I didn’t quite manage to finish all 3 of my June books so one of these is a repeat. But here we are, this month I am planning to read (click the covers to see the GoodRead summaries):
Published: 2009, Gollancz
Summary: Fire is set some thirty years before the events of Cashore’s previous book Graceling and occurs over the mountains in a land called the Dells.
The Dells are inhabited by beautiful monster creatures, identical to the normal wildlife but all the colours under the sun – turquoise, ruby, gold, crimson – and with the power to control the minds of humans and a lust for blood – particularly each other’s.
Fire is the last remaining human-monster and, as such, is feared, hated, lusted after and mistrusted by almost everyone. This book is the story of her journey to discover who she really is – the monster people believe or more like the human form she occupies. It is a story of fear, desire, danger, friendship, trust and, unexpectedly, love. All mixed in with a healthy dose of sword-fighting, archery, deceit, betrayal and inhuman monsters.
Length: 334 pages
What I liked: Firstly, I loved the subtle link to Graceling through one instantly recognisable character and his presence throughout. Despite this, Fire would stand perfectly well on it’s own with no previous knowledge of the Graceling storyline.
Mostly though, I loved the characters and the colour of the world they lived in.
Fire, despite being a monster, was a beautifully crafted character – strong when she had to be but shy and unsure in herself at the same time, smart but sometimes headstrong and always learning new things about herself and the natures of the humans around her.
This richness and diversity made you notice much of the surroundings in the book in a different light, not always from the view of a confident hero or a down-trodden girl but never from quite the same perspective twice. The monsters were sometimes monstrous and other times beautiful and sometimes both at once.
The pace of the story was gripping and kept you constantly wanting more. Definitely one of those books where you say ‘I’ll just finish this chapter’ and find yourself still sat there four chapters on.
What I didn’t like: Sometimes I found myself flicking back again in the book to remind myself of who was whose brother/son/cousin in the royal family as I occasionally lost track. This was only occasional and could simply be down to me having a bit of a bad memory for names but perhaps a family tree page at the beginning or end of the book would have been useful.