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Fire. by Kristen Cashore

Maybe it was because I had impossibly high hopes, or maybe I devoured this book too quickly, but as I finished the story and sat there with the book on my lap, I had this lingering sense of bewilderment, confusion, and disappointment.

Just a moment. Before I go on plunging into the pros and cons of Fire, I must warn you that I will be making many comparisons to Graceling. It’s only natural, because Fire is the companion book to Graceling. So if you haven’t read the book Graceling please don’t read on, it will be a HUGE spoiler. Read Graceling, and then come back and see why you should or should not read the companion book.

Okay, now that that’s clear, I’ll get into the actual book review. Fire is the main character in this book. It is a few years before the story Graceling occurs. She lives east of Estill in a land called the Dells. The country is on the verge of a civil war, and she has a choice. She can either help, and give into the monstrous power within her, or resist the evil of her mind-reading (communicating and, when necessary, altering) capabilities. That’s basically it. But in the second half of the story, Kristen Cashore managed to smoosh in this weird love story combo. And Leck (the evil dude from the first book) is also there. He seems to really enjoy kidnapping and causing pain to other people. But his character doesn’t actually play a major part in the overall story (relief, because I really hated him, and annoyance; why put him in in the first place?)
It was depressing.
Before you go ranting on me telling me that the story sounds perfectly fine, and I wouldn’t be able to do half as well (of which I will readily admit), let me explain. Her detailing was fantastic. It was superbly done, with many sudden surprises and bursts of interesting information that kept me on the edge of my seat throughout the entire thing. The way she conveyed the information was also quite amusing in that it was stated in a blunt and abrupt manner. However, much of the details were overkill, having nothing to do with the actual story. I could’ve gone the entire story without knowing a third of the details included in the book, and still be perfectly fine. But by the end, the story seemed to have taken an entire loop on a completely different train track before coming back to the original idea.
Now for my complaints on the characters. They were all okay, all as realistic as fantastical characters can get, each with a unique background and personality. But throughout the entire book there seemed to be an excess of sleeping with other people that were not their own spouses, and an excess of surprising information that left you feeling like you didn’t actually know any of the characters. Sure, in Graceling there were several surprises, but most were in the beginning of the book and it was important to the actual story. In Fire every back-up character seemed to have a mysterious background. And though it is rude, one can’t help but compare the ferocious Katsa to the beautiful Fire. I’ve got to say, looking back; I like Katsa way better than Fire (though I probably wouldn’t get along with her in real life. Thus the ironic hypocrisy of human nature. Or is it just me?). Katsa is strong, independent, and capable. Fire can’t really do much that wasn’t given to her through genetics. And Po… you really can’t compare the male main characters in Fire to the cocky but sensitive and understanding Po. Just can’t.
Fire was an okay book, and I would recommend that you read it if you read Graceling, simply to get rid of the nagging feeling that you left the story unfinished. But Cashore needs to keep in mind that the thing that separates a story from a documentary is that as an author, you can choose what to include and what to keep out.
3.5 out of 5 stars.




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CrystalAngelDolThis teenager is a 'regular' and has contributed a lot of work, comments and/or forum posts, and has received many votes and high ratings over a long period of time. said...
Dec. 17, 2012 at 6:24 pm:
i actually liked both of them equally, both of them were a page turner but everybody is entitled to their own opinion
 
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