Title: Fire (A Companion to GRACELING)
Author: Kristin Cashore
Reading Level: Young Adult
My rating: 4 out of 5 wicked stars
Fire, Graceling's stand-alone prequel-ish companion book, takes place across the mountains to the east of the seven kingdoms, in a rocky, war-torn land called the Dells.
Beautiful creatures called monsters live in the Dells. Monsters have the shape of normal animals: mountain lions, dragonflies, horses, fish. But the hair or scales or feathers of monsters are gorgeously colored-- fuchsia, turquoise, sparkly bronze, iridescent green-- and their minds have the power to control the minds of humans.
Seventeen-year-old Fire is the last remaining human-shaped monster in the Dells. Gorgeously monstrous in body and mind but with a human appreciation of right and wrong, she is hated and mistrusted by just about everyone, and this book is her story.
Wondering what makes it a companion book/prequel? Fire takes place 30-some years before Graceling and has one cross-over character with Graceling, a small boy with strange two-colored eyes who comes from no-one-knows-where, and who has a peculiar ability that Graceling readers will find familiar and disturbing...
You can definitely read Fire without having read Graceling, but you would be missing out as Graceling is a great book. Fire is actually set in a time before Graceling and they share one very important character, a little boy with two different colored eyes that grows up to play a major role in Graceling.
I read Graceling about a month ago and loved it and was excited when my library got Fire in. I have to admit the the start of Fire was kinda slow for me and a little hard to get into. That being said, as I got farther in the book I really got wrapped up the characters.
Fire is girl that was referred to as a "monster" because of her ability to take over people's minds and make them think or do things they normally would not have done. You can see where this would create fear in those around her that did not trust her, especially since she inherited this trait from her father. He was not known as a kind person and would do whatever he needed to do to complete his objective. As hard a person as her father was, he had an odd soft-spot in his heart for Fire, teaching her how to use her gift even to the point of cruelty, if needed.
The journey continues as Fire goes to the king who has requested her presence to aid him with the upcoming war. Here Fire has to consider changing her values in order to protect those that she loves and friends that she has made. Fire is beautifully written book that leaving you looking forward to the 3rd book, Bitterblue, which is currently in the works.