Fire has monstrous blood and powers in her, such powers she wants to hide away knowing how much her deceased father abused it. But as royalty take notice of her heritage and the power that she holds, she wants them to use it for good. As war breaks out between nations, Fire’s monstrous charms could be the key to discovering traitors and getting hidden intel out of prisoners. While she’s reluctant to take on this role, she still raises the attention of many. Of crown princes hating her or falling head over heals for her, and of her jealous partner who doesn’t want her involved in royal affairs. And even her enemies are taking notice of the power she holds in this war.
This novel’s predecessor, Graceling, was the epitome of fantasy romance, so I was disappointed when romance wasn’t as dominant in this novel. Or well developed. It didn’t feel like Fire and her love interest, the one she winds up with in the end, spent enough time together or had enough moments for me to want to ship them together. Yes, it felt like a start of a relationship, but then my copy must have lost a few pages because by the end of the novel it felt like I missed a bunch of their chemistry.
Fire on her own was stellar as a character, and the journey she took was a beautiful one. It was a difficult journey in retrospect to get right, but one that was done so well. Written wrong it could have easily been a villain arc or a complete 180 on her gentle and empathic character, but she fought to stay that way in spite of the many ways she hardened. As much as I love a women’s wrongs tale, this was not for her. it was a beautiful tale of accepting every facet of herself and developing agency in a world where she didn’t think she deserved it.
This book taking place as an anthological book set in the same world made for a great chance to expand the world and take on a new angle. While Graceling was very much exploring the wilderness of one set of nations, Fire looked into the politics of kingdoms on the other side of an expansive mountain range. This really helped flesh out the world and made more much more variety of stories and characters to come out and shine. I can appreciate every angle of it with many stories that show different sides of the world.
I’m looking forward to seeing what other angles can be taken in this world now, as Cashore flexed her versatility in many ways in this novel.
Fire gets a score of 4/5. A pure story with a new look at the world.