Tuesday, March 1, 2011
Book talk: Imagine a land where monsters roamed. Not vampires or zombies or dragons, monsters that look just like every day animals, except for their striking beauty and their ability to enter the minds of their prey. You can find them by their coats which are always more beautiful and brightly colored than normal animals. There are monster deer and mice and eagles, and even monster girls. Fire is the only monster human left alive, and as such she is the most beautiful person in the kingdom, but this beauty comes with a price. Sometimes when people see her they are inspired to submit to her and win her favor, but just as often they are inspired to violence. So Fire grows up hidden safely away on a country estate, trying to forget about her powers. But when war starts brewing in the country and she gets called to the capitol she finds that she can't hide her beauty forever and that in times of war no power goes untapped.
Rocks my socks: I enjoyed seeing this new land within the world of Graceling and its different take on being Graced. There are some interesting issues dealt with in this novel as well. In this book we get too see more of what court life is like, and because there is more time spent in one place, especially one with so many people, there is a larger cast of characters to meet. Horses play a big part in this novel too, and I am sucker for horse stories.
Rocks in my socks: I actually bought this book new because I couldn't be bothered waiting for the kid who had it out to return it because I thought that it would pick up where Graceling left off, but instead it was in an entirely different part of the world with none of the same characters except Leck, and who cares about him? I wanted more Katsa and Po action darnit! This book also has considerably less action and the female lead while powerful due to her mind-control ability spends most of the novel letting her powers victimize her. I also have more trouble relating to a girl whose main problem is that she's too beautiful. Objectively I can see why this is such a problem for her, but somewhere inside me I can't help but think 'oh boo hoo you have too many boys in love with you, cry me a freakin' river' The love story wasn't as compelling to me either. It's a classic Pride and Prejudice/Gaskell's North and South/Jayne Eyre plot and while I do enjoy all of those books it just didn't work for me in this one for some reason. Possibly because I was bitter that it wasn't between Katsa and Po. The story felt more predictable to me as well. I was actually surprised by a few plot turns in Graceling, but in this one there was so much foreshadowing before major reveals that I think it would rightly be called forenighting. All this is probably incredibly biased and based on my disappointment at it not being the novel I was expecting, but hey I'm only human, and not even some fancy monster human so beautiful I can't even look at myself in a mirror without being dazzled by my own beauty (she literally takes her own breath away at one point--really!?)
Every book its reader: I'd recommend it to fans of the first book who enjoyed the characterization and romance and world building, but I wouldn't necessarily recommend it to fans of Graceling who enjoyed the action sequences the most.
Fire by Kristin Cashore
Buy it at your local independent book store or check it out from your local library