I found this book in the Teen section of the library, though I’m not sure how much I agree with that classification. I feel that the young-adult novel has a feel to it. I don’t think Graceling or Fire captured that feeling. I think I would have enjoyed this book whether I were 20 or 40. It just feels like pure fantasy to me.
Cashore is really becoming one of my favorite fantasy authors. I love to read about different worlds, but only when they’re crafted well. The Seven Kingdoms & the Dells are so interesting and well-done. I think Cashore has really made a name for herself in the fantasy genre with these books. I’m eager for the next one to come out and I’m really hoping she’ll be writing for years to come.
Fire is written in third-person, which I enjoy in fantasy novels. I think the story-telling style works well in the genre. I think a big pitfall in some of the books I end up disliking is the fact that they’re written in first-person. It takes skill to do that well. Too often authors blather on about the opinions of the main character when they have no real relevance and don’t help with plot or character development.
Cashore, again, provides full and well-developed characters. It’s impossible not to love them, and it’s so obvious that she loves them. Fire certainly has the biggest development of all the characters, which is appropriate since the book is about her. I was surprised with King Nash’s development. After his first appearance, I expected him to be the jerk the entire book, but he really turns out to be a good character. I was very satisfied with how he changed.
I have to admit that it took me a little while to grasp the plot. It wasn’t nearly as fast-paced atGraceling so I had to grow accustomed to this book’s pacing. I think it could have used a little more of a climax regarding the war. I was expecting a little more out of that element. I think it’s partly because I keep trying to make this book about all the characters, rather than just about Fire. The book is titled after her so I really should have taken into consideration that we’re following her story the way she experiences it. There’s not so much action with Fire as there is emotional development. Depending on the situation, I sometimes find that kind of story anti-climactic. I think with an audiobook this is really determined by the narrator. I’m not convinced this narrator did a good job conveying Fire’s inner struggles. The story is much more character driven, but there’s a really great story there.
I was most surprised and delighted with the beginning of the book. I was pretty confused by the story about the little graceling boy with one red eye. I found him positively creepy. It wasn’t until the end of that story, when we learn who he is, that I was extremely excited about his involvement in this story. I was so glad I had read Graceling already. I think if I had read Fire first, it would have ruinedGraceling for me.
One of the issues Fire faces every single day is people trying to use her gift for their benefit. I have to give her props for not caving in immediately. It really is ridiculous. It’s hard to find real friends when you have abilities like Fire. How can you separate those who like you for who you are from those who like you because your useful. I think this is a relevant question in real life. What do people gain from being in contact with you? Are they only around because you can do something for them? If Fire’s case, it’s hard to say. I personally think a lot of the people she’s around wouldn’t be nearly as interested if she were just a normal human. On the other hand, there are some who have gotten beyond the question of what she is and are much more interested in who she is.
If there is a theme in this book, it’s trust. Fire is constantly dealing with trust: trust in others, others trust in her, trust in herself. Why should we trust others? How far can we really get without trusting another person? Fire has quite an issue with trusting herself. She remembers the terrible things her father did and knows she is capable of the same things. It’s her a very long time to overcome her fears and finally trust herself.
Cashore’s style is perfect for the period and culture she’s writing about. It has the perfect amount of formal writing. She’s a very capable writer with clear, concise prose. Her writing flows so well. she’s just such a joy to read. Not only that, but I find both this book and Graceling to be very original. I’ve never read anything like them before. I didn’t like the way this one developed as much as Graceling, but I was, under no circumstances, disappointed.