From School Library Journal
Starred Review. Grade 9 Up—This fantasy, shot through with romance and suspense, is set in the same world as Graceling (Dial, 2008), but on the far side of the mountain barrier in the kingdom of the Dells. Here there are monsters, enhanced and exceptionally beautiful versions of various animal species. Fire is a human monster, so beautiful that she has to hide her hair for fear of attack by both raptor monsters and human men. She is able to enter other people's minds and exert power over them. It is a tumultuous time in the kingdom, as various lords are preparing to overthrow the king, and Fire is drawn into the fray. With a larger cast and a more complex canvas than Graceling, the story begins slowly and takes its time establishing itself. Fire's path is not immediately clear, and although full of action, her quest is largely internal. While the plotting is well done, there are a few quibbles about Cashore's world-building and about the role of a major character from Graceling, Leck. But, this is Fire's story, and readers will fall in love with her as she struggles with her pivotal role in the war effort as well as her complex relationships with her oldest friend and lover, Archer; with Prince Brigan, whose mind is closed to her and who becomes central to her life; and with her monster father's fearsome legacy. More adult in tone than Graceling, this marvelous prequel will appeal to older teens, who will not only devour it, but will also love talking about it.—Sue Giffard, Ethical Culture Fieldston School, New York City
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"...this marvelous prequel will appeal to older teens, who will not only devour it, but will also love talking about it." --School Library Journal, starred review
See all Editorial Reviews
"Cashore's prose has matured, growing piercing and elegant..." --Horn Book, starred review
"Fresh, hopeful, tragic and glorious." --Kirkus, starred review
"Surpasses Cashore's debut and paves the way for further exploration of a world in which readers will happily immerse themselves." -- Horn Book
"...tension...keeps the pages turning."