say it was only my incredibly busy schedule that kept me from devouring it in a couple of days.

As much as I adored Katsa, I loved the character of Fire even more. Fire is the last remaining human monster in a world where monsters are beautiful and dangerous. Monsters exist in all species, with vibrant colors, vicious appetites, and the ability to force their way into other minds. Fire’s father Cansrel was a human monster; her mother a human. Cansrel took full advantage of his monster abilities and controlled the kingdom through King Nax. But now Cansrel and Nax are dead, Nax’s son Nash is king, and the kingdom is on the verge of war.

Fire lives on her estate near Lord Archer, her best friend and sometime lover. Archer and his father Brocker have known Fire since she was a child. They know how her monster side terrifies her, how hard she works to never take advantage of it, how difficult it is to always have to protect herself from the desire or lust or hatred her beauty and ability provoke.

So far, Fire has never used her ability against a person’s will, but when King Nash and his brother, Prince Brigan, ask her to come to King’s City and use her abilities to help them win the war against the two evil lords waiting to divide the kingdom, she is faced with a decision. Can she use her ability in this way and hold onto her humanity? Or will it turn her into the kind of monster her father was?

Kristin Cashore has the amazing ability to create a completely real and believable world. The vivid colors of the monsters, the gray rockiness of The Dells, the vibrant exuberance of King’s City – I could see it all. She is also able to write strong female characters. Fire is strong, but vulnerable and full of compassion. She is forced to make so many decisions during the course of the book – decisions about her own future, about her relationships, about her ability.

One character from Graceling plays a huge part in Fire‘s story – and fills in his own back story. Apart from that, though, this book is truly its own story set in its own world – a world I completely enjoyed immersing myself in. I stayed up way too late last night finishing it – and was wiping away tears when I turned the last page.

Highly recommended – a truly wonderful read.

(The Amazon link in this post is an affiliate link. If you click on the link and purchase something, I will receive a tiny percentage.)

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27 Responses to Book Review: Fire by Kristin Cashore

  1. Laura @ ImBookingIt
    Twitter: bookingit

    Which book would you recommend reading first, Fire or Graceling? I keep hearing about them!
    .-= Laura @ ImBookingIt´s last blog ..Review: The Financial Lives of the Poets by Jess Walter =-.

    • CarrieK
      Twitter: booksandmovies

      Laura – It is the author’s design that Graceling be read first – and it really works that way best, I think – even though Fire is a prequel.

  2. Sandy
    Twitter: youvegottaread

    I am the same way…my brain twists if I read something out of order. But in some cases, it works. I don’t know about this one, but I found that reading The Angel’s Game, the prequel to Shadow of the Wind, second, was best. Like Laura asked, I’m wondering what you would do now that you’ve read both?
    .-= Sandy´s last blog ..Wordless Wednesday – Zakopane #3 =-.

    • CarrieK
      Twitter: booksandmovies

      Sandy – I do think it would work better to read Graceling first, even though it doesn’t come first chronologically. I got over my prejudice against prequels very quickly. 🙂

  3. Kathy says:

    I think my husband would like this book! Thanks for the review.
    .-= Kathy´s last blog ..Wondrous Words Wednesday =-.

    • CarrieK
      Twitter: booksandmovies

      Kathy – I told my dad he has to read these – he’s a huge fantasy fan.

  4. S. Krishna
    Twitter: skrishna

    I read Graceling, and liked it. I have had the exact same feelings as you did about Fire. Now that I know you loved it, I’ll have to read it.
    .-= S. Krishna´s last blog ..Pendragon’s Banner – Helen Hollick =-.

    • CarrieK
      Twitter: booksandmovies

      Swapna – I really did love Fire – I think it was even better than Graceling. Now I can’t wait for the third book!

  5. Pingback: Kristin Cashore – Fire « Fyrefly's Book Blog

  6. ana says:

    will fire ever be a movie? it’s awesome!

  7. Sandy Y.C. says:

    I read Graceling, and absolutely ADORED it. I’m still questioning if I should read Fire or not.
    Your review really made it seem like it’s good, and I’m having the same problem you had. Will it really be as good as Graceling? I read the proglogue, and a part of the first chapter, and it seems good. Im still a little on the edge though, does anyone have a really “out there” personality in the story?

  8. Spring H says:

    I had loved reading Graceling, but was disappointed to find out that Fire was a prequel. That made it hard for me to read it. Always just wanting to know what happens to Katsa and not having gone back in time. Graceling was a fan-freaking-tastic book, so I was happy when I came across Fire. The details were awesome in Graceling, but in Fire the details seemed to have bogged me down. Everything was in depth explained, and it made it hard for me to read.

  9. Redhead Heroines
    Twitter: redheadheroines

    I LOVED both Fire and Graceling! I think that Cashore shows what an amazing writer she is in both novels, because even subject matter and dialogue that could be trite under any other author’s hand is exquisite in hers. I can’t wait for Bitterblue to come out!
    – Alyssa
    Book Review of “Fire” by Kristin Cashore

  10. Alli says:

    I have a qestion?
    I read graceling and it was the best book
    ever, I don’t know if I should read fire.
    Can any of you tell me which character
    from graceling also plays in fire???
    – tanks Alli

    • CarrieK
      Twitter: booksandmovies

      Alli – Fire happens in a different part of the kingdom and in an earlier time, if I remember correctly and one of the bad guys from Graceling is a kid in Fire.

  11. Alli says:

    Ya but which of the bad gyes??
    Does fire relate to graceling at all??
    So that means none of the other charecters
    will be familiar.

    • CarrieK
      Twitter: booksandmovies

      Alli – I don’t remember the names of the characters because it’s been so long since I read them. The character I’m talking about is the one whose grace enables him to make people do what he wants. I was hesitant to try Fire because it wasn’t a sequel and didn’t have Katsa, but I ended up loving it.

  12. Alli says:

    So are you talking about the king? Didn’t Kasta
    kill him. That’s the only one of that grace I

  13. Alli says:

    Wait. Is this before or after Kasta

  14. Cody says:

    I am almost finished reading fire and I am finding it to be one of the best, if not the best book I have ever read! Unfortunately I didn’t know that this was the second book in the series, and now I am very exited to read graceling as well! Amazing book!

  15. Alli says:

    I so totaly need to read fire. Judging by your
    comments it’s amazing!!!
    If you had a grace, what would you want it to

  16. Cody says:

    Just finished Fire, best book I have ever read. And the grace that I would choose would be either speed or an ability to help the sick.

  17. Alli says:

    The ability I would want is, like the king- get people to do want just by talking. And anyone whosay the exact words that. Say will have the persuasion grace!!

  18. Cody says:

    That would be fun =D

  19. Alli says:

    I so agree!!! Although u don’t choose your grace