Tuesday, February 1, 2011


By: Kristin Cashore
Published By : Orion Publishing Group
Released : Available Now
Details : Paperback, 384 Pages


Book Blurb : Taken From Goodreads

Beautiful creatures called monsters live in the Dells. Monsters have the shape of normal animals: mountain lions, dragonflies, horses, fish. But the hair or scales or feathers of monsters are gorgeously colored-- fuchsia, turquoise, sparkly bronze, iridescent green-- and their minds have the power to control the minds of humans.

Seventeen-year-old Fire is the last remaining human-shaped monster in the Dells. Gorgeously monstrous in body and mind but with a human appreciation of right and wrong, she is hated and mistrusted by just about everyone, and this book is her story.

I absolutely loved this book. I even liked it better than 'Graceling'. They are now both on my favourites list and I can’t understand why I hadn’t read them sooner. They were first suggested to me in late July 2010 but it has taken until now to get around to buying and reading them. I actually read an e-book version of 'Fire' on my IPod touch as my paperback didn’t arrive until yesterday. 
 Fire is a prequel to 'Graceling' , set approximately 30 or so years before. The prologue starts off with the birth of Immicker, who later became King Leck of Monsea and then switches to the story of Fire, a 17 year old monster human girl. She is extremely beautiful and most men fall in love with her immediately or they hate her and find her a threat. Most women don’t like her due to jealousy. She also has the ability to listen to others thoughts, sense their presence and communicate with their minds and manipulate their thoughts. She lives in the kingdom of the Dells and is the last of her kind. Her father Cansrel was the monster advisor to King Nax and had a desire to control everyone and everything he possibly could. As a result Fire is the complete opposite. She doesn’t like to use her powers unless it is to save her life or that of somebody she cares deeply about.

I found that there were quite a few “hidden messages” that were relevant to modern day life in this book. For example the former King Nax and Cansrel almost destroyed the kingdom because of their drug taking and stupid behaviour. This has lead to Lord Gentian and Lord Mydogg wanting to start a war and take over the kingdom. Another message I found in this book is that there is no point to war. I think the quote made by King Nash sums it up perfectly. “The world doesn’t care who wins. It’ll go on spinning, no matter how many people are slaughtered tomorrow. No matter if you and I are slaughtered. I almost wish it wouldn’t, if we aren’t allowed to go on spinning with it.”

Both 'Fire' and 'Graceling',  I believe have a moral message. Although these people (Gracelings and monsters) are different from everybody else, they have feelings too and shouldn’t be treated different as a result. This can be applied to everyday interaction with people. Kristen Cashore’s style of writing seems to be that although the settings of her books are in medieval times, they are very modern characters experiencing the same things that people today experience. 'Fire' also broaches the subjects of rape and casual sex and although some people think Kristen Cashore is ok with it, I believe that she is actually showing that all though these things happen on a daily basis, there are consequences. I can’t really go into those without giving away spoilers.

The main characters in the book are:

Fire – I loved her. She is a strong female character with her own independent thoughts, similar to Katsa from Graceling in that way. She is struggling with her monster powers of being able to hear and control the thoughts of those around her. She has declared that she will not fall in love, get married and have children, but....

Archer – He is just gorgeous. He has been Fire’s friend and protector since childhood.   He is a real player and  does love the ladies.

Brigan – What a hottie. I love him. Mr tough guy, the silent brooding type.  He is the Commander of the King’s Army and has a tough crusty exterior. The ultimate warrior, but underneath he is just a big marshmallow who is trying so hard to keep Fire out of his head and heart. Brother to Nash, Clara and Garan.

Nash – King of the Dells . He is weak and can’t control himself around Fire like the rest of the family can.

Cansrel – Fire’s monster father. King Nax’s advisor and horrible man. Was uncapable of caring for anyone other than Fire. Fire described him as her Bad Father.

Brocker – Archer’s father and former Commander of King Nax’s army.  Fire described him as her Good Father.

Clara and Garran – Twin brother and sister of Brigan and Nash. They deal with the spies in the kingdom. Clara is one tough cookie with a wicked sense of humour, and Garan is a very sickly man. They are Nax’s illegitimate children.

I recommend both these books to anyone who is thinking about reading them.

My favourite quotes:

“Tell me what I can do to help you feel better?” “Well, I always like it when you kiss me” “Do you?” “You’re good at it” “Well, that’s lucky because I’ll always be kissing you.”

“The fellow who tends the green house gardens? Trust me, Lady, you’d let him stake your tomatoes.”



  1. Huh. I had no idea that this was actually a prequel until I read this review. Interesting. Glad you liked it more than Graceling!

  2. Fire is a the last of the human monsters in the Dells, because of their beauty that can drive men and women insane with desire, besides that there's the little problem with their mind controlling powers, because of the treath the present on the Dells they've been eradicated, making Fire an outcast in the Dells. She resides in a secure place where her beauty can't hurt anyone and where she fears she may someday use her powers for evil.


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