After reading Graceling, one of my favorite books of the year, I was excited to read Kristin Cashore’s companion/prequel titled Fire. In the Dells, an area beyond the mountains of the seven kingdoms, there live creatures called monsters who look like regular animals but are brightly and irregularly colorful. The monsters are capable of not only sensing human thoughts and emotions, but controlling them as well. There still exists one human monster in the Dells, a 17 year old girl named Fire (after her flame-colored hair). She gets caught up in an impending war because of her unique mental skills and, through her service to the king, gets to know the initially distrustful military commander Brigan. The book is filled with suspense, romance, action, and surprising twists.
Cashore has a gift for creating new and unique worlds. I expected to be reading more about the seven kingdoms but was pleased to have a whole new place to envision and learn about. Her descriptions are so rich that the Dells easily come alive in your mind, and her characters and complex and interesting (even the minor ones). And even though I’m a little bummed that I didn’t get to learn more about what happened to Katsa and Po after the end of Graceling, I found Fire and Brigan’s story just as compelling, if not more. Don’t be turned off by the fact that this book is found in the YA section of the library; it’s one of those great YA books that adults can easily enjoy. I know I did!