- Age Range: 12 and up
- Grade Level: 7 - 12
- Lexile Measure: 0870 (What's this?)
- Paperback: 528 pages
- Publisher: Firebird (January 25, 2011)
- Language: English
- ISBN-10: 9780142415917
- ISBN-13: 978-0142415917
- ASIN: 014241591X
- Product Dimensions: 5.5 x 1.3 x 8.2 inches
- Shipping Weight: 1.1 pounds (View shipping rates and policies)
- Average Customer Review: 721 customer reviews
- Amazon Best Sellers Rank: #22,180 in Books (See Top 100 in Books)
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Fire (A Companion to Graceling) Paperback – January 25, 2011
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Praise for Fire
A New York Times bestseller
YALSA, Best Fiction for Young Adults
Amelia Elizabeth Walden Book Award Winner
A Washington Post Best Book of the Year
An Amazon Best Book of the Year
A Kirkus Reviews Best Book of the Year
A Booklist Best Book of the Year
A School Library Journal Best Book of the Year
A Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year
"Cashore is wonderful, tough and nuanced—everything you could want from a writer." —Junot Díaz, author of The Brief Wonderous Life of Oscar Wao
“There are some books that stick with you for years, and Kristen Cashore’s Fire is one of them. Thoughtful, steamy and completely original, Fire is YA fantasy at its absolute best.”—Sabaa Tahir, author of New York Times bestselling Ember in the Ashes
* "There aren't enough words to describe how awesome this book is." —Top Pick, Romantic Times, starred review
* "Piercing and elegant." —The Horn Book, starred review
* "Fresh, hopeful, tragic and glorious." —Kirkus Reviews, starred review
* "Shot through with romance and suspense. . .This is Fire's story, and readers will fall in love with her. . .Marvelous." —SLJ, starred review
* "Absorbing." —Publishers Weekly, starred review
"Elegantly written. . .blazes with the questions of young adulthood. . .Compelling." —Washington Post
"Breathtaking. . .Cashore is that rare gifted writer who can give a fantasy novel real depth." —Los Angeles Times
"As a fantasy writer, Cashore sets herself apart with a passionate descriptive style." —New York Times Book Review
* "Readers can enjoy this novel without having read Graceling. And enjoy it they will, with its vivid characters, convincing fantasy elements, gripping adventure scenes, and memorable love story." —Booklist, starred review
About the Author
Kristin Cashore grew up in the northeast Pennsylvania countryside as the second of four daughters. She received a bachelor's degree from Williams College and a master's from the Center for the Study of Children's Literature at Simmons College, and she has worked as a dog runner, a packer in a candy factory, an editorial assistant, a legal assistant, and a freelance writer. She has lived in many places (including Sydney, New York City, Boston, London, Austin, and Jacksonville, Florida), and she currently lives in the Boston area. Her epic fantasy novels set in the Graceling Realm--Graceling, Fire, and Bitterblue--have won many awards and much high praise, including picks as ALA Best Books for Young Adults, School Library Journal Best Book of the Year, Booklist Editors Choice, and Publishers Weekly Best Book of the Year. In addition, Graceling was shortlisted for the William C. Morris Debut Award and Fire is an Amelia Elizabeth Walden Book Award Winner.
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FIRE was the spectacular companion to the highly praised and wonderfully crafted GRACELING, book one in the Graceling Realm Series.
I fell in love with Graceling a couple years ago when I first started reading YA. I stumbled upon it looking for something with fierce action and bad ass characters. And GRACELING sounded just like the book I was looking for. And it was, it was EPICALLY wonderful in so many ways. But I was still skeptical to read FIRE. I'm not a huge fan of companion novels, for some reason I just have trouble reading them because I miss the original characters set in the same world. But I'm happy to say that was not the case with FIRE.
Set in a different kingdom then GRACELING, and kinda in a different world, but not, (I know that makes no sense, you have to read it to understand what I'm talking about) FIRE quickly set this world on fire with it's political intrigue and fast approaching war. With a stunningly gifted mind reading main character, that can captivate and stupidfy men with just one look, FIRE was a breath of fresh air that did not disappoint!
The main character Fire had a complexity about her that was intriguing and different then my normal characters. I enjoyed her beauty and womanly power to entrance men and control their minds. But with only a limited power to work with, Fire had to use strategy and endurance to complete her missions. But consumed with guilt over her wicked fathers misuse of his mind reading powers, Fire dwelled on the pain and suffering he inflicted on people. She was a strong character, and was blessed to have genuine people who cared about her regardless of the monster inside! She was also handy with a bow, and could hold her own in a fight!
The world-building was fantastic! The Dells is in a different world then Graceling though. The way it's explained in the book is that if you were in the Graceling kingdoms, and fell off a cliff, then you would land yourself in the Dells kingdom. The two realms don't even know the other exist. So that's why it was confusing when I said it was in the same world, yet it's wasn't. But the dells have no gracelings with two different eyes and special powers. But they do have colorful monsters, including the last remaining human-monster Fire. The monsters range from humans monsters, to huge hungry monsters, to little monster bugs. They have mind powers too. I thought that was a different and interesting concept. Plus you add in civil war and tons of political intrigue, with a slow burning romance that's sweet and gentle, with a underlying plot that could tips that tides of war, and your have a pretty amazing book!
One issue I had trouble with was the slow pacing and lack of a smooth flowing plot. The book was fabulous, but the pace of the novel was sometime distressing and hard-enduring. Their wasn't enough action for my taste, and the plot dragged with the slow pace and lack of action. Their was some adventure, but not much of that either, which was another let down. I guess you could say my love for FIRE mainly came from the political intrigue, war thriving, paranormal, and mind-controlling aspects of the novel. Which was enough to win me over, but not entirely!
In a remote part of the forest, Fire lives secluded from the rest of the world. She hopes by shielding everyone from her vicious power, that she will be keeping them safe from her mind-control that tends to invade and conquer minds. The same wicked power that her evil father wielded and ruined many innocent lives in the process. But Fire refuses to succumb to her fathers evil ways, and is determined not to become the monster he was. But when civil war threatens the royal family, and all she holds dear, Fire must make a decision that will change not only the kingdom, but herself, and all the promises she's kept threaten to become unraveled...
Seeking answers to recent attacks on their home, Fire and her best friend and "sometime lover" Lord Archer travel to King City, and find that the kingdom is in more turmoil then they once thought. With little hope of winning this war, the royal family seeks Fire's help with besting their two rival enemies before all is lost. But if Fire is to help win this war, she must first sacrifice her morals and become the true monster she's always been terrified of becoming... her father...
FIRE had some flaws but not enough to defer my love for these characters and book. I'm saddened that these characters are done playing they're part in this series, and we won't see them anymore. But hey, it was fun while it lasted. I'm looking forward to reading BITTERBLUE, book three, the last companion novel in this series and seeing how it ties into book one, and what secrets it will reveal! If it's anything like book one or two, then I know it's going to be pretty epic too!
Overall, I had my ups and downs with FIRE, but ultimately enjoyed most of it, and thought it tied nicely into this series with one of the same delicious villains from book one. Even with it's flaws, I was able to push past them and enjoy this book and all the fun political intrigue and devious plotting. So if you enjoy a good fantasy novel with a paranormal twist, and a slow burning romance, then definitely give this series a shot!
While Graceling was about the seven kingdoms, Fire is set 35 years before Graceling in a kingdom called the Dells to the West of the seven kingdoms. The two areas are separated from a great range of mountains that leads to two very different lands and two very exciting stories. In the Dells, there are no Gracelings, but there are monsters. Monsters are a telepathic, beautiful version of any kind of animal or human. Their most distinctive features include brilliant, unnatural colorings, and a vicious craving for other monster flesh. Many households keep monster cats in shades of brilliant greens and blues that hunt monster mice is bright golds and shocking reds and pinks. Monster raptors are the biggest danger, as they don't just stick to the forests like the monster leopards and monster bears. They hunt everywhere and can pick a grown man right off his horse.
Fire is the last of the monster humans. Her father, Cansrel, was a man who exploited his ability to explore and alter people's minds. In fact, he nearly ruined the kingdom of Dell before his untimely demise by controlling former King Nax and sending him down a cruel and drug induced path. While Fire loved her father, and knew she was the only person he ever loved, she was also well aware of his cruelty and the horrors he caused amongst the Dells. Now Fire lives with her former neighbor, Brocker, and his son Archer. Brocker raised her and taught Fire to only use her gift to protect herself- never as a weapon or a tool for pleasure or control.
The Dells is in danger, however, from two militias that want the kingdom for themselves. These militias, led by Mydogg and Gentian, are threatening to kill King Nash and his brother, Prince Brigan, and take the kingdom by force. Despite Nash's obsession with Fire's beauty and Brigan's mistrust of the monster girl, they enlist her psychic help to ferret out the Kingdom's traitors. Even though Fire has managed for years to stay out of the spotlight due the obsession and rage her presence creates, she feels compelled to help the kingdom with her gift. Now it is a race to see if Fire can find out enough information before the kingdom is lost forever.
I would like to rephrase the term "companion novel"... Fire needs to be referred to as the "Holy butt-kicking novel from the same fantastic world". This was a great story that not only held its own with the awesome Graceling, it might have surpassed the killer breakout novel! The characters are dynamic and full of surprises. The world is just as interesting as the seven kingdoms in Graceling, but there are new twists, surprises, and abilities around every corner. As much as I would have loved to see a sequel to the first book, I am thrilled to have this companion novel. While the genre is definitely "fantasy", the fantastic elements are not too far from reality to lose the less fantastic-minded readers.
Like the first novel, the language and writing style is a bit mature. It would be best for grades 9-12. There is some intimacy and of course some violence and fighting, but none of it is overwhelming or gratuitously placed. It is all tactfully and delicately placed and described, but might make the story too mature for much younger readers. The story itself is not overly complicated, but some of the names can be confusing. it will, however, appeal to both young adults and adults. Fire lives in a world that not only fascinates me, but more accurately enthralled me! And now for Bitterblue...