Series: Graceling Realm #2
Published by Firebird
Published: October 5th 2009
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It is not a peaceful time in the Dells. The young King Nash clings to his throne while rebel lords in the north and south build armies to unseat him. The mountains and forests are filled with spies and thieves and lawless men.
This is where Fire lives. With a wild, irresistible appearance and hair the color of flame, Fire is the last remaining human monster. Equally hated and adored, she had the unique ability to control minds, but she guards her power, unwilling to steal the secrets of innocent people. Especially when she has so many of her own.
Then Prince Brigan comes to bring her to King City, The royal family needs her help to uncover the plot against the king. Far away from home, Fire begins to realize there's more to her power than she ever dreamed. Her power could save the kingdom.
If only she weren't afraid of becoming the monster her father was.
For me, it was hard to top the amazingness that was Graceling. You read my review (if you didn’t you can check it out here), you heard me gush about it and call it even better than The Hunger Games. And I truly believe that. Bust sadly Fire just wasn’t up to that level. Don’t get me wrong, I really enjoyed the ‘prequel’-like story and I loved Brigan and Fire for the most part, but it just didn’t hit me the same way as Katsa and Po’s story did.
Fire is the story of a girl named Fire that lives in a time before Graceling in a land called the Dells. Fire is a monster in the sense that she can control what people’s actions and thoughts are. But unlike some people, Fire is unwilling to use her power unless it is to save herself because she refuses to become her father. Her father was a monster and with the help of the since-departed King Nax, ruined the kingdom of the Dells. But Fire hold power she never thought she had. She may have the power to save the Kingdom. With the help of King Nash and his brother Prince Brigan, Fire learns her power doesn’t have to be locked away but embraced if used in the right way. Now she just needs to make sure she stays alive.
Basically, the story starts out with the birth of Leck, that awful king, and father to Bitterblue, from Graceling. The audience finally gets to see his birth and where he came from, essentially his back story. But this is only a minor part of the book in the beginning and I think that is what threw me. I felt like I was waiting for almost the whole book for Leck to show up again and to really get to his story, to maybe understand him more. And I was disappointed because that didn’t happen, at least not to my hope. What happened was a long story about Fire and her insecurities. And a love story that wasn’t really a love story. Brigan, who I ♥ dearly, wasn’t around for about ¾ of the book and that made me really sad and I think therein lies the problem.
I think as I was reading Fire instead of trying to get into the part that I was currently reading, I was constantly waiting for something else. I was waiting for Brigan to sweep Fire off her feet, of Leck to make a huge impact, or for some weird random connection to Graceling that you didn’t expect make itself known. And that is a bad way to read a book. The book dragged because of my mind frame and I just couldn’t get it to do anything else.
The writing though was fabulous and the story was good at the core. Fire was a little too wishy-washy for my taste, but I totally understood her and got where she was coming from. And I loved Fire’s interactions, although small, that she had with Brigan and her relationship with King Nash. And there was a part of the story that I was not expecting at all so that was another plus. But for me, it just didn’t have that Graceling spark. Basically, I liked it a lot but didn’t love it.
Interesting. I enjoyed Graceling but had a lot of issues with it so I went into Fire cautiously. And I really really enjoyed it. Until the last quarter where personal baggage hit me so hard I could barely finish it. I feel like in both Graceling and Fire and big villain and the big ending were both very anti-climactic considering the whole story. Bitterblue remains my favorite of the series for lots of reasons but especially because there wasn’t that abrupt drop-off in the end where I was left asking myself “Is that it?”