Monday, December 26, 2011
Appetizer: After her father's death, Fire is the only human monster left in the Dells. She hates to look at herself in a mirror, for fear of being shocked by her own striking appearance. Wherever she goes, everyone looks upon her with some combination of lust or jealousy. Guards must follow her everywhere to protect her from people who would attack her out of lust or out of anger.
After she is shot by an archer who is motivated by neither of these feelings, Fire and her allies begin to suspect there is some conspiracy at work in the kingdom.
The beginning of Fire reminded me a little too much of the start of Graceling, the companion novel: Both protagonists are ostracized--granted, Katsa is an outsider due to everyone fearing her, as opposed to being stunningly beautiful--and both have friends who are in love with them who the girls must refuse to marry.
But despite these parallels and Cashore's consistent commitment to writing strong female characters who must spend lengthy amounts of time traveling within the fantasy world she has created, Fire is very different from Graceling in that Fire (the character) spends much more time dealing with the power dynamics of the court. I really liked her romantic relationship with a certain prince and military commander.
I did find that Fire wasn't a book a book that gripped my attention and refused to let me go. Rather, there were a lot of points in the book when time just passed and Fire sat around...not...doing much. Meh.
I also think this book complimented Graceling well in terms of creating two different worlds that are connected and can also be compared.
A third companion novel is coming out within the next few months: Bitterblue. Despite it being named for a familiar character from Graceling, I look forward to seeing how it is placed within Cashore's expanding world.
"It did not surprise Fire that the man in the forest shot her. What surprised her was that he shot her by accident" (p.19).
"Her nightmares were always worse on days when she'd spent time down among the cages, for that was where her father had died.
Cansrel, her beautiful monster father. Monsters in the Dells came from monsters. A monster could breed with a non-monster of its species--her mother had not been a monster--but the progeny was always monstrous." (p. 28)
"This was something Fire knew about herself: Her mind made mistakes sometimes, but the real traitor was her body" (p. 78).
Tasty Rating: !!!